Bumpy Lawn

Hi all - I need some help here.
I just bought this rental house. There's a lawn in the back, and one of the first things I did was the remove about half of it to make room for parking 2 vehicles.
When the contractor removed the sod, they piled it in the back area, not in piles, kind of distributed, but definitely lumpy and bumpy. Much of the sod is now growing and taking hold - which is ok.
I also have a rather large depression in one area where a truck was brought in to remove and stump a tree. Plus a berm off the right that my neighbours created.
I want to level this area out and have a lawn growing there. I'm thinking of two possibilities:
1. Till up the back area where all the sod is and try to redistribute the soil. My feeling is this would be a lot of work. The soil is clay.
2. Order up a truck of good quality soil and dump it in the back yard. Get a bunch of friends and family to come over and help me distribute the soil to fill in the depressions. This would involve putting soil right over the growing grass - but then I would re-seed.
I'm favouring the last option. But my question is: would it work? Is this just a crazy idea? would I have to roll the soil to compact it? What kind of tools do I use to level the soil? Would this be more work than the first option?
Any other ideas? All suggestions welcome.
Thanks in advance! Sally
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Tue, 24 May 2005 13:15:03 GMT:

I have bumps in my lawn too. Whatever you decide to do, please tell us about it afterwards so we can learn from your experience.
-- spud_demon -at- thundermaker.net The above may not (yet) represent the opinions of my employer.
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On Wed, 01 Jun 2005 14:30:04 +0000, Spud Demon wrote:

I'd seriously consider using the cement layers method: screeting. It's actually fairly simple to achieve. Get a 6-8ft 2x8, 4 cement blocks (cheap at a hardware store, or find brokenones at a build site (ASK BEFORE TAKING)), and about 12-16 feet of rope, which is then cut in half (or 2 piece of rop 6-8 feet long...even old burnt out extension cords can do the trick if you're in a pinch) and two bolts that have the ability to have the rope tide to them. drill 2 holes in the 2x8 like such:
Here and Here | | V V +-----------------------------------------+ ^ | | | | | |width +-----------------------------------------+ v <--------------lengthwise----------------->
Drill the holes at opposite ends of the 2x8, and insert the bolts you chose. Attach your ropes to the bolts, and lay the concrete blocks on top. You can hook them down if you'd like, but it may not be necessary. Now you have a handy 8 foot wide screet, that can be used to level the ground a little easier than using a rake or shovel, and might just take one person to handle. Remember to do this AFTER tilling or backfilling, though. I would personally have SOME quality top soil brought in, if you do indeed have very heavy clay deposits in your soil, THEN till. That might sound funny, but you'll likely have better luck getting thigs to grow in the long run that require deep rootbases.
Hope I've helped in some way. Let us know what you do!
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S.D. wrote:

I'm commenting because I did option #2, likely to a lesser extent than you. When I moved into this house, the back yard was bumpy and infested with dandilions. Most of the grass was dead. I still have some weeds although fewer, and the yard is still bumpy in some spots, but at least I have live grass.
Of course, with a clay soil, you are likely to end up with a bumpy soil anyway, because the worms don't have enough to eat. I understand the way around that is to add compost, which leads to re-seeding.
Disadvantages: You have to stay off the grass, and keep it moist for quite some time. If I were to do this again, I would likely do it in small patches. Otherwise, you have to resign yourself to not walking around it AT ALL for the next month.
You will feed many fat little birds and will have to do a second seeding.
You need a fairly large amount of soil to do a yard, and if you start with one large single pile, as dump trucks are wont to do, it is difficult to spread it evenly. You also have to ensure you have enough for the entire yard. Or you end up like I did, with a fairly unbumpy section at the back, and a bumpy section towards the house.
I think there are better times of year to seed than others too. Perhaps someone more knowledgeable could comment, or the information might be available through google.
Dora
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S.D. wrote:

There may be a problem with your expectations. Are you looking to spend a weekend of heavy work with the result of a nice lawn a few weeks later? That's not going to happen.
I have a continuous process. Every year I spend some time with a mixture of potting soil, grass seed and starter fertilizer. I scrape the bad spots with a 3-tine cultivator and apply my mixture. Keep it wet. After a year or two it looks pretty good.
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