Help with my girlfriends garden...

Hi,
Im new to this forum and was hoping to get some tips.
My girlfriends garden was a bit of a dump when she moved in, and now its getting towards summer I thought I would have a blast at doing it up for her.
There was a massive tree in the garden thats roots are nearly up to the house, this was cut down about two months ago. Obviously the garden was covered in sawdust. Ive cleared all of this up (about 15 bags full of it), and Ive tidied up some bushes and removed chicken wire and a wire fence running down one side of the garden.
Since the photo I have also fitted bamboo to the rear fence and the new gate, this is for privacy and to stop the dogs barking at anyone that goes past.
There is a small concrete flagged / patio area at the back. I will get some pictures up when the sun comes out for five minutes.
My plan is to dig up all of the soil with a rotavator, attempt to level it iff with top soil / sand. Put a new lawn down. Put a fence up around the lawn area. Possibly make a rockery at the far left corner. Also, to trim the hedges along the fence but leave them there for privacy.
My concerns are:
The roots of the tree, these branch out everywhere, will they break the rotavator? Will they soak up all of the moisture from the grass? Will they make the lawn too uneven?
The weeds, if I go over the lawn with a rotavator, will they grow back through the new lawn? What can I do to stop this?
Heres the pic I took in April whilst cleaning the all the mess:
Thanks for your time.
Matt.
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Owen28


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Owen28 wrote:

Possibly, or stall it. It will not chop them up if any size, by the picture they are.

While alive yes, they have been doing so for years. If they die they will rot and eventually collapse leaving a hole which can be noticeable if they are large. How long this takes depends. Digging them out by hand will save you a gym subscription and the price of the rotavator.

Too uneven for what? Think about what you want to do on the area of the lawn and why you need one. Lawns are good for little kids to play on and for sports, is that you?

Yes. You may even make it worse. Choose you method of dealing with weeds according to the situation.

Learn a lot about the time consuming and resource intensive business of growing lawns. In general bare dirt and disturbed dirt grows weeds. A strong healthy lawn that is dense growing tends to exclude weeds. Unless the conditions are right maintaining a strong lawn can be a real battle, even then it is a chore that never goes away. Consider the options before deciding.
David
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David Hare-Scott wrote: ...

very few dogs are good with being kept shut up in a back yard, so whatever efforts you do should be kept to the minimum until you know how destructive they are.
songbird
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wrote:

Possibly. Worse yet, it can cause the tiller to jump and hit your foot or leg. Wear safety boots.
The roots won't disturb the grass, nor will they steal water; however, there will probably be nice crops of mushrooms of various sorts in the coming years, and if there are large roots left, they'll eventually decay and cause a local soil collapse -- that's pretty easy to repair.

Yup. If it's a small area, then I'd probably use cardboard or other light- occlusive mulch to kill the vegetation in the lawn areas (it'll take several months). Then, late this summer/early fall, when growing conditions are good for germinating grass, I'd till and amend and seed. Try to keep foot traffic off the newly seeded areas until the grasses are well established, probably late next spring (put down some temporary stepping stones if you need to get from point A to point B, and reseed those areas the following fall.)
You'll likely have a little hand weeding to do, but if you get good grass establishment (and follow up with fertilizer as needed -- get a soil test before you start), you should have very little trouble. Mow the lawn as needed -- be diligent about not letting it get too long and then scalping it for a year or two at least -- and you should be well on your way to having a nice lawn.
Do you know how to do a soil shake test? That will tell you a lot about what amendments you might want for the soil. When I hear someone saying they're going to add something to the soil without saying what problem they're trying to correct, I start getting a little nervous.
I don't know if you can get this book easily over there, and it's a bit old, but it's the title I give to beginning gardeners. There's a very nice set of chapters on soil, water, light, weeds, etc., as well as one on lawns. As you can guess from the name, it's geared to organic gardening; even if you prefer to use, say, synthetic fertilizers, it's a good foundation for understanding the basics of gardening and why certain factors are important. <http://www.worldcat.org/title/rodales-chemical-free-yard-garden-the-ultimate-authority-on-successful-organic-gardening/oclc/22810546&referer=brief_results
Looks like you can pick up a copy from amazon.co.uk for about 1.5 quid.

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Thanks for all of your help. It looks like ive got some research To be doing regarding soil, weeding and lawns in general. I will wear safety boots when using the rotavator and will avoid areas near the large roots, and do this part by hand.
I am going to look in to soil tests etc.
The dogs will be fine, they can go in the front garden until the garden is sorted. They are never left outside for longer than ten minutes anyways unless we are with them in the garden.
It seems this is going to be more work than I first anticipated. The weeds / bits of grass have grown considerably in the last month. I will start work on it next month when my broken ankle is full healed.
Thanks.
Matt.
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Owen28


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Owen28@gardenbanana wrote:

What a slimey method for attempting to impress folks that you have a girlfriend when obviously you don't. WTF does whose garden it is have to do with anything?!?!?
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Brooklyn1;962616 Wrote: > Owen28@gardenbanana wrote:-

Haha if you say so you absolute pube.
O.k sorry, i need help with a garden. thanks for your help Brooklyn you weapon.
Get a life.
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Owen28 wrote:

Don't you realize that those who have on their mind to tell people to get a life it's only because they themselves don't have a life.
Why don't you start over, just ask for help with *a* garden... no one cares that it's your girlfriend's garden unless you are going to post nude pictures of your girlfriend... this Newgroup is not about girlfriends... for that you want Jerry Springer and Dr. Phil. Simply describe the garden; where/climate, size, terrain, soil type, sun exposure, any existing plants/trees... all the vital statistics you can think of to do with gardening. It also helps to know your budget and whether this garden is owned or rented.. it'd be silly to spend much improving the property of a landlord unless one can bargain for a rent reduction, and also get permission (in writing) to make any alterations. And obviously some decent photos of the space in question would be invaluable.
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Brooklyn1 wrote:

What! Is this you sober and reasonable? Why don't you try staying that way.
D
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wrote:

In that case, do yourself a favor and start smothering the grass and weeds with cardboard or the like (old carpet is good, too, if you happen to be ripping that out of the house). The less long, live stuff you have to till through, the happier both you and the tiller will be.
Kay
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