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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
After reading so many journals over the last 8 months, I figured it was time to jump on in. I can't thank the users on this forum enough for all of the help you provide. It's been a lot of fun learning on here.
We moved into our house in April of 2021. The previous owner just mowed everything over, and had created a lot of exposed rock sections as there wasn't really any turf to speak of. He had also not controlled the sand bur problem on the property. Once we started to get things greening up, we found out that most of our front yard was infested with sand burs, and there were large patches of sand burs in the back of the lot as well. Below is where we started off.



Looking at the house from the back yard.



Looking to the back of the property.



I figured the first year, I would let the grasses and plants do their thing, and see what we were working with. I also took down the play set as we don't have kids, and got rid of the old sheds that were in disrepair. Once the spring swung in, we realized how bad the sticker bur situation was, so I started to glypho it, and added on Ike's sand bur pre-em. It's helped some, but it was a super heavy infestation. We also saw that we had some bermuda, so I began encouraging that around the front of the house, driveway, and back yard. Some did better than others. I've also allowed the lower portion of the property to go native and will only be mowed one time per year.

View from the old patio with growth on lower portion of lot.



Front Yard after glypho of sand burs. (Most of this area is King Ranch Blue Stem which I will be addressing this year.)



I got some great common bermuda growth in the southern side yard, as well as the barren rocky patch next to the driveway. That area was used to park on, and was seriously just rock. A true testament that bermuda will basically grow anywhere.

Side Yard






Rocky area next to driveway:



After living in the house for a few months, we took down the old deck, and replaced it with a solid patio. This of course tore up most of the back yard area from the equipment and masonry work. But I took the chance to get some soil in and added a pallet and a half of celebration bermuda. It took well, and looks nice. I'll be doing the rest of the upper area with celebration in March.
Old Deck:


Construction:






Post Construction before sod:



With Sod:





Neat sky with a big rainbow just for grins:


I mowed the front yard as low as I could and seeded it with PRG. It did ok. The mounds of King Ranch Bluestem (KRB) blocked a lot of the seed. But it did provide a nice green lawn for us over the winter which was nice. A lot better than when we bought the house the prior January anyways.





Then last month I found a good deal on a cal trimmer on FB marketplace. So I have started using that on the yard.



We've also planted some trees on our property line to provide some privacy from our neighbors as they sit higher than us on the hill. They're very nice folks, but we need some distinction between the properties as we don't have a fence. In order to plant the Crape Myrtles, I had to get in there with a jack hammer. We are on a shelf, and man, that limestone can be a pain to work in. But we got some good holes in, and hopefully they'll have survived over the winter.

I started scalping the bermuda, and I've been doing that in phases. I'll post some pics once I have it done. I'm looking forward to tracking the progress this year, and learning from all y'all on here.
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Mowed the large native area in the back of our lot yesterday with a brush hog. It took a couple of hours due to the different levels of the lot. Running that thing up hill and then turning it was not very easy, but I only do it once a year. Ran into a whole bunch of field mice as I was going. This explains how the cats are always finding more mice to eat.



Here you can see how tall the grass was.



I still have some cleanup weed eating to do. But I'm going to pass on that today. It's about 36* and windy with a drizzle. Yesterday was tough due to the cold and wind, but I guess that's better than hot and dusty. 🤷🏼‍♂️
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Ended up doing one last pass on the back yard and side yard to try and encourage some greening in the Bermuda. The rescue grass is still going strong, and I think it'll be another month before it dies out. But at least it provides some green.



The area on the left is going to get scraped in the next couple of weeks. We'll be adding top soil and then sodding w celebration Bermuda.



And just for fun, I've added a photo of my soccer game today. It's 419, and it's always interesting to see how it compares to home.

 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Did a quick mow, to get some more dead material off the small Bermuda patch. It's starting to get some more green in it. I'm not sure if it will show up in the images. Hopefully it will be very green in a couple of weeks. The fertilizer I applied to the front yard really helped the rye, but I'm still not getting much growth out of it despite the warmer weather.




 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Friday and Saturday will be a lot of work, but I'm looking forward to finishing out the back yard. I have a guy coming over to scrape around 3,500 sq. ft. and do some grading. I also have 12 yards of soil being delivered for him to spread into areas that are rocky, and need help. Then Saturday, I'm having 7 pallets of celebration bermuda delivered. I have some guys coming to help me get it laid down, and hopefully our crazy winter won't cause me too much trouble with very low temperatures expected. I'm excited about having a real back yard this summer where I can walk around barefoot. 🙂 The colored areas are being graded and sodded.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Got the addition to the backyard started today. 38* and wind chill of 17* was a bit of a whopper, but the 37 MPH gusts definitely helped get the excess organic material off the ground. :lol: A guy in my neighborhood does bobcat work, and he came over to do the job. He was very judicious with the soil, and did a good job implementing my requests.


I ordered my soil from Kinser Ranch. They were great. They have a lot of options, and their prices are really reasonable. The mix I got was 25% granite sand, 25% loam, and 50% compost. I ordered 12 yards, but having completed everything now, I could have used another 8 lol.



Tomorrow I'm getting the sod delivered, and we'll see if that suffices to cover the areas that we are looking to improve. This area right off of our patio is the main renovation space. We spend a lot of time over here, and I want to make sure it turns out well. The area on the left is almost entirely rock less than 1/10" down. So I had him focus on that area the most to ensure that the sod would be able to put roots down and hold water.



A couple spots had some big rocks so we got those removed.



The end result was a nice level surface with quite a bit of new soil throughout the areas that will be sodded.









I also ended up adding a lot more soil next to the driveway than I was hoping to. There was about a 6 inch drop from the concrete to the "soil". So that area will now be sodded despite there having been common bermuda there previously.

 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Got the sod laid down today. My buddy who's a GC sent over three guys to help out which made it a lot easier. We got all seven pallets laid down in just over 2 hours. It turned out pretty well. It was interesting to see difference in how green the grass that came in was vs my small Bermuda patch. I only had one of the pallets that was very dry. It was a big upgrade over all the native grasses and weeds and it will be nice to have a real backyard this season.
This is the side yard where I ended up putting more soil down than anticipated. But now it hits up to the driveway which I'm happy about.



This is the second level which was nothing but weeds previously. This is also the area that the two large boulders came from.



This another shot of this area.



This is the main "backyard". This area is where we spend most of our time and it will be very enjoyable to have more space. Especially space that doesn't have sticker burs. The ability to walk around bare foot is something that we haven't really been able to enjoy since we moved here. This will go a long way in alleviating this issue.



 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Unfortunately the frost last night really dinged my sod. It's very disappointing, but it'll do ok once the temps warm up this week. This weather has been bonkers here. We normally don't have frosts this late here. This is the latest one by almost a week.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Got a final scalp in today. Thanks to @DFWdude for the help with the positioning of the roller on my CalTrimmer. I looked at it several times previously but hadn't gotten through my head (not a big stretch for me) that it wasn't in the middle setting. Man that really took my scalping to a much lower level. Sometimes it just takes someone else pointing something out for it to click with you. So I finished up the side yard w all its rescue grass, and the small patch from last year's patio.







Then I got a quick mow in on the front yard. The prg has started growing again, and so has the other native clump grass. It looks ok for now, and it's green. We have gotten next to no rain for a month, and things are pretty dry.



The new sod is coming along. The frost last Saturday night really dinged it. But the temps have rebounded this week, and a little green is starting show. I'm a little concerned because the roots haven't begun to get through the cuts, but perhaps it's due to the cooler temps. I've never laid sod this early before. I also put down about 40 pounds of Microlife Brown Patch 5-1-3 earlier this week. I'm hoping 🤞🏻 that with the rain expected Monday and Tuesday, we'll get some good green up and root growth.









The sod pieces that were mowed the lowest seems to do best.


Also a big difference in the green up on the southern facing small area that is protected by the patio.



Hopefully by next week, the roots will be coming in, and after that it will be ready for it first mow in April.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
The sod is starting to green up which is great. The weather is warming up starting this weekend, so I'm hopeful the grass really starts getting some good growth to it. The sod roots still aren't growing, but again, I hope the upcoming string of highs in the 80's will push it along.






For some reason the green up doesn't show as well in the photos, but irl it looks quite a bit greener.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
In an effort to be smart, I tried adding a bunch of images all at once from my phone, and they're all spread out, so unfortunately there's not much order to this post. 🤦🏼‍♂️ I cleaned up some of the grassy areas at the seam with the new sod, which makes it look better. I also included some photos from other parts of the back of the lot as this time of year is always interesting to me.

We have this lone red bud that has 2/3 of it that need to be cut down, but the remaining live third is producing a lot of flowers. It's really tall, and trying to compete with the oaks for light. I'm not really sure how much longer this tree will make it, even with aggressive pruning.



When they built our house, they didn't put much thought into the location of the septic. It's right outside the kitchen window, and off the side of the patio. It's really quite an eye sore, and they previous owners covered it in about 1.5 feet of pea gravel. That material caught just about every seed known to man, so I dug most of it out, and used it to keep shoring up the berm I'm building between the property line with our northern neighbor. I also planted some lavender in there, which we hope will do ok. I'm also going to get some soil on top of everything here so that the runners from the lawn have a good environment to grow into.



This week I'll be adding back the two missing condos from the purple martin house, as well as cleaning the others out. I've seen a few scouts this past week, and hopefully we can entice them this year.



This is a view from the back of the property near the purple martin house. The grasses are starting to come in.



Update photo of the sod, and how it's doing.



A view into the oak motte from the edge of the lawn.



Starting to get some root tips in the grass. It's been in the mid-high 80's for a few days and the grass is really much happier for it.



Update photo of color.



These little wild flowers are the first to show up this year. I always find it interesting to see what gets growing first. This fall we'll be seeding wild flowers on our berm, and in other areas of the lot.



The next two shots are from inside of the oak motte. There's about 8 oak trees in this area, but the main motte is made up of 5 big oak trees. They create a really great canopy, and now that I trimmed them up some, this past winter, the breeze is able to get in there. I'll be hanging a hammock in there soon to enjoy the shade. They're losing their leaves right now, so it looks sparse, but they'll all come back after they drop their pollen sacks.





This is the last image of the lawn which was for color purposes.

 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
The yard is really starting to green up a lot more. We're supposed to get some rain tonight. It's been very dry here this spring. Hopefully we'll end up getting more than the .25 inches they're calling for in my neck of the woods.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Today I got some work done early before the Manchester United game which is about to start. I changed the oil in the Cal Trimmer. I've never changed oil on an engine before, but when I bought this machine I decided I needed to learn more about small engines. So far I've done some basic maintenance on it including a new air filter, and I have a new spark plug, but I need to get a gapper for it. The oil was pretty dirty, and I'm glad I got that done today.

I mowed all the yards today. The front prg is starting to fry, so I decided to just let it go. There's some common Bermuda out there, so I'm going to try and encourage that to grow and slowly remove the king ranch blue stem.



I got my second mow in on the sod and it's coming along well. I did a double cut to continue smoothing the it out as much as possible. I've got the height set at 1 inch. The lawn really needs a lot of leveling, so I'm going to have to do that sooner than I was hoping to. But the green up continues and I think it will be looking really nice in a couple of weeks.

This is the side of the driveway. I'm glad that it's coming in at the rate it is. There's a lot of common Bermuda that's coming in outside of it right now. So it needs to be thick quickly.



Second level area before I mowed.



These are different angles of the backyard. I'm really enjoying the work out of pushing the lawn mower up the hills. 🤣🤣 I do like the way it looks though.









 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Not much going on here. Got a mow in yesterday, and certain areas are growing faster than others. I've also begun watering the sod less. I'm starting to water deeper and less frequently now that the roots are well set.

Unfortunately the big story In this area is drought. Between November and now we typically get about 14.5 inches of rain, and this year we haven't even hit 7. We've also had very low humidity (like 7%) which is very atypical for spring in central Texas. La Niña was supposed to taper off late spring, early summer, but now the forecast is saying that it won't end until August. This likely means very little rain for us, and more people relying on wells, like us. Hopefully the well doesn't go dry, but I'm guessing that I'll be having to trench to the city tap this summer to get a water meter installed 😒.

Also, side question on photos. It seems that when I take photos of the lawn, the camera tends to focus in on the remaining leggy areas and not the green. I feel like my lawn is coming along nicely, but when I look at photos, it just doesn't translate at all. Any tips?





 

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Dono1183 said:
Not much going on here. Got a mow in yesterday, and certain areas are growing faster than others. I've also begun watering the sod less. I'm starting to water deeper and less frequently now that the roots are well set.

Unfortunately the big story In this area is drought. Between November and now we typically get about 14.5 inches of rain, and this year we haven't even hit 7. We've also had very low humidity (like 7%) which is very atypical for spring in central Texas. La Niña was supposed to taper off late spring, early summer, but now the forecast is saying that it won't end until August. This likely means very little rain for us, and more people relying on wells, like us. Hopefully the well doesn't go dry, but I'm guessing that I'll be having to trench to the city tap this summer to get a water meter installed 😒.

Also, side question on photos. It seems that when I take photos of the lawn, the camera tends to focus in on the remaining leggy areas and not the green. I feel like my lawn is coming along nicely, but when I look at photos, it just doesn't translate at all. Any tips?





I feel you on the rain. Evens over here in college station it's dry and I can't even water lately with how windy it's been 24/7. Your grass looks great though. It's still only early April and I'm sure it was just in the upper 30s where you are yesterday morning.

Thinking about it, did you scalp and what height of cut are you at?
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
ag_fishing said:
Dono1183 said:
Not much going on here. Got a mow in yesterday, and certain areas are growing faster than others. I've also begun watering the sod less. I'm starting to water deeper and less frequently now that the roots are well set.

Unfortunately the big story In this area is drought. Between November and now we typically get about 14.5 inches of rain, and this year we haven't even hit 7. We've also had very low humidity (like 7%) which is very atypical for spring in central Texas. La Niña was supposed to taper off late spring, early summer, but now the forecast is saying that it won't end until August. This likely means very little rain for us, and more people relying on wells, like us. Hopefully the well doesn't go dry, but I'm guessing that I'll be having to trench to the city tap this summer to get a water meter installed 😒.

Also, side question on photos. It seems that when I take photos of the lawn, the camera tends to focus in on the remaining leggy areas and not the green. I feel like my lawn is coming along nicely, but when I look at photos, it just doesn't translate at all. Any tips?





I feel you on the rain. Evens over here in college station it's dry and I can't even water lately with how windy it's been 24/7. Your grass looks great though. It's still only early April and I'm sure it was just in the upper 30s where you are yesterday morning.

Thinking about it, did you scalp and what height of cut are you at?
Thanks @ag_fishing, the sod wasn't scalped, I've been maintaining at 1". It definitely still looks leggy due to the freeze damage it got the first night I laid it. It's definitely been cool here at night. I here you on the watering. It's been crazy windy, and we're on the side of a hill, which seems to whip it up even more. Hopefully we'll get some meaningful rain soon 🤞🏻.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
We got just over .2 inches of rain here last night which is great, as we weren't expecting anywhere near that. I'm watering this morning to get a good soaking into the sod, and keep weening it off the consistent watering schedule now that I'm just over 4 weeks in. So happy to get some rain!
 
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