I've never planted a lawn before and I'm getting overwhelmed at the
information at Home Depot's books and online. I have questions that I
need answered before I get started. I don't have a big budget, I
don't have time, I don't want to do it and I want to make my wife
happy so please help me! I need to lay this out and maybe seed it in
a weekend--maybe two--SOON!
I have to install two 15' x 15' raised lawn beds in my front yard.
Because I don't want to deal with weeds or grading, I'm just going to
install the boxes avove the ground, thrown some plastic on the base
and level the borders and the soil. them--there, instant level grade!
They'll be bordered by landscaping timbers or RR ties. Like this...
| | rocks | |
| grass | | more | :-) <--happy wife!!
| | | grass
+---------------+ +------------------+ ....husband in the
desert ---> ==( ((O7O
even more rocks...retaining wall -->
| house |
My questions are...
1. I have soil in my backyard that I can use but it has weed seeds
all over it. How do I treat it so that I don't get the weeds? Is there
some kind of super poison?? My wife made the suggestion to let the
weeds grow and then pick them out--I think there's a better way but
2. can I use potting soil? I know it's a lot but at least it would be
weed free? Is there another type of lawn soil cheaper than potting
3. I'm in Southern Ca. what grass seeds do you recommend?
4. Despite my limited level or patience and budget, I can't use sod--
the cost is prohibitive to my interests. Is what I want to do
Please help! ( it just needs to be done)
Build Your boxes,,throw dirt in,tamp,throw more,,spread some grass
seed that does well in Your area and in the specific amount of
sunlight it will get..Add mild starter fertilizer recommended on the
bag of seed and water as stated on the bag.New lawns are often covered
with straw or possibly other material that water will penetrate,,I
think covering keeps birds from picking up all Yer seed and keeps
direct sunlight off new shoots. Weeding might be a pain for a while I
guess but filling the boxes with special soil might break the bank.
Other weed seeds will blow in anyway so Ya might as well get some
practice right from the get-go.
Regular watering is mandatory for new grass but ask around about how
much to use in a raised box unless Your sure excess will drain if
After Your grass does well be prepared to learn about other stuff
like flowers and shrubs or even veggies,,people can be tricky and I
just ca'nt see raising two sections of grass,,if it was Me I'd be
thinking there's an alterior motive,,like eventually You might be
adding shrubs,flowers and backbreaking boulders for effect!!
But how do you get dirt that doesn't have weed seeds all over it?
Should I treat it first? How??
very perceptive of you. I'm sure there is... but that's ok.. I just
want to get this part right because I'm sure I'll get into it once I
have started. I just need to get through the basics. I'm exagerating
mostly, my wife is being wonderful about this project and if I never
do it, she'll be ok. That's precisely why I need to get started,
because she is so nice about things...
Anyway, thanks for your advice Dean.
I dunno,I just wanted to give some kind of starting point..
I bow to Your Wifes' grace then,,no joke,,good people deserve good
I saw some referance(google) to "no mow" grass,,would be perfect
for a raised bed *IF* it's the real deal..Could plant/place other
stuff and less maintenance..
A hearty Midwest "Yer welcome" to You..Good luck(and grass)to Ya..
I don't see how boxes installed above ground has anything to do with
avoiding weeds. And it would ssem to have a minimal effect on grading
issues. I would think the main reason to do this is aesthetic, and I
don't recall seeing it done with just grass. Usually it's used for
flower beds, shrubs, etc. Also, with grass, if it has raised edges,
it's going to be more difficult to mow.
If there is more than seeds, like existing grass, weeds, etc, then I
would apply Roundup/glyphosate to the plants that are there a week or
two before moving the soil. That will kill any growing vegetation and
prevent any of it surviving the move. Most of the seeds will wind
up buried to deep to survive and you can just use an appropriate
broadleaf weedkiller on anything that does come up after the new grass
is well established.
You can have a small load of screened topsoil delivered. It won't be
100% weed free, but usually pretty close and what it's used all the
Not familiar with that area.
Establishing a new lawn is realistic. Given the small size
(450sqft), I would reconsider using sod though. It's quick and
easy. If you don't use sod, I would buy hydraulic mulch, which is
available in bags at agri/landscape supply houses that deal with the
trade. It's ground up cellulose that you sprinkle lightly over the
area after seeding. It hold moisture, meaning you can water less, get
a better germination rate, etc and is preferable to straw, which can
contain weeds. It's the same stuff used on lawns that are hydro-
seeded. Not essential, but for a job like this, it's a plus. Use a
the best quality grass seed you can find and apply a starter
You need to keep the soil constantly wet to damp for the first several
weeks, don't let it dry out. That means watering several times a
day, more if it's hot. Then, as the grass establishes, back off
slowly till you water only couple times a week, 1/2" or so at a time.
Alex, don't worry about the weed seeds now, because anything you do to them
will likely impact grass seedlings.
Now, type of grass, depends on what part of Cali you are in, but look into
Bermuda or St. Augustine. Some people
don't like them as they creep, but they require low water and can handle
After the grass (and weeds) start growing good, hit them with a Weed n Feed.
1. If you need some quick results and can afford it, go with sod, and have
a local nursery or sod dealer (not a big box store) help you decide which
variety to use. If you can't afford sod and can afford to wait for a few
months, seed is a second-best choice. A previous post recommended St.
Augustine grass as one choice but didn't mention that you can't buy St.
Augustine seed -- it's a sterile hybrid. If St. Augustine grass is the
prefered lawn you'll have to go with sod.
2. Most professionals don't recommend weed-and-feed. That's essentially an
indiscriminate use of a pesticide, and if your lawn is that bad you should
just kill off all the weeds and start over. Also, the fertilizer in a
weed-and-feed is a high nitrogen water soluble type that isn't the best
choice for a good/healthy lawn. (The high nitrogen is needed to combat the
effects of the weed-killer, but also induces leaf growth at the expense of
root strength. This in turn makes the grass more attractive to insects,
fungus, etc.) Once you've got a good lawn started, pull or spot treat weeds
and use a lawn fertilizer appropriate for your region, which probably will
have elements in the ratio of 2-0-2 or 2-1-2, with most of the nitrogen
being a slow release type. In my area I use a 17-3-17 Lesco product. Your
extension service or master gardener program can give you written
information on lawn fertilizer requirements.
I'm gonna apologize in advance for this "brainstorm"..
Do You know of a place that is scheduled for construction? Like
digging a basement or maybe just Cat work? Maybe get permission and
get Yer mitts on a sod cutter and cut Yer own..If I remember right
from 20 years ago You can cut any managable lengths and roll it up to
haul..I'll bet dollars to donuts You can get more info,tips n tricks
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