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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have mergered multiple years into one thread here, starting in 2017.

I'm a new homeowner and have been itching to go all-in with lawn care. Been in this house for almost a year now, front yard is St. Augustine and is heavily shaded. Back yard is where I'm planning the real show to be. After way too much research, I feel that tiftuf is probably the best choice for me and I was hoping to bounce some ideas off of y'all who have lots of experience.

I have done hours and hours of research, and have many questions about some of the finer points, but here is where I'm at currently, and what I'm trying to decide between for my next move.

- 6-7k lawn, full sun with trees around the fringes of the yard (id estimate 80% of the yard gets 85+% sun time, 15% of yard is 65-70% sun, 5% gets a neglibile amount, but these are the back corners.)

Killed everything off last year around September in anticipation of this work. Previously the lawn was a mix of common Bermuda, st Augustine, and another Bermuda-like grass. Hit is twice hard with glyp. Of course much of the Bermuda is trying to creep back.

The slope of my yard is a big consideration. It's a little over 100 feet from back to front with about a 4 foot drop, there is also a natural left-right slope. To completely flatten it or terrace would have been a tremendous cost for me, because the drainage issues that would cause would have needed another immense cost. I had some leveling done last week by a real pro in a Kubota, bobcat-like thing. I realize a box blade or other tools would have been better, I was told by one person that they wouldn't be able to maneuver their tractor in my backyard (76 ft wide.) don't know if that's true but this guy on the Kubota did a great job for what he was working with. It's much improved, but I would like to fine tune it before putting in the sod. I want it to be smooth but still stay with a similar drainage pattern. A

I am doing my own irrigation system, my design is tested and works, but I am limited to 8 heads because I felt any more than 8 was increasing the cost significantly and could have been less reliable. I have almost all the parts for the system and am looking at doing this step next. (I have diagrams of my design I will try and post)

I had a soil test done (will post data.) My soils is pretty much straight clay with nothing else. What are some ways I can get my lawns substrate ready? Right now, I am leaning towards core areation followed by topdresskng with an 80/20 mix of sand to topsoil. I've seen conflicting opinions on whether or not this is good. What do you think?



 

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Welcome!

I'm glad you are here because I've been waiting for someone to go all in with Tiftuf. I wish it had been available two years earlier because I would have used it in my back yard.

There is a wealth of knowledge here to help you along, but it sounds like you have done a lot of research already. I would like to level my yard better also, but I'm not sure if we should use sand here. There are a lot of "experts" online that say you will be making concrete.

ps - if you have any Tiftuf left over let me know and I will help you "dispose" of it. ;)
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I'm also looking for advice on soil amendments to correct some of my deficiencies in the soil test, which specific chemical formulas would be best and more importantly which I should apply pre-sod and which I should apply post-sod.

Keeping in mind the slope in certain areas is significant, don't want things to wash away. I'm currently reading up on possibly using expanded shale to fill the holes from a core aeration.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Spammage said:
ps - if you have any Tiftuf left over let me know and I will help you "dispose" of it. ;)
Haha, I've already got friends who are hovering like vultures over this project and the possible leftovers.
 

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Bunnysarefat said:
I'm a new homeowner and have been itching to go all-in with lawn care...
Welcome - you're definitely in the right place! :thumbup:

For final smoothing of your lawn, several of us have had good luck with a drag mat similar to this:


They are available in various sizes - just search "drag mat" on Amazon. I would lean toward toward a larger one if you have something to pull it with, or a smaller one if you will be pulling it by hand.

I would get the irrigation done first, as you will likely have some settling to deal with.

Again, welcome to The Lawn Forum - we're glad you're here!
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks, Ware. Just ordered that one. I was looking at the other brand drag mat before you suggested that one, they have a 3x3 and 3x5 and I couldn't decide which would be best. Upon closer inspection it looks like the other brand is a heavier mat and is better suited for baseball infield dirt while the one you suggested is lighter and probably better for what I'm going to be using it for.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
tigertailbell said:
I would like to hear more about your irrigation plans. What heads do you plan on using ? I assume 5000 series or similar? You plan on having 2 zones?
So my irrigation system is something I came up with after a good amount of research, but mostly just hours and hours of thinking about how I could make this work. I got some ideas from people online here and there, but I never thought any of the ones I saw were any good.

So here's what I was working with to start, I had a standard garden hose hookup in the backyard coming off a 1/2 inch pipe literally free floating sticking out of the ground in the backyard. There is an isolation valve to this line in the front yard's single garden hose hookup.

I started by stripping off whatever connections were installed on the half inch line in the backyard, anchored it to the house and extended it, taking a 90 degree path along the house where it transitions from a 1/2 inch to a 3/4 inch. I put a garden hose hookup, followed by a backflow preventor, followed by two additional garden hose hookup's about 14 inches apart.

For the connections on the 1/2 inch line and the transition to 3/4, I used the SharkBite push-to-connect fittings I got from Home Depot. I know these work well because my first attempt (fail) at a more simple design used one of these fittings and it didn't leak despite not being anchored to the wall.

Because this entire system does bottleneck down at that 1/2 inch pipe, I figured I could probably only run one head at a time. My tests on this theory, although not perfect tests they were not promising at all that I could run two at once.

I had purchased an orbit valve timer from one of the box stores. I was real skeptical but it had like a 5 or 7 year warranty so I figured I'd try it out. To my surprise, it worked perfectly. A slight loss in pressure but as long as you use thread tape the connections are solid. However, that timer was limited in that I couldn't use all 4 valves independently, only 3. So I purchased two Melnor timers from Amazon which have 4 valves each that can run independently.

Yes, I am using the Rainbird 5000 series for 7 of the 8 heads (this one with the different nozzles for all of them https://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/B00FLRT7ZQ/ref=mp_s_a_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1493947706&sr=8-3&pi=AC_SX236_SY340_QL65&keywords=rainbird+5000&dpPl=1&dpID=41ITY6JY0RL&ref=plSrch). I also have one rainbird pop up impact sprinkler for near the patio because I wanted the easy access to adjust the water diffuser pin.

All the piping I am using is this flexible poly pipe. It's very strong, and I liked it because I could be confident that any leaks or problems would be coming from known connections instead of a random joint in the middle of the yard. https://m.lowes.com/pd/ADS-3-4-in-x-100-ft-100-PSI-Plastic-Coil-Pipe/3514714

From the valve timers, I will have about a 3 foot section going into a valve box located right below. I will have to modify the valve box to accommodate 8 hoses going in (wife wasn't thrilled about that part of the set up)

Inside the valve box, I will have a 90 degree connection where the line from the timer is separate from the lines that go into the yard to the heads. I figure something may happen to the exposed pipe through wear or whatever and this will give it some flexibility should it get disturbed. All of the connections are barb fittings going into the poly pipe and secured in place (doesn't leak without them it's so tight, just making sure) with these clamps I got from Home Depot.

One of the big keys is using a lot of thread tape on every connection. I got the thicker kind. I've tested it out and both series of heads gives me about 38 foot coverage when run one at a time.

I can tell you one mistake I made, instead of renting a trench digger I decided I would save a few bucks and just get a tench shovel. Oh well.





 

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Tifgrand—7,500 sq/ft—Baroness LM56
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Nice job so far BAF!!! For those hose connections at the sprinkler head, all I do is heat the hose up with a butane torch and then slide it onto the barbed fitting. Might save you some hassle from tightening all those hose clamps.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
That's not a bad idea. Cost is probably about the same. Does part of the pipe melt into the fitting or what? I was hoping for some flexibility in replacing the hoses and connections near the valves, that's why I had them separated, however I've tried removing those barbed connections from the pipe and it's extremely difficult. Can you work the torch to be able to remove them as well without destroying the connection fitting?
 

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Tifgrand—7,500 sq/ft—Baroness LM56
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Bunnysarefat said:
That's not a bad idea. Cost is probably about the same. Does part of the pipe melt into the fitting or what? I was hoping for some flexibility in replacing the hoses and connections near the valves, that's why I had them separated, however I've tried removing those barbed connections from the pipe and it's extremely difficult. Can you work the torch to be able to remove them as well without destroying the connection fitting?
I just heat the tubing until it gets soft and then slide it on. The only downside is that if you need to replace the hose or fitting, you will need to cut the hose at the fitting and then slice the pipe that is still on the fitting with a razor(box cutter) and it will come right off. Just make sure you have enough extra pipe to reconnect or you can get a two sided barbed fitting to extend the hose. Does all that make sense? :D
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Yes it makes sense. I've tried to remove one fitting so far, just using my hands it doesn't move 1 millimeter. I ended up cutting the pipe like you said, but I slightly damaged the barb in the process, although probably not damaging the integrity of the fitting overall.
 

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I use the 1/2" "swing" pipe with the green stripe. I like your creativity. I'm surprised that you can't get enough flow/pressure to run at least 2 of those heads. .
Do yourself a favor and drop the $100 to rent trencher from home depot. Digging 8" trenches by hand is for the birds.
 

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tigertailbell said:
I use the 1/2" "swing" pipe with the green stripe. I like your creativity. I'm surprised that you can't get enough flow/pressure to run at least 2 of those heads. .
Do yourself a favor and drop the $100 to rent trencher from home depot. Digging 8" trenches by hand is for the birds.
+4

1. I also used 1/2" swing pipe works great.
2. What size nozzles are installed that you can only run one at a time.
3. Trenchers all the way
4. I dug 100ish feet of my irrigation by hand and got a trencher for the other 900 feet. Refer to #3
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
So I tried running my 5000 rotar with the 3gpm nozzle and my maxi paw pop up impact with the middle factory nozzle and one would basically not even pop up fully. I did a really crappy test, I basically tested one on an 80 foot line and the other on a 20 foot line and of course the 80 foot line got no pressure. I guess i had assumed it would be inadequate and this little demonstration was just my minimal attempt to at least say I tried. I was previously able to run two sprinklers at the same time and get a decent range on both of them. I have decent water pressure, between 60-70 psi with no flow.

I have about 160 feet to go and yes, I'm an idiot, I'm getting the trencher.
 

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Tifgrand—7,500 sq/ft—Baroness LM56
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Good luck on this project and using the trencher. Make sure that all your utilities are marked or that you know where they are at, I would hate for you to cut something your not suppose to.

Sounds like you should have gotten a 1" irrigation meter for this project, it would have allowed for many more heads. But if this all works out for you then, it doesn't really matter :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Yeah, I'm willing to spend money but I'm not trying to just absolutely blow out the budget where I don't have to. I think this system will be adequate, I would have liked to have 10 heads but 8 should work. The system will be technically expandable if I need to. But after all, this is supposed to be TifTuf, right? Hoping I won't have to be running this thing constantly.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Sprinkler system is completed. I just need to modify the valve box to fit around the mess of connections. The trenches were filled in about 5 or 6 days ago. I still haven't gotten any rain in almost a month so I still have settling to occur from the grading work I had done, as well these trenches now.

Spent today picking up rocks, including a monsterous 80ish pound piece of concrete I found about .25 inches below ground in a random spot near the middle of the yard. Not something I enjoyed.

I also got out the torch and torched some of the dead grass. Such satisfaction hearing those seeds pop from that dirty rescuegrass.

One of the main things I've been doing is leveling just using a spray nozzle shooting out a jet of water. I just get the area wet and shoot the dirt where I want it to go. It's getting me pretty decent results but it does take so much time. My kids have forgotten who their dad is because I'm out there laying down in the dirt, slowly moving and smoothing little bumps in the dirt. It works ok, the best part is that the rocks all come to the surface that way... can't wait to get this grass in but I want to be satisfied that I did as much as I reasonably could to smooth out all the edges, given I will have a sloped yard regardless, I want the back half to be as flat as I can without messing up the drainage.





 

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Bunnysarefat said:
...One of the main things I've been doing is leveling just using a spray nozzle shooting out a jet of water. I just get the area wet and shoot the dirt where I want it to go. It's getting me pretty decent results but it does take so much time....
That's how I leveled my lawn of the first couple seasons. Works well, if you have the time!
 
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