Lawn Care Forum banner

Colonel K0rn's lawn renovation

28874 Views 113 Replies 21 Participants Last post by  CARL HD MOVIE SOURCE
I don't have the greatest writeup that some of the other users have with their lawn renovations, so bear with me. I figured I would go ahead and start a thread of my own, and document some of the findings that I have encountered thus far. I apologize for the wall of text in advance.

A little history about my property: it was built in 2003, is just over 1/3 of an acre, and we moved here just over 6 years ago. Our subdivision is named Madison Oaks, and I can count on one hand the number of oak trees within a block. I sure wish I had a few trees in my yard, but over the years, I haven't been able to get a single tree to grow on the lot, which I found to be really odd. Another odd thing is that when it rains any amount over 0.25", I typically get standing water in the front and back yard. It's really bad in the back yard, so much so that I have to wait sometimes 3-4 days before I can get my mower out to take care of the yard. I found it interesting when I was replacing my mailbox post, as I dug the hole for the 4x4 below 2', the hole started having water seep into it from the sides. I just assumed that we had a high water table. I'm a ham radio operator as well, and I ran into the same issues when I installed my radio tower. It was a mess trying to get 4' below the surface, and it hadn't rained in over 3 weeks. I felt like I was working on a well out in an oil field.

My property sits in a corner lot of our portion of the subdivision, and I have an easement from the railroad that runs behind my house, and a property that is to the North of my house that is overgrown and completely unkempt, due to the fact that the owner was wheelchair-bound and blind. He didn't have the means to take care of his lot, so it's the neighbor's problems. I can peer over the fence, and see a retention pond that is almost about the same level as my lawn. So, when it rains, water collects, and reaches about the same level of the small pond. There is a small swale that runs on the north and south sides of the property, as well as one against my back fenceline. I'm pretty sure these were put there when the development was made, but over time, erosion has changed the grade to where they are ineffective.

Prior to this year, I did the average homeowner maintenance on the lawn, mowing, trimming, edging, and throwing the occasional bag of weed and feed. Having moved from a property that had just over 5 acres, it felt like I was taking forever and a day for me to be out in the GA sun to tend to my property, sometimes taking 3 hours to complete my job. It also felt like my job was growing longer every summer, to the point where sometimes I just didn't want to go outside and get covered in clippings and get sunburnt. I did get compliments on the appearance from neighbors on both sides of me, as well as across the street. I took pride in how it looked, and I thought I was doing well, but I could do better. That's pretty much how I felt when I went out of town for 2 months to go help my father with his business; we were on the road from August until the beginning of October, and prior to my leaving town, I hacked down the weeds as best as I could to keep them at bay.

My wife didn't call anyone to take care of the property while I was gone, so the lawn just became completely overgrown, and very unruly. When I returned, it looked like a scene from Jumanji (Robin Williams version, not Dwayne Johnson :lol:) She said that she thought I enjoyed doing yard work, to a certain extent I did, but not hacking through jungles!

Hedges that were overgrown, and then cleaned up.

This was the pile of clippings and cuttings that were collected after my efforts were spent.
I spent several hours cleaning everything, and vowed that I was going to do what I could to never let it get back to that state again. And that's where I have been for the past two years. I've never let my lot get out of control, and when I've had to go out of town, I arranged to have someone to at least do the rudimentary care of the lot. I've had life happen, and just maintained the property where it's useable, but not as good as I can get it. It's a matter of priorities, and what I'm willing to commit to. I made the commitment this year to begin a renovation, conquer the weeds, and have the lawn that's the envy of the neighborhood. I didn't realize what a task I had ahead of me, more than just using Roundup, and replanting... no, it's much more than that.
See less See more
41 - 60 of 114 Posts
Looks like it's recovering nicely!

Been thinking about you this week as i've been watching the forecasts. How much rain are they predicting for you?
The reports have varied the closer the storm gets, i.e. The day before we left, it looked like it would be near 15". As of 5 PM today, those have been dropped by half. I was kinda hoping we would be on the western side of the storm, but when we got to Perry (which is almost smack dab in the middle of the state), we saw that the storm track that changed to having the center pass right over where we're staying. I told my wife we brought the damn thing with us! The thing that would help us more is if it were to track further Westward, and that would help those in Miami about to get hammered.
Got back to the homestead after our evacuation to Perry, GA, where we spent the past few days at my in-laws. Seems that I had a list of things to do when I got there too, so my time was not idle. Once the storm came through, thankfully, it wasn't that bad. After coming home, and assessing my situation, and after seeing what happened in Perry, they got more wind, and we got more rain at the house.

I was fully expecting to see a pond in the front, but was pleasantly surprised to see only a small puddle in the low spot in the front. I also was hoping that the hurricane would blow away the lovebugs that have been all over the place for the past few weeks, and are a huge nuisance this time of year. They're indigenous to FL, but are pretty common along the coast. It seems as the closer I got to the coast, the thicker they got.

My rain gauge collected 6.58" of rainfall, and we probably got more, since I'm certain it was being blown sideways. My gauge is very dirty, but it's still accurate.

What was along the side of the yard was a lot of leaves, and sticks, and it's still kinda soggy there. It's not going to be fun to clean this mess up :|

I was very happy to assess the overall condition of the yard. I have an area by the house that was naturally hard packed dirt, and when it rained after I put seed down, I saw that there was always going to be rain that ran off of the side of the house that doesn't have gutters. It spills into the front, and the side of the house. I'll have to spend a bit more time on this area next season. The low spot in the front does have a puddle, but not as large as I expected. I'm happy with the condition considering the grass is almost 3 weeks old.

As I was looking over it, I noticed that some of the grass in the thicker areas is really thick, to the point of that it's grown almost to 2 1/2"-3" tall. I'm going to cut it tomorrow, if the ground isn't too soggy. Some areas are around 1 1/2" high, and those are the areas that I re-seeded after the rain on the 3rd day. I didn't see any stolon growth, so I'm thinking that I'll need to cut it to spur the plant into production.

BTW, if you're in my area, don't expect to get any milk at the grocery store like my wife did. I didn't bother to check the bread aisle.

See less See more
Glad it came through as well as it did, and glad you didn't have any major issues.
Not sure what the cost looks like compared to grading, but have you considered installing some type of drain for the low spots? I have a low spot in my backyard before a slight hill that collects standing water (although not as bad as what you are dealing with) and the drain does a good enough job draining it.

I might recommend a pop-up style, running the piping to the road and letting it drain there. Maybe I should have provided this input before you planted the grass due to the trenching of the pipe :roll: Something like this might help:
cnet24 said:
Not sure what the cost looks like compared to grading, but have you considered installing some type of drain for the low spots? I have a low spot in my backyard before a slight hill that collects standing water (although not as bad as what you are dealing with) and the drain does a good enough job draining it.

I might recommend a pop-up style, running the piping to the road and letting it drain there. Maybe I should have provided this input before you planted the grass due to the trenching of the pipe :roll: Something like this might help:
Only problem that I have with the piping to the road is that there's a negative grade toward the house, and the house is on a supported slab. I'm pretty sure when the house was built, the now low spot was a crown, with swales along both sides leading toward the back yard. There are noticeable swales along the side and the rear of the lot, but over the years, the ground has gotten compacted, and a low spot has just developed in several places. As I look at the lot now, there's still water in the back yard, but the water in the front has gone away. :banana:

I'm going to wait until my neighbors sell their house, and then greet the new neighbors when they move in, and then ask them if I can put a trench with a discharge pipe along the back of their property line. Should go well.
I still can't believe that happened to your reno. It looks like it's starting to come along judging by your pictures.
pennstater2005 said:
I still can't believe that happened to your reno. It looks like it's starting to come along judging by your pictures.
Thanks friend, your renovation looks great too. It's pretty darn amazing how we can get to enjoy the fruits of our labor in a relatively short time period.
Day 21
I gave the yard its first mow today with the push reel. I'd say that I cut about 60% of the growth in the whole front yard. Considering how tall some of the growth in the front portion and the parkways were, I opted to cut at 2", and I'd say that some of the growth(judging by some of the clippings) was darn near 4" total height. :shocked: I did notice some lateral growth in areas, so needless to say, I'm very pleased with the results so far even with the curve balls that Mother Nature has thrown my way. I'm going to wait a few days after I put down some "secret product" that I picked up today before I take more pictures. :wink:
Thanks and good luck Colonel :thumbup:
Day 23
I'll go ahead and let the cat out of the bag regarding the "secret" that I have. I went to the Site One store to get some more lime, gypsum, and fert for the front. I wound up leaving with a quart of Mirimichi Green Release 9-0-1C. I've been reading up on the benefits of humic acid and other root growth stimulants that are becoming more readily available in the market, and was comfortable with talking to the sales rep about the products. I saw pictures of sod that had been laid 2 weeks prior, and there were no visible seams, and they had to be mowed. This product was applied immediately after the sod was laid, and since it's a foliar application, it's easy to use. This also gave me a chance to use the Chapin 20v again, which is nice when you can use the toys that you had to justify to the wife that it's going to make your job easier and get you better results :lol:

What's even cooler is that the branch manager was there, and he couldn't believe the pictures that I showed him of my yard, and he wanted to know what my root structure of the plants looked like. Today, Friday, I pulled up one of the plants to see for myself what was going on beneath the surface. The plant that I pulled up was 3" tall, and the roots extended another 2 1/8". I pulled up another plant from another area close by, and had similar findings.

Since I wanted to leave the Mirimichi product on the plants for as long as possible and for maximum uptake, I decided that spraying the yard was going to be all that I did for the day. I do have to say that having the tracking dye on the yard made the new yard really stand out, even though it really didn't need it to look much greener than the neighborhood lawns.
See less See more
Day 24
I slept in late, and got a late start to the day. I wasn't sure if it was a placebo effect or not, but I could have sworn the yard looked like it needed to be mowed again, and was much greener than the day before. I wanted to water the babies since they haven't had any rain since Irma blew through on Monday, so I broke out the water hose. My hose reel kept :censored: messing up, and I was this close to coming inside and ordering an Eley reel. Don't worry, I'm still thinking about it. Seems that when I wound it up before we left that one side of the hose was wrapped around the outside of the spool, and it made unreeling the hose an "unreal" PITA.

I started off watering the parkways, and it was evident that I was pretty heavy handed with the Mirimichi product on the side with the mailbox, since the tracking dye wasn't washing off of all the blades easily. I think most of the visible paper mulch that I put on there absorbed a lot of the dye, and it just makes it look a lot more blue than it is.

I hand watered the parkways, then started thinking about all the other things that I needed to do in the yard, so I decided to hook up the Orbit gear drive sprinklers, and let them run on the right side of the yard, while I relaxed in the shade. Did I forget to mention that it's still hot here? I mean, I've got great grass-growing weather for the next 10 days at least!

While watering some of the areas on the right, I noticed that I was getting lateral growth off of a lot of the plants. The right side of the yard had no bermuda in it prior to starting the renovation. I've got some of the old stuff that was along the driveway that has popped up, and the blade structure and crown is differently colored, so I'm pretty sure that this is the new seed that's starting to go lateral, which is great news. I even have some baby grass that's coming up in the picture.

What I did notice is the huge clumps of green kyllinga that are trying to encroach on my lawn. I addressed that later this evening :x

So I spent the majority of the afternoon doing small things around the house, moving the sprinklers, hand watering areas that I didn't want to get drenched or tend to pond up (talking to you Mr. Low Spot). While I was watering one side, my neighbor called me and asked for a ride to pick up her husband's car from the mechanic. I dropped her off, and was driving back to the house slowly, looking at the clouds and thinking to myself, "I've spent the time watering the yard today, and I'll bet it's going to rain." even though there was a 0% chance today. When I got 2 houses away, what I saw really made me feel like my hard work and effort that I've put into this renovation has been worth it. After passing all the houses along the way back and looking at uncut, malnourished and neglected yards, I was driving up to an oasis of lush greenery. My heart filled with joy, because I had mostly been seeing the yard only from the house looking out at the street, and looking at all the bare spots that had yet to fill in. I asked my wife to hop in the van and go for a short ride with me. She didn't know what I was doing, so I handed her my sunglasses. They're a brown tint, and polarized, and I wanted her to see what I saw. She said, "Wow, it really does look great. I'm proud of you." LOL, I guess I was looking for affirmation, but in reality, I'm just seeking appreciation, and we both do at this point.

So, here's a few pics of the yard, 1 day after applying the Mirimichi Green 9-0-1C, and in the midst of washing the tracking dye off. After I watered, I applied PGR to the rear yard, and sprayed the encroaching green kyllinga with Sedgehammer (wanted to try it out), and also sprayed the edges of the front yard with the same. I then took on some more kyllinga in the back with the rest of the sedgehammer, and broke out more Dismiss to kill off some plants that were in the thick stand, as well as in the Salad BarTM

What's amazing in these parkway pictures is that the marking dye had been washed off the grass prior to me taking the pictures. This is the wow factor that I saw when I pulled up to the house. I'll get it off of the concrete pretty soon I'm sure.

See less See more
Spreading looks good and the blue dye always makes it look a touch better. I use extra dye when I spray anything. Looks like your hard work is paying off! It's come a long way since the wash out pics!!
I was just looking at the last pictures I posted, and noticed that in the lower right hand corner of the last picture, there's a love bug. I took this picture the other day when they were swarming all over the front of the house. These things are prolific. I was hoping that the hurricane would get rid of them, but they've persisted. They're not as thick as they were a week ago, but still annoying as hell. Look at all of them!

See less See more
Hey CK how about an update. I saw some newer pics over on a cool season watering thread it's looking good.
J_nick said:
Hey CK how about an update. I saw some newer pics over on a cool season watering thread it's looking good.
Thanks for the compliment Nick. Sure thing, I'll have one written up tomorrow. It was just hot as blazes today, with the heat index around 107, and I didn't do much in the way of yard work, just a light watering, and a mow the day before. I've got a few things to share that I found to be pretty neat. I might start a new thread like @wardconner, and just call it my journal :D

Wow, I didn't realize it was almost 2 weeks since I made an update on my post. I've got some yard sales to hit up with the wife tomorrow morning, so I'll try to get my pics early in the AM.
At what point are you going to stop the PGR application for the year?
I would encourage you to keep this reno thread alive this growing season so others can follow it from start to finish in one place. Then give an update how it's doing in the spring.

At the beginning of the growing season next year or whenever you start on the yard start a journal. That's just how I would do it.
Movingshrub said:
At what point are you going to stop the PGR application for the year?
The thing is, I didn't apply any PGR in the front yard, just in my back yard where I'm trying to get the grass to thicken up. I wanted to see how far I could get it on seed, fert and water alone.

Also, I had no idea how much crabgrass would be stirred up when I did the power rake, and brought it to the surface. I either 1. Didn't see it before I started the renovation because of how thick the carpet grass was 2. there might have been some seed in the compost, but I don't think that was the case or 3. just had a lot of seed that was dormant, and given good growing conditions it took off. I pluck it out of the ground daily as I'm walking the turf, and since I just did the first feeding after seed down, it's starting to be very noticeable 2 days after I mowed it. However that's a good thing, because it makes it easy to see when you're walking by.
41 - 60 of 114 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.