Ken-n-Nancy's 2020 "Driveway Side" Lawn Renovation

Discuss how to and whether you should renovate your lawn
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Re: Ken-n-Nancy's 2020 "Driveway Side" Lawn Renovation

Post by s3_buell_ » September 12th, 2020, 8:47 pm

K-n-N, love your reno threads. Thanks for the detail. Keep 'em coming.


Planting a seed for 2021: monostand? LOL :)

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Re: Ken-n-Nancy's 2020 "Driveway Side" Lawn Renovation

Post by KBGkicksazz » September 13th, 2020, 11:04 am

Have you had issues with the plow pushing the stones or gravel around?

Our Town road agent will not allow putting those stones in the right of way.

I’ve got the same issue trying to keep the edge between lawn and road a nice clean look. I’ve started maintaining mine like a mulch bed edge.

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Re: Ken-n-Nancy's 2020 "Driveway Side" Lawn Renovation

Post by ken-n-nancy » September 13th, 2020, 2:22 pm

MorpheusPA wrote:
September 12th, 2020, 8:37 pm
Ripples are pretty normal and nothing to worry about. Of course, the seed will sprout in and near the ripples first due to the excess water, but...

So far, it looks great! Even the allegedly thin areas will end up looking just fine by November. BTDT, got the T-shirt.
Thanks, Morpheus, for the encouragement. One of the hardest things about a KBG renovation is just being patient!
s3_buell_ wrote:
September 12th, 2020, 8:47 pm
K-n-N, love your reno threads. Thanks for the detail. Keep 'em coming.
Planting a seed for 2021: monostand? LOL :)
We thought about the monostand in front, as we have a monostand of Bewitched KBG for the side lawn (renovated in 2015). However, the Bewitched is very slow to green-up each spring. We found that the Prosperity KBG is markedly quicker to green up in the spring (we had it as part of mix in the back yard) and the combination of the two works well together. I can't tell them apart as far as distinguishing plants of one from the other, except for the Bewitched being slow in the spring.

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Re: Ken-n-Nancy's 2020 "Driveway Side" Lawn Renovation

Post by ken-n-nancy » September 13th, 2020, 2:28 pm

KBGkicksazz wrote:
September 13th, 2020, 11:04 am
Have you had issues with the plow pushing the stones or gravel around?
Our Town road agent will not allow putting those stones in the right of way.
I’ve got the same issue trying to keep the edge between lawn and road a nice clean look. I’ve started maintaining mine like a mulch bed edge.
I, too, have been concerned about the cobblestones in the town right-of-way and dealing with plow damage.

Long ago, we used to have just crushed rock along the roadside border, about 4 feet wide, using pressure-treated landscaping timbers to retain the crushed rock. Yes, we had problems with the plow tossing the stones into the lawn. Back in those days, we didn't even really care about the lawn, but getting rocks tossed into there really bothered me.

When we renovated the front lawn in 2013, we got rid of the crushed rock border (that was A LOT of work) and instead tried to grow grass right to the pavement. That worked okay, but the town plow would shave the topsoil off the ground there during the winter, and then there wasn't enough good soil right at the edge of the pavement to keep the grass from being thin. With thin grass there, and hot, shallow, gravelly soil, crab grass would move in and make for an eyesore right along the road. So, in 2014, I did an experiment of laying cobblestones a couple feet back from the road to have a "sacrificial zone" that I would just keep as hard-packed gravel ("nitpack"). That ended up working pretty well.

Initial install of first roadside cobblestones in 2014:
Image

In 2016, the cobblestone edge with no rock worked well and never had any plow damage, but was well below the roadway elevation:
Image

In 2018, when we renovated the front lawn, we laid cobblestones along the entire length, keeping the "barren wasteland" between them and the road:
Image

In the winter of 2018, we did have the plow clip the cobblestones at one point before they were frozen in and shift about a dozen of them. We had to fix that in the spring. I noticed other folks in town with nice lawns putting orange marking poles along the road edge to provide guidance to the snow crews, so I put in orange markers between the road and the cobblestones - just inside the cobblestones about 18 inches from the road - for the remainder of 2018-19 and again in the winter of 2019-2020. I didn't have any cobblestones get shifted by a plow after that.

So, I thought I had a good permanent solution, until this year, when the roadway got raised about 4-6 inches. I was concerned that the town would be mad about the cobblestone treatment. Rather, when the town's road work superintendent came by during initial road reconstruction planning, I was relieved that he thought the cobblestones looked great and wanted to know how they should work with me regarding the roadway reconstruction. He explained that with the increased roadway height, the town was planning to raise the shoulders with either topsoil (for folks with lawn to the road) or crushed rock (for folks that had crushed rock along the road.) Rather than bury all the cobblestones, he wanted to talk to me about how to proceed. He offered, that if I wanted to raise all the cobblestones, that they would grade topsoil out into the lawn (basically starting at the cobblestones and proceeding well beyond the right-of-way into the lawn) to smooth it all in. They'd also bring in crushed rock to put in the new "valley" between the road and the raised cobblestones. However, that was back in June and I really didn't want to kill off all that lawn and have to renovate it again this fall. Plus, I'd need to raise sprinkler heads, too. Lastly, I remembered how much work laying those cobblestones required -- I am pretty slow and meticulous, so my progress initially averaged only about 10 minutes per cobblestone. There are 175 of them in that stretch along the front lawn.

After talking about it for a bit, the town superintendent and I agreed that we'd just leave the cobblestones and lawn lower than the road. The town wouldn't bring in topsoil or crushed rock for the section in front of my house, and it would just be the case that the shoulder gravel would slope down sharply to the lower cobblestones and the lawn. Months went by, eventually the asphalt topcoat was laid, the contractors came through and did their shoulder regrading, leaving our shoulder "unimproved" as we had agreed, and I thought it was all done, except the repaving of the apron of our driveway.

Then, however, while we were away on vacation, apparently the contractors came back and they thought the section in front of our house would look a lot better if they laid crushed rock between the road and the cobblestones, even though I had agreed with the town superintendent that they would leave it as it was. The contractor really did seem to just have good intentions, as I later spoke with the guy who led the crew that did it. He was all excited about how great it looked and expected me to be real happy about it. I agree that it looks awesome. I know, though, from experience, that a shallow section of small crushed rock along the road can be a major maintenance challenge because of multiple problems. I was pretty upset to get back from vacation and find what had happened while we were gone, but I've already written about what we ended up doing earlier in this thread...

In any case, for this winter, I'm going to try to put orange plow markers basically right at the edge of the pavement (at the beginning of the crushed rock) to keep the plows from disturbing the rock. I'm skeptical of that working out -- I think the plow crews will want to clear beyond the edge of the pavement, but we'll see...

If it doesn't work out, I'll likely have to do the cobblestone raising next fall, which will require raising the grade of the front lawn too, and thus the irrigation heads as well, and result in at least a partial renovation of the front lawn, yet again...

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Re: Ken-n-Nancy's 2020 "Driveway Side" Lawn Renovation

Post by KBGkicksazz » September 13th, 2020, 11:49 pm

Yeah it looks good but these are tough spots. Instead of hell strips we have to deal with dead zones due to winter damage.

My town road agent say no way to anything in the ground such as stone within the right of way.

Definitely a challenge


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Re: Ken-n-Nancy's 2020 "Driveway Side" Lawn Renovation

Post by ken-n-nancy » September 14th, 2020, 9:45 am

KBGkicksazz wrote:
September 13th, 2020, 11:49 pm
Yeah it looks good but these are tough spots. Instead of hell strips we have to deal with dead zones due to winter damage.

My town road agent say no way to anything in the ground such as stone within the right of way.

Definitely a challenge
The "hell strips" are tough, but usually they are at least separated from the pavement by a curb, so that plows aren't actually tearing up the sod in the winter. Personally, I think a "hell strip" would be easier -- seems to me the key with most people for their "hell strip" is that the "soil" is mostly gravel. From what I've seen, the folks that have excavated the gravel out of their hell strip to a depth of about 8 inches and then replaced the gravel with good topsoil have had success growing grass there.

If your town is forbidding any in-ground improvements in the right of way, then there isn't much you can do. I suppose you could make some sort of clear separation between "your lawn" and the "town right of way" to make it clear that the "good lawn" has a stopping point and the reason it looks bad nearer to the road than that is because of being limited in what you can do there.

I think your idea is a good one of making a clean edge between the lawn and the right-of-way, as one would with a landscaping bed. I'm interested in seeing how that works out for you.

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Ken-n-Nancy's 2020 "Driveway Side" Lawn Renovation - Day 22 Photo Update

Post by ken-n-nancy » September 17th, 2020, 10:50 am

Today is Day 22 from seed-down and the time for the next weekly installment of photos. Even though we've done this many times before and know that the pace will pick up in the future, this "sprout and pout" period is very discouraging. It just kind of looks like everything has stopped growing and feels like the renovation is going to be a failure.

Having last week's pictures to look at compared to this week helps a little. It also helps to just look at the "from a distance" photos. The "straight down at one's feet" photos are very bleak. I don't usually post those, as they make it look real bad, but to help encourage other renovators that your sparse spots of KBG will work out okay, I'm posting a couple of those "bad pics."

I lightly blew leaves off the renovation area before taking the photos. There really weren't very many; not enough to make it really worthwhile, but it makes the pictures look better. ;)

We're staying the course and won't be adding more seed, so it won't really look like a lawn until the end of June 2021, but we're okay with that -- we just need to remember this isn't a sprint, but is a marathon.

"Lliac Area" as of 17 September 2020 (Day 22)
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"Far End" Repair Area as of 17 September 2020 (Day 22):
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Closer View of a "Sparse Valley" in the "Lilac Area" as of 17 September 2020 (Day 22):
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Close-Up of a "Sparse Spot" in the "Lilac Area" as of 17 September 2020 (Day 22):
Image

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Ken-n-Nancy's 2020 "Driveway Side" Lawn Renovation - Reno Progress Photo Sequence

Post by ken-n-nancy » September 17th, 2020, 10:52 am

With progress being so slow during "sprout and pout" we put together a 4-photo sequence to help us look at the bright side of things.

We were hoping the pics would be encouraging. Alas, the Day 15 and Day 22 pictures look nearly identical. Sigh. Such is "sprout and pout."

"Lliac Area" on the morning after Seed Down on 27 August 2020 (Day 1)
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"Lliac Area" as of 3 September 2020 (Day 8)
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"Lliac Area" as of 10 September 2020 (Day 15)
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"Lliac Area" as of 17 September 2020 (Day 22)
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Re: Ken-n-Nancy's 2020 "Driveway Side" Lawn Renovation

Post by Paul » September 17th, 2020, 11:14 am

Looking good, I wouldn't worry about it not filling in right away. Like you said, it will looks great by June of next year.

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Re: Ken-n-Nancy's 2020 "Driveway Side" Lawn Renovation

Post by DevilDawg81 » September 17th, 2020, 9:39 pm

Ken-n-Nancy will you apply any small amounts of fertilizer once out of sprout and pout?

I’ve said it before, love the colorful/professional looking photographs you both provide!

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Re: Ken-n-Nancy's 2020 "Driveway Side" Lawn Renovation

Post by ken-n-nancy » September 17th, 2020, 10:48 pm

Paul wrote:
September 17th, 2020, 11:14 am
Looking good, I wouldn't worry about it not filling in right away. Like you said, it will looks great by June of next year.
Thanks! We're hoping the sprout and pout ends before long and we'll be able to get a few mows in before winter! We may have a few blades here and there that are starting significant vertical growth, but it definitely isn't widespread yet.
DevilDawg81 wrote:
September 17th, 2020, 9:39 pm
Ken-n-Nancy will you apply any small amounts of fertilizer once out of sprout and pout?
Yes, once the grass has grown enough to mow. In our 2018 front lawn renovation, our first mow was at 2.25" which was 27 days after seed-down. We applied our first fertilizer at that time, totaling about 0.50#N/ksqft in that application. That ended up working out pretty well.

Accordingly, this year, our plan has been to apply more fertilizer at 0.50#N/ksqft when "sprout and pout" finally comes to an end -- presumably about 4-5 weeks after seed-down. Since I don't know the phosphorus level of the new soil, but I know that roots of the new grass will benefit from the easy-to-get phosphorus, I'll use the left over starter fertilizer we have until it's used up, as I don't have a need for phosphorus elsewhere in the lawn -- due to using Bay State Fertilizer as a big part of our annual nitrogen, we don't have any challenges with phosphorus deficiency.
DevilDawg81 wrote:
September 17th, 2020, 9:39 pm
I’ve said it before, love the colorful/professional looking photographs you both provide!
Thanks! This time around, Ken has been taking most of the pics, but Nancy is more of the photographer usually.

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Ken-n-Nancy's 2020 "Driveway Side" Lawn Renovation - Day 24 - Backing Off Watering

Post by ken-n-nancy » September 19th, 2020, 11:57 am

After walking around the renovation area this morning, decided that it's time to start backing off of the "germination watering" which seeks to keep the soil continually moist, and start transitioning the watering to once-a-day watering. Then, once the grass gets to mowing heights, we'll water still less often to head towards the "deep and infrequent" watering (which isn't particularly infrequent on our sandy soil.)

Accordingly, I changed our irrigation controller to water only twice a day at 9:30am and 1:30pm, although for longer than it had been with the 4-5 times a day "germination watering."

There's not really enough progress for new pictures, so today's posting will need to be text only. Grass is still pouting as far as height goes, but individual plants are tillering into many blades now. Slow but steady wins the race for KBG...

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Re: Ken-n-Nancy's 2020 "Driveway Side" Lawn Renovation

Post by gryd » September 24th, 2020, 8:59 am

Great thread! You guys are truly dedicated to your lawn. Great job!

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Re: Ken-n-Nancy's 2020 "Driveway Side" Lawn Renovation

Post by Pway » September 24th, 2020, 1:46 pm

KnN, Great job! Thanks for taking the time to document and photograph your steps!

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Re: Ken-n-Nancy's 2020 "Driveway Side" Lawn Renovation

Post by ken-n-nancy » September 24th, 2020, 11:43 pm

gryd wrote:
September 24th, 2020, 8:59 am
Great thread! You guys are truly dedicated to your lawn. Great job!
Pway wrote:
September 24th, 2020, 1:46 pm
KnN, Great job! Thanks for taking the time to document and photograph your steps!
Thanks guys! Now if only "sprout and pout" would come to an end and the grass would start growing where we can see it! ;)

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Ken-n-Nancy's 2020 "Driveway Side" Lawn Reno - Day 29 Photo Update

Post by ken-n-nancy » September 24th, 2020, 11:51 pm

Today is Day 29 from seed-down and the time for the next weekly installment of photos.

It's agonizing that "sprout and pout" continues. Just like last week, it kind of feels like the growth is just in slow motion. However, there is some progress apparent in the pictures as compared to last week.

We again blew leaves off the renovation area before taking the photos. There still weren't enough to shade the grass much, but having them off the grass really does make the pictures look better. We're hoping that by this time next week, we'll have seen some growth start and maybe even have a reason to do some mowing. (In our 2018 renovation, our first mowing was on Day 27.)

"Lliac Area" as of 24 September 2020 (Day 29)
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"Far End" Repair Area as of 24 September 2020 (Day 29):
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Closer View of a "Sparse Valley" in the "Lilac Area" as of 24 September 2020 (Day 29):
Image

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Re: Ken-n-Nancy's 2020 "Driveway Side" Lawn Renovation

Post by ken-n-nancy » September 27th, 2020, 2:30 pm

Haven't had any bears in our lawn today, but today is the 2-year anniversary of when we did have 4 young bears harvesting acorns out of our oak trees, particularly including the one that I was just about to start mowing underneath...
ken-n-nancy wrote:
September 27th, 2018, 8:44 pm
Today, when I pushed the mower over to the side lawn, I was dismayed to see a whole bunch of small fallen branches, bark pieces, and twigs with healthy leaves under the huge white oak tree at the edge of our lawn, particularly as I had just picked up a whole bunch of fallen oak tree parts this morning! Indeed, this has been the case practically every day for the past week. I've been worried that the tree had some sort of disease or something, although a lot of the twigs have appeared as if they've been broken off, rather than died.

Then, just as I was standing there, trying to find the encouragement to pick up another batch of fallen oak tree parts, a small branch comes fluttering down next to me from out of the tree, so I look up into the tree, and there's a black bear in the tree! Wait, there's not just one black bear, there's two!

I decided I better head into the house to continue my observation of the bears and ended up filming the video linked below.

Turns out, there were actually 4 bears in two big trees in our yard! Guess I need to put "look for bears" on my "getting ready to mow the lawn" checklist! :-)

Video of Bears in Ken-n-Nancy's Oak Tree - http://www.solidrocksolutions.com/aty/2 ... -Trees.mp4

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Re: Ken-n-Nancy's 2020 "Driveway Side" Lawn Renovation

Post by DevilDawg81 » September 27th, 2020, 5:57 pm

Sorry S&P continues! But soon you’ll be on the other side and having to mow. Even though you’ve dubbed it a “sparse valley,” that looks like once it takes off it should fill in quite nicely.

And that bear video is wild! Haha that would be quite the site to look up and see that activity!

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Re: Ken-n-Nancy's 2020 "Driveway Side" Lawn Renovation

Post by ken-n-nancy » September 28th, 2020, 7:31 am

DevilDawg81 wrote:
September 27th, 2020, 5:57 pm
Sorry S&P continues! But soon you’ll be on the other side and having to mow. Even though you’ve dubbed it a “sparse valley,” that looks like once it takes off it should fill in quite nicely.

And that bear video is wild! Haha that would be quite the site to look up and see that activity!
Interestingly, we saw bears a couple times last year, but never again in the tree. Maybe the next time we get a banner year for acorns?

Upon getting up this morning and looking outside, was enthused to find we'd received some of the forecasted natural rainfall overnight. Nothing seems quite as good for a new renovation as gentle natural showers! However, the rain gauge only showed 1/10" so it isn't much to get excited about yet. We are supposed to get 2" in the next 48 hours, though, so hopefully that will come gently, rather than all at once!

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Re: Ken-n-Nancy's 2020 "Driveway Side" Lawn Renovation

Post by DevilDawg81 » September 28th, 2020, 8:06 am

ken-n-nancy wrote:
September 28th, 2020, 7:31 am
DevilDawg81 wrote:
September 27th, 2020, 5:57 pm
Sorry S&P continues! But soon you’ll be on the other side and having to mow. Even though you’ve dubbed it a “sparse valley,” that looks like once it takes off it should fill in quite nicely.

And that bear video is wild! Haha that would be quite the site to look up and see that activity!
Interestingly, we saw bears a couple times last year, but never again in the tree. Maybe the next time we get a banner year for acorns?

Upon getting up this morning and looking outside, was enthused to find we'd received some of the forecasted natural rainfall overnight. Nothing seems quite as good for a new renovation as gentle natural showers! However, the rain gauge only showed 1/10" so it isn't much to get excited about yet. We are supposed to get 2" in the next 48 hours, though, so hopefully that will come gently, rather than all at once!
We have some forecasted rain today too. Fingers crossed for you guys!

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