Installing new lawn

I just completed building new house in Ohio and is in the process of having a lawn installed by a lawn service. Now the lot has a lot of stone in it. One service said the will bring in a rock hound to work the dirt, put in 60lbs of grass seed and straw for a $1050. The next said they would bring in a rock hound, rake the dirt after the rock hound, deliver and spread top soil, 100 lbs of grass seed, spread biodegradable straw, fertilize the lawn for the rest of the year for $3000. The last one said the would bring in a rock hound, rake the dirt after the rock hound, and grass seed and straw for $895. Quite a difference in price and what service they will provide. Can any one give me some good advice in what to look for in having a good quality lawn installed? Thank you in advance.
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In my opinion, the most important decision to make in getting a quality lawn installed is to choose the best type of grass for your area. If you leave the decision up to the contracter/landscaper, they may choose an appropriate variety, or (like so many hydroseeders I know) they may just pick whatever will germinate the most quickly, giving you near-instant gratification.
If it were me, here's what I'd do:
1. Hire someone to bring in the rock hound and clean it up. 2. Either install a sprinkling system yourself, or have one installed. 3. Figure out which kind of grass you really want to use. There will be plenty of people to help you make a good choice. 4. Buy a spreader and some seed, and throw it down yourself. It's not hard, and it's not rocket science. 5. Water.
Of course, that's just me.
steve
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Steve Wolfe wrote:

I'd say that's a pretty good plan, too.
What I'd add to it is it may be desirable to add some screened soil and/or some compost, depending on just how bad it looks after clearing the big stone. (Make sure the compost is completely composted.)
Throwing straw on top will help keep some of the seed from disappearing to birds and wind, and help slow-down the progress of weed seeds in the wind, too. It can also help keep the soil from drying out. That may be important if you opt not to put in a sprinkler system on a timer. Manually keeping the soil wet but not too wet for germination can be time-consuming. Once germination is done, water less frequently, but deeper, working gradually to 1" a week all at once.
Get some starter fertilizer, too. A really healthy established lawn will do fine with mulched clippings, but your new lawn will do better with a little helping hand to get it's roots established.
Also, when you buy seed, get some extra. There will be bare spots, and that seed that's loading the shelves now may not be so easy to find in a month. You may even want to get enough to do a complete over-seeding when the heat of summer is gone, the fall rains have started, and overnight freezes are not likely for a month or more. (Have fun timing that right!)
Don't mow until the grass gets over 3", but hasn't reached 5". Take no more than 1/2" off. Each grass is a little different, but generally you'll have a lusher lawn with better resistance to disease and drought if you err on the long side. Short, closely cropped grass is suitable only to putting greens at clubs that can afford to put in new sod every year. And unless it's so long that it's waving in the wind, long grass doesn't look as shaggy to people passing by as it does to someone standing in the middle of it.
Keep the dogs and kids off of it this year. If you find yourself taking shortcuts across the lawn, consider putting in a path.
--
Warren H.

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On Sat, 22 May 2004 20:02:00 GMT, snipped-for-privacy@somewhere.com wrote:

I'm sure you could do the job better than a service, and for a lot less money. First, take the time and remove the stones by hand using buckets. Get several people to help you or hire individuals to collect stones. I'm sure kids out of school will gladly take $8 an hour. Then buy the best quality seed you can find ($150) and several bales of straw ($45). Do not use hay. Use any brand Starter fertilizer ($40). Keep moist, watering every other day, being careful not to flood any area. The water might cost you a couple hundred bucks. Apply (slow release) fertilizer again around Labor Day. It is better to use a little more seed than not enough. Do not be concerned about weeds until next spring.
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Is turfing not an option? With turf you can not only get an instant lawn but you can purchase exactly the type of grass needed and see it before laying. Turf is also able to be placed over stones, that are not too large. The only criteria is that the base must be level, but then this would be the same for seed. Turf is also more readily watered without damage and gives a weed free start, if bought from a reliable source. Best Wishes Brian
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Nowhere did you mention the installation of a sprinkler system. When installing a new lawn it is easy to put in a sprinkler system. It is more difficult to ad the sprinkler later after the lawn becomes established.
Dick

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wrote:

And a new lawn, existing ones also, need lots and lots of water.
John
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Is turfing not an option? With turf you can not only get an instant lawn but you can purchase exactly the type of grass needed and see it before laying. Turf is also able to be placed over stones, that are not too large. The only criteria is that the base must be level, but then this would be the same for seed. Turf is also more readily watered without damage and gives a weed free start, if bought from a reliable source. Best Wishes Brian
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First, check how deep your topsoil is in several test spots. New home sites are notorious for leaving a poor soil base for installing a lawn. You will want a few inches of topsoil or more. Is your surface area graded so that water will drain away from your house? Get references from your lawn service companies and talk to those homeowners (hopefully go see their lawns).
Have you compared the relative cost of installing sod to seeding a lawn? After the initial soil prep, laying sod goes pretty fast, is weed free, and easy to get the excellent results you are looking for.
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