First lawn, first post. In need of advice....

Hello all. We have recently had a house built and so the "garden" is just soil and boulders at the moment. We're planning on getting a lawn down at the end of the summer. We're complete garden newbies as we've always lived in flats (apart from renting a house previously where we did mow the lawn). Now we have the chance to start a lawn from scratch and so would like some advice from people who know, like yourselves. Some information:
Location - 30 miles west of Aberdeen Soil - quite a clay soil with lots of fist sized stones Area - about 600 sq. metres (although we'll only be laying a lawn on about 200 sq. m of it to start with)
I have a plan but please advise on how good/bad you may think it is:
Step 1:
Spray all weeds/ground with glyphosate
Step 2:
Spray all weeds/ground with glyphosate again two weeks later
Step 3:
Once all weeds are dead, rotorvate ground (to make levelling easier)
Step 4:
Level and de-stone soil (and possibly add top-soil if needed)
Step 5 (if time permits):
Spray any new emerging weeds with glyphosate
Step 6:
Remove/dig in dead weeds
Step 7:
Trample/firm soil
Step 8:
Lay turf
Are there any flaws or perhaps better ways to establish a new lawn? Also, I was looking at getting a wide-toothed rake such as the Chelwood 18E or 18K for raking up the stones as these rakes have a 4cm gap between the teeth. Would you recommend any other or would one of these do the job well?
Apologies for all the questions, but I really am new to this (plenty more questions to come on growing veggies etc. but first things first!) Thanks in advance for any advice you could possibly give.
--
TeaBag


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Thanks Bob. I agree, spraying the ground generally would be a waste of spray. However, when I say I'll be spraying the ground, I mean the odd patch in between the lawn of weeds; the whole area is green with weeds. Spraying the ground in between ensures that I haven't missed any small emerging ones that are hard to spot.
Thanks for the tip on renting a rake; should save me a bit of money. And the roller will save alot of time, too.
--
TeaBag


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As Bob said, no need to spray bare ground. If you miss some tiny weeds, you can go back and get them in the second pass.

Just spray what's still alive. Also, when you buy the glyphosate look for the concentrated products, like 48%. It's a lot more cost effective. I'd mix it to about 5%.

I'd probably mow it first. And if there is a lot of weed debris, maybe rake out most of it before tilling.
Also, how out of level is it? If there are just some areas that need to be graded, do you really need to churn up the whole thing?

I'd forget about that. After all of the above, there shouldn't be anything worth worrying about.

That probably means roll lightly.

The other alternative is to seed. It's funny. I live here in NJ, and I seeded my lawn years ago. Right now it's nice and green, actively growing. A friend bought a $1mil house in a sub-division of recently built houses. The builder used sod. His lawn is barely growing, doesn't look anywhere as good as mine. It didn't look as good over winter either. Mine stayed a lot greener for more of the winter. We both apply similar amounts of fertilizer etc. So, clearly it's the variety of grass that's the difference. You would think that spring green-up, winter color, etc would be important to a sod supplier, but I guess not.... If you buy the seed yourself, you can choose the exact grass you want. There are online references that show test results for different grasses, rating color, texture, disease resistance, spring green-up, etc.
My point is that for all the work and expense you're going to go through, I'd spend some time researching the sod or seed you're going to use. Getting a real nice grass may not cost anymore than a crappy one and even if it does, it's not much more.

No experience with those UK rakes.

With veggies, first thing is to find out what animals there are that will eat them. Around here, NJ, the deer are so bad that without a fence it's hopeless.
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TeaBag wrote: ...

it can be overwhelming when considering all the possible options... but...
i would really rethink this. putting a lot of money into establishing a grass lawn and putting down sod only later to go over it and put in gardens is a large waste of money and effort (along with time wasted).
instead work on observing your property and how it drains and how the light goes. figure out if you'll need to bring in more topsoil for certain areas and where you might want ponds or other features. if some areas are not drained well you might want to use those as natural water catches or even ponds, if there are springs, seeps, etc. or you may want to install drainage or shape the ground to direct water flows. this kind of planning is much better done before you do a lot of other work on the lawn as then you can bring in trucks of topsoil or other materials without damaging other things (saves much work later).
so overall, sitting down with someone who does garden designs would really help a lot and likely keep you from wasting a lot of money on sod, weed killers and time spent killing weeds that you may later just go over with a garden plot, pathway, pond, patio, etc. anyways.
also, nice to include in garden plans, are things like irrigation plumbing for hose hook ups and even electrical runs if you are going to be doing a gazebo or other garden feature that might need power (water pumps, lights, refrig, etc.).
where i am at none of this sort of thing was done before putting in gardens, it makes any projects three to five times the work because i have to go around and bring in materials a wheelbarrow at a time or the soil is so ill suited i can't even grow certain crops, or the drainage is poor so i have to contend with flooding, etc.
oh and having a way left that a truck can get in is very nice to have later. you never know if someone may come up with a free load of bricks or ... it's nice to not have to haul it in a wheelbarrow or bucket at time.
do yourself big favors and take the time now to figure it out before wasting the time and money on sod and weed killers.
you can mow the weeds on a regular basis and that will be good enough until you know more about what else you'll be doing. by then you may have a perfectly good looking green area that requires little additonal care other than regular mowing because it's been selected from the weeds and grasses that are already in your area that are suited for the climate and soil.
once you know where you really do want garden plots or actual grassy areas then you can concentrate on those (hopefully much smaller areas) for getting rid of the rocks, leveling, weed killing and sodding/seeding in again.
if you take the time and hit the library there are many books available along with many things online to help with various topics. still i think it helps to talk to someone who does garden design for a living as then you can likely avoid a lot of future problems and you may discover during the conversations that you and your partner/family has different ideas about what to do, so it's good to figure that out beforehand as i really dislike getting a project going or done only to find someone later coming in and digging it back up again or mowing it down or...
songbird
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He didn't say he was doing that. Only that he's putting in a new lawn, apparently starting the work at the end of summer.
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snipped-for-privacy@optonline.net wrote:

read the above again...
"more questions to come on growing veggies, etc."
songbird
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Maybe you should read it again:
"Area - about 600 sq. metres (although we'll only be laying a lawn on about 200 sq. m of it to start with) "
You'd have to be incredibly stupid to lay a lawn on the whole thing only to rip it up to plant a garden in part of it later.
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Bob F;982374 Wrote:

Thanks again, Bob. The weeds that I've sprayed have gone yellow and limp now. I'm assuming that they;re now dead and that they can now be removed. Should I remove them all or just dig them in? Or perhaps just remove the bigger ones?
--
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Do we even know what the plan is at this point? He first said he was planning on establishing a new lawn at the end of summer. So, why is he even killing stuff now and talking about possibly tilling weeds in? Fall is the best time to establish a lawn and if he's not going to do that until then, why is he killing stuff now? I'd just mow until late Aug, then start the process with killing the existing vegetation.
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' snipped-for-privacy@optonline.net[_2_ Wrote: > ;983566']

Well, that's why I'm asking advice; because I don't know the best way to go about it. I thought that I'd kill my "lawn of weeds" now, turn it over, let it settle, kill any more that might appear in the meantime. this should take me up to the end of the summer when I'll lay turf. Lots of prep to ensure a good lawn. I hope.
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By "what the plan is" I meant it wasn't clear to me what you are actually trying to achieve.
I thought that I'd kill my "lawn of weeds" now, turn it

That's a bad strategy. What's the point to killing weeds now and turning over the soil so that new weeds will grow all summer? I don't think anyone here ever told you to do that. If the soil is OK, except for the weeds, you don't have to till it at all if you're going to use seed. And regardless of whether you're going to use seed or sod, there is no point in doing anything until late Aug. I would just keep it mowed for the summer. That has to be better that looking at a bare, tilled up earth and dealing with all the weeds that are going to be growing......
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So, in other words, you would just keep it mowed for the summer?
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' snipped-for-privacy@optonline.net[_2_ Wrote: > ;983851']

No, they didn't. The reason is to let the soil settle. At the moment we have just stones, soil and weeds. So turning it over, levelling it and letting more weeds grow would actually be an improvement. I know more weeds will grow, my reason for killing these is because the whole area is thick with weeds that have had years to establish before we built our house. It just means removing less weeds later (ones that aren't as well established and deeply rooted) before laying turf. It's just saving a bit of time later so the majority of the hard work is done (levelling). I understand that some might advise kiling all the weeds at once.
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Removing weeds multiple times over months prior to putting down turf is just more work. But whatever floats your boat.

Spending 10 hours over months to make 2 hours less work later doesn't compute for me.
so the majority of the hard work is done (levelling).

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Bob F: Thanks for your continued comments; always constructive and helpful.
Trader 4: I don't like the tone in your replies. Maybe that could be addressed.
Thanks to all who have contributed. My time here is done.
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