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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I decided last year that I wanted a lawn that was level enough to use a reel mower. I'm currently using a manual push reel but it's just not heavy or powerful enough to get the job done the way I want it done.

This weekend I gave it my first attempt at leveling and thought I'd start a thread.

I calculated my lawn to be about 2k square feet of usable lawn (front and back) however I quickly discovered I under estimated. My plan from the start was just to do the front and side yards and save the back until after my dog passes (cancer...she was given weeks to months about 6m ago). I had 2 yards delivered and Friday afternoon went to it. I don't have a wheel barrow but have a Scotts drop spreader, which I used as a wheel barrow. Spreading the sand wasn't nearly as bad as I thought. I dumped the sand loads and my wife spread with a rake and then I went over with a push broom.

I had fertilized with 34-0-0 a week ago so didnt want to put down so much nitro. The lawn was a little thin and not filling in as dense as I'd like so I threw down some starter fert. Then let the sprinklers do their thing. All in all it took about 4.5 hours and wasn't all that bad (based on my yard size).

Here were some takeaways:
1. Make sure to correctly measure your yard
2. There is such a thing as too much sand (My wife insisted she knew best and had me put down way too much sand on the front [I ended up having to move some off because it was a completely smothering the grass].
3. Because I was using smaller piles, I didn't truly even need a rake. I could've just used a broom from the whole thing.
4. Even with such a small yard, a small drag mat would've definitely done a better job.
5. My yard had tons of bumps so I'll definitely be doing this again a few months down the road.

It was fun and the looks I got from the neighbors was totally worth it lol.

-Chris

Pics are the "before". The big hole is from a burst sewer line. Builder was supposed to fill on Thursday...landscaper was backed up so told me it wasn't getting done for a few weeks. After giving him a piece of my mind, I decided to go to the store to get some parts to level the clean out plug. When I got home, the hole was filled....thus the clean out plug remains. I decided to leave it because I'll only be here for another year or 2 so don't want to mess with plumbing (codes and such).









 

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Looks Good!!

Always use 1/3 rule..so if your going to keep it at 1/2" mow when the grass is 3/4"

Along with Irrigation, I suggest you keep going over the yard with your drag mat and/or a broom when the sand is dry. It will help with the sand work its way into the canopy and help stand grass blades back up during recovery. Then go back to mowing while the sand is wet and the grass gets to 3/4" tall. The sand being wet from rain or irrigation will help with footprints, mower tracks/ruts.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Alright well I'm one week into it. It's coming in nicely. Raised up my manual reel mower slightly but it's just still too sandy. Used the rotary on 2nd notch from bottom to give it a trim. It's still bumpy as can be but I knew this was going to be a multiple time endeavor.

I'm noticing parts that are light green (the bend around the walkway). Any ideas?

Also, the freshly laid sod around the sewer flush out line is taking nicely.

Funny story of pic#1- My wife told me my neighbor's yard was "greener" (She was questioning me mowing low and often versus the taller yards). I told her "just wait until they eventually mow" hehe







 

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Jericho574 said:
Funny story of pic#1- My wife told me my neighbor's yard was "greener" (She was questioning me mowing low and often versus the taller yards). I told her "just wait until they eventually mow" hehe
Yep, exactly the same thing I tell my wife.... Just wait until they mow again (for the first time in 2 weeks). It wont be green after that. :lol:
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Well its been 3 weeks and here are the results. Cutting at 1.5" with the rotary. At that height, the difference in quality between the rotary and my manual reel just isn't enough to justify the reel. The biggest factor being the weight. Because the lawn still isn't as smooth as I'd like, the reel is still jumping all around.

After going through this for the first time I think we should rename the process "smoothing". The grade of my land will not allow for it to ever be level/flat lol.









 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Thanks Ware :)

Two additional questions....literally the day after I mow, the seed stalks are sticking out above the canopy. The only day the lawn looks groomed is the actual day I mow, or the morning after (covered in dew). What's the deal with that?

Also, I've noticed strips of lawn that have said seed stalks that are WHITE. When I plucked one out for a closer look, the bottom of it is the green and then it becomes white. Any idea what that is?



 

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Jericho

You should cut down that clean out for the sewer flush with the soil so you can just mow right over the top of it. Unless of coarse you like mowing around it. I LOVE mowing around objects so I can understand if you want to just leave it alone.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
wardconnor said:
Jericho

You should cut down that clean out for the sewer flush with the soil so you can just mow right over the top of it. Unless of coarse you like mowing around it. I LOVE mowing around objects so I can understand if you want to just leave it alone.
Funny story about that....from the suggestions here, I was planning to do just that. The builder came out to do some warranty work and informed me the landscaper was behind and the sinkhole wouldn't be filled in for a few weeks. With the hole exposed, I was just going to cut it, and recap it. I went to home depot to get a new cap (of course they didn't carry any) and by the time I got home the hole was filled and sodded. So at this point I'd have to dig into my lawn. I have family coming into town this weekend for my little one's 1st bday and then more family coming a couple weeks after that. Then add in the fact that we'll probably be moving in the next year, I don't really want to mess with the plumbing (not sure if there's any codes or anything that I'd be breaking).
 

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No codes to lower that pipe, I did mine at our last house cause it stuck up just like that and looked terrible (to me). The builder came out and lowered it for me, they just cut it with a saw and put the cap back on at a low level and grass eventually covered it.
 

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Yeah thats what I was thinking. You can probably just slip the cap off. It's probably not glued. I work in construction. Not good to glue it because then you cannot use it for what it was intended for.

Slip cap off. Dig out grass a small bit around pipe cut down with hacksaw or Sawzall or any saw then slip cap back over pipe. Put grass back. You'll thank yourself when you are mowing.
 

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Tifgrand—7,500 sq/ft—Baroness LM56
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J_nick said:
I would dig down down deep enough to cut it below ground level and install a round valve box where the top of the valve box was level with the ground (not LCN style)
I like this idea the best but I would put it just a hair below ground level just to protect it and your equipment from hitting it in the future in case you ever decide to go low :D
 
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