Complete beginner + tired lawn

Weve just bought a house in northern France (Picardy) which has a larg
garden which has been rather neglected for about a year. We're complet beginners to gardening so we thought we'd start by tackling the tw (front and back) lawns but we're not sure where to begin.
I dont know what type of grass it is but I do know we have a lots o weeds and moss.
All we've done so far is to cut it but I plan on doing soil tests.
What would be your suggestions of a plan of action and when?
Thanks for any help
Ian
PS Ive tried to attach images but its failing so you can see the here:
http://eebster.com/lawn_closeup.jpg
http://eebster.com/lawn_longview.jp
-- eebster
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group alt.home.lawn.garden:

Your lawn looks as nice as many that are considered to be in good condition. I believe I'd take a conservative approach. Grass doesn't change overnight, so plan on a year to get it to where you want it to be.
First, get that soil test. That will tell you what you need to change. In most cases, putting down the soil amendments (just some fertilizer if you're lucky) and appropriate watering will do most of the work.
Cut the grass to the appropriate height. This will kill lots of weeds that need to be tall to survive. You'll have to check with a local authority on the appropriat height. Ask the people who do your soil test.
Moss grows where things are shaded and damp. Grass likes lots of direct light. You may have to trim some trees. There comes that appropriate watering thing again.
Try to avoid weed killers if you can. They knock the grass back no matter what the label says about them being safe. Keeping the grass mowed, fed, and watered will allow it to grow and crowd out lots of weeds. Manual pulling will get others. Chemical treatments have their place, but I like to use it as a last resort.
Good luck with your project. Post pictures as you go. People here will be glad to give you a hand.
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Steve B.
New Life Home Improvement
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I don;t know what your standards are, but it looks awful to me. Certainly not anything like what a lawn considered to be in good condition looks like here in NJ. In fact, much of it doesn't even appear to be grass.

If you have a lawn full of undesirable grass and weeds, most of what fertilizer is going to do is make what's there grow so you have more of it.

Yes, cutting to the correct height is important. For cool season grasses, somewhere in the range of 2 1/2 to 3 inchs should be fine.

Also compacted soil and low PH favors moss. The soil test will tell you if the PH needs adjusting. If the soil is compacted, core aeration can help,. and most lawns can benefit from it whether compacted or not.

This lawn sure meets my definition of last resort. I also try to keep chemical use to a minimum, but it isn't realistic to think you can fix this mess without some initial use of chemicals. In fact, my approach would probably be to use Roundup to kill off everything that is there and then re-seed with an appropriate and high quality seed. That way you start with a grass with the right characteristics, ie texture, color, light tolerance, disease resistant, growing speed, etc. After that, you can use spot treatment with broadleaf weed control, as needed. And if crabgrass is a problem in his area, a pre- emergent in Spring.
I'd do some internet searches on lawn renovation and go from there. One key is if the soil that is there is good. If it is, then you can kill off what's there, aerate, then use a slice seeder to establish the new lawn. If the soil is poor or there is not enough top soil there at all, then that needs to be addressed by tilling in appropriate ammendments first.

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snipped-for-privacy@optonline.net wrote on 17 Aug 2007 in group alt.home.lawn.garden:

I should have known that comment might get a reaction.
Think "landlord". To many of them, a lawn that doesn't attack anyone is good. That's not my definition, and it's not the way my lawn looks, but it's the level to which I'm asked to maintain many renthouse lawns. I'm not advocating that level of care.
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eebster wrote:

excellent choice.
after the test results are evaluated by a person with the proper training and expertise you will be able to streamline the cost of producing the lawn and landscaping you desire by omitting unnecessary expenses thus enabling you to establish a plan of action making the best use of your resources.
congratulations to you on your decision to have soil test.
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Thanks for all the advice.
I think we're going to see how much we can improve whats there b aerating, scarifying and feeding and if its still looking poor the we'll look into digging up and re-seeding. Will keep you posted...
Ia
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wrote:

No need to dig up to re-seed, it the topsoil that is there is OK.
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snipped-for-privacy@optonline.net wrote:

now I better understand you.
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Other than congratulating him on having his soil tested, which he already knew, what did you contribute to the thread to answer his question, other than the above cheap shot directed at me, smart guy?
At least this time you didn't make a complete ass of yourself, like you did by slamming my correct advice and then talking about bermuda grass when the guy in CT asked for help on his cool season grass.
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snipped-for-privacy@optonline.net wrote:

living in nj causes you to feel cheap...
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Obviously your knowledge and conclusions regarding NJ are similar to what you know about turf. In other words, you don't know squat.
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snipped-for-privacy@optonline.net wrote:

lol
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Are there any trees near by ? & high bushes

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