Advice on fixing new lawn

My father-in-law (who occasionally helps his brother in his landscaping business) offered to help me redo our entire lawn. We roto-tilled it, raked it, fertilized, then seeded. But it is still very uneven. I know it's going to be a disaster once the grass is established and I have to mow it. He basically took charge of the project and all the labor and the roto-tiller were free so I'm not in a position to complain or ask that it be done differently. What should I do at this point? Should I get a grading rake and try to fix it up and then reseed it or should I just let it grow and then try to fix it later a little at a time? Will it even grow since we didn't roll it or even rake the seed into soil? We just dropped it with the spreader and watered. I think I know what I need to do I just don't want to seem ungrateful. Maybe this question belongs in a family psychology forum instead :) I have spot lights so I can do the work in the middle of the night so no one knows.
Thanks Dante
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BTW is this the proper rake to use to level the soil? I've been using a narrow bow rake that doesn't seem to work well. http://www.lowes.com/lowes/lkn?action=productDetail&productId(167-302-1905900&lpage=none
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That looks like a good rake to me. A lot of home centers will rent the rake and the roller instead of making you buy for a one time purpose.
It sounds to me that your father in law may be pushy and you may be inexperienced in assertiveness or maybe your father in law is very sensitive to rejection. Whatever the reason, playing games is exhausting. Compassionate honesty, as opposed to brutal honesty, may hurt at first but, in the long run, it is best. For now, while you sort things out on the best way to interact with your father in law, I think you have a good idea about doing the job at night.
I would rake it, roll it then rake again. - Robert
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wrote:

I'll second that. Then roll, then rake again until it is truely flat. The last raking should just loosen the surface. Seed, then rake lightly to hide most of the seed. Roll that lightly. Then set a timer on sprinklers to water it just enough to get it wet looking every hour or so. Just a sprinkling. You don't want to wash things away, and no need to water deeply - the seed is at the surface. You just need to make sure it doesn't dry out until the seed is sprouted. If you can't water that often, you will need to water harder, but don't overdo it.
Bob
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This is good advice. I said "lots of water". That is NOT to be meant to soak it heavily each time. As you said, that will wash away the seed. Over time, it will take a "lot of water", but applied a little at-a-time.
--
:)
JR

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I am different. Let it grow as it cares too this year. It WILL settle over time. Add a little topsoil if needed for really low spots and more seed. Water at LEAST TWICE A DAY NEVER LET IT DRY OUT!!! sTRAW OVER SEED HELPS!
DO NOT NOT NOT roll, rolling compacts soil and grass doesnt like that.
Now next year add topsoil to low areas, more seed and it will look fine. Besides those who did it now wouldnt get upset!
homes lawns everything are works in progress
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A bow rake works fine. A long 2x6 or 2x4 board works well if two people are using it.
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That was your first mistake.
I used a roto tiller to prepare my first lawn. It was difficult (and devastating to the surface) to walk on it for several months.
One roto-tills a GARDEN. They "scrape" a lawn. In other words, you need loose soil to a fair depth to plant POTATOES. For grass seed, you need barely an inch, if even that.

Fix it NOW. It will be much more difficult if you wait.

It will not do very well with the poor application/seeding.
Rake it out to smooth-out the bumps, re-seed it (heavily), then GENTLY rake-in the seed. You would do well to rent a roller to finish it up.
Starter fertilizer and lots of water should do the trick.

I know why the job wasn't finished properly (as enumerated above): Your FIL was too exhausted from using the roto tiller to do much more than just throw down the seed and hope for the best.
I speak from my first experience. I had to take a day off work to recover from all the aches and muscle strains from tilling such a HUGE area. I did, however, rake-in and roll the area prior to the first watering.
You may have to face a little [ingrate] fallout. It may be worth it, though. Using proper technique for the ENTIRE project will pay vastly improved results. The rake to which you posted a link should be OK as long as the soil is very loose. Having tilled it, it should be. I simply used a common "garden rake". Good luck!
--
:)
JR

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2 years ago I moved in with a friend who just bought a new house, our backyard was just as you describe. I hope you don't have any huge hidden rocks underground they will show up soon enough after a few months. keep going over the yard and getting all the crape out of the soil as it gets pushed up.
as for leveling it out, let a season of heavy rain beat down on it that will level it out, if your not in a drought
best of luck
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i DON'T know about yards, but, if you are serious about doing it at night, I don't object. Use your own tools for at leaset the first 3 minutes. Then buy or rent. If you get caught, you could tell your fil that you started out doing only a small spot (near your front door where you noticed it?, or over there where you noticed something from the side?) and once you started you didn't know where to stop.
And you can tell him you liked working at night because of the weather, the fresh air (It really is nice at night after a hot day.), and/or because you really appreciated his help and his advice and you were embarrassed to redo even 5 square feet of it. (YOU are embarrased. Nothing to do with his being embarrassed, which isn't even a possibilty you have ever thought of.)
All but one thing is the truth, and while he might be disappointed in himself for not doing a perfect job, it would be hard to be very annoyed at you.
If possible, get to know his brother and find an excuse to call him before the next lawn project. Like, not to find out whether to use a roto tiller, but what's a good brand to rent, or what depth to set it to, or if you can borrow one from him.. The the brother can say, Oh you don't want a roto tiller for this.
I think you are wise to worry about family relations.

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All depends. (This is hard to respond without seeing the lawn condition.) If there is a good stand of grass level out the dips with a layer of topsoil, just an inch at a time using a bow rake. You can start all over and level everything out, although if a lot of money was spent on the seed that may not be so prudent. When starting a lawn there will always be bare spots to fill in later. Use the same kind of seed. When seeding lightly rake the seed into the soil--the seed must be in direct contact with the soil else it won't germinate. Overseeding will give a thicker lawn with fewer weeds. Use a lawn fertilizer labeled "Starter" when you seed. "Rolling a lawn" will compact the soil--not good.
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Unless you don't like sinking in 2 inches everytime you step on your new lawn. He just tilled the soil. It's way too soft to walk on.
Bob
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It takes months if not years to get a nice lawn surface. Get your rake and find some sand or sandy soil and start leveling and replanting the areas that need it. You will most likely need to water daily or more often.
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