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.
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
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
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.
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.
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
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!
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
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.
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.
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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