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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Just thought I would share my fourth of July weekend project here on TLF. I have been planning this for over a year, and thank you all for posting on this topic throughout the years with feedback and insight. For those who are interested, I have outlined my steps below.

  • 1. Scalped the lawn as far as it would allow. The lawn was at about 2 1/4"; I dropped it down to 1 1/4" with my rotary mower, and then eventually down to 3/8" with my TruCut. It took four consecutive passes with both mowers, and I filled 15 paper lawn bags with the clippings.
    2. Dropped 14-14-14 down at 7 lbs / 1,000, per my soil regimen. I will drop a bag of Milo on it after the sand has settled as well.
    3. Sprayed with Prodiamine.
    4. Watered deeply overnight.
    5. Carted the first two yards of mason or washed sand. They originally delivered cushion sand, even though I specifically mentioned in writing the day before NOT to bring that variety. Good thing I caught them just as they were dumping it on my driveway. They tried to convince me it was the best sand to use for leveling, but I had done enough research to know better. After the correct sand was delivered, I used a gorilla cart to shuttle it around the yard, and dumped about 4 loads per 500 sq. ft.
    6. Spread out the sand with a rough surface outdoor push broom. Get a broom with stiff bristles; I ruined one broom halfway through my project.
    7. Leveled the sand with a drag mat in every direction imaginable. I started with a 5 x 3' Yard Tuff mat from Amazon, which was nice and heavy, but a little large for my lawn. I ordered a 3 x 3' mat after I had completed the first application of sand, which was much easier to maneuver in tighter spaces. I threw a 40 lb bag of fertilizer on top for weight.
    8. Dropped my mower on the lowest setting, and ran it over the yard with the engine off to locate any remaining low spots. They were pretty easy to identify - just look for blade marks in the sand. Touch up as necessary.
    9. Drank a few beers and admired my work. Seriously, the heat index was 105.
    10. Watered each zone for about 25 - 30 minutes in the early morning hours. After the sand dried, I used the drag mat to go over the entire yard again to a) smooth the sand from the previous watering, and b) loosen the bermuda and allow it to poke out through the sand.

I really debated to aerate between step 4 and 5, and ultimately decided against it. Not only was I concerned about stressing the lawn further, but also wasn't certain I could collect every last plug off the lawn to ensure a smooth surface.

We also had a torrential rain here in North Texas on Wednesday evening, which did wash away ~10% of my sand. Plan on watering your lawn at least for a good week - watering is key. I had already planned a second application immediately after completing the first, which I followed through with yesterday (steps 5 - 8). This is addicting.

I ended up using three yards of sand for ~2,500 sq ft. I would recommend a yard of sand for every 750 - 1,000 sq ft, depending on how rough or smooth your existing surface is. The rougher the existing surface, the more sand you will need per sq. ft. I do think it is easier to order less and go back for more, rather than ordering too much and being stuck with more product than you need.

I will post more pictures as they come along. I can't tell you how many neighbors I have caught stopping their car to take pictures and chuckle. Guess we will see who has the last laugh :lol:











 

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Looks great man!!! I just cut mine down as well, 20 lawn bags and 100* weather = I'm dead lol. Can't wait to see how it looks though. I'll level mine next year!
 

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DetroitRocker said:
I ordered a 3 x 3' mat after I had completed the first application of sand, which was much easier to maneuver in tighter spaces.
I was looking to get a mat next year but I wasn't sure on the size. My lawn is ~ 3.3K sq/ft. So it sounds like you would vote for the 3X3 then.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
MarkV said:
I was looking to get a mat next year but I wasn't sure on the size. My lawn is ~ 3.3K sq/ft. So it sounds like you would vote for the 3X3 then.
I think it would depend on the layout of your lawn. I have a couple of tree rings and a skinny boulevard, so the 3x3 seemed to maneuver better around those areas. The 5x3 didn't make it through a few spots because it was too wide. Also, consider the price and the storage space! Look for the Amazon warehouse deals - easy way to save $10-15 on equipment that will eventually be used anyway.
 

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Looks fantastic and thank you for the write up as I'll be undergoing this project in the very near future. Make sure you keep us updated on the progress in a few weeks. I have a few questions that will help me moving forward.

1. How soon after leveling will you plan on resuming your mowing regimen? I have a rotary mower (can't bite the bullet on the reel yet, but this is a step in that direction).
2. Did you go the route of Mason Sand, as opposed to play sand, due to the weight? I've heard conflicting points regarding mason sand, but then again, I'm just not starting to commit to this project and plan for it.

TIA!
 

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Tifgrand—7,500 sq/ft—Baroness LM56
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Tex86 said:
Looks fantastic and thank you for the write up as I'll be undergoing this project in the very near future. Make sure you keep us updated on the progress in a few weeks. I have a few questions that will help me moving forward.

1. How soon after leveling will you plan on resuming your mowing regimen? I have a rotary mower (can't bite the bullet on the reel yet, but this is a step in that direction).
2. Did you go the route of Mason Sand, as opposed to play sand, due to the weight? I've heard conflicting points regarding mason sand, but then again, I'm just not starting to commit to this project and plan for it.

TIA!
What conflicting points have you heard about Masonry Sand? Just curious is all. I have used it for both of my leveling jobs without any issue. It's cheap and works quite well.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Tex86 said:
Looks fantastic and thank you for the write up as I'll be undergoing this project in the very near future. Make sure you keep us updated on the progress in a few weeks. I have a few questions that will help me moving forward.

1. How soon after leveling will you plan on resuming your mowing regimen? I have a rotary mower (can't bite the bullet on the reel yet, but this is a step in that direction).
2. Did you go the route of Mason Sand, as opposed to play sand, due to the weight? I've heard conflicting points regarding mason sand, but then again, I'm just not starting to commit to this project and plan for it.

TIA!
No problem! 1. It guess it would depend on several variables; how much sand was used, how fast the lawn is growing, and how short you want to cut it. Maybe a 10 - 14 days for a reel mower, and 14 - 21 for a rotary? 2. I used mason sand based on all of the recommendations from various threads and have not heard any negatives.
 

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Mightyquinn said:
Tex86 said:
Looks fantastic and thank you for the write up as I'll be undergoing this project in the very near future. Make sure you keep us updated on the progress in a few weeks. I have a few questions that will help me moving forward.

1. How soon after leveling will you plan on resuming your mowing regimen? I have a rotary mower (can't bite the bullet on the reel yet, but this is a step in that direction).
2. Did you go the route of Mason Sand, as opposed to play sand, due to the weight? I've heard conflicting points regarding mason sand, but then again, I'm just not starting to commit to this project and plan for it.

TIA!
What conflicting points have you heard about Masonry Sand? Just curious is all. I have used it for both of my leveling jobs without any issue. It's cheap and works quite well.
I've read that it's doesn't provide as good as drainage. An example was that some guy put it down and the water just pooled up in it along with his fertilizer... personally, i didn't know if that's possible as it's sand, however, it stuck to my mind and I wanted to be sure before I bought 3 yards for my project.

This also came from a forum that wasn't very informative, so I took it with a grain of salt.
 

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DetroitRocker said:
Tex86 said:
Looks fantastic and thank you for the write up as I'll be undergoing this project in the very near future. Make sure you keep us updated on the progress in a few weeks. I have a few questions that will help me moving forward.

1. How soon after leveling will you plan on resuming your mowing regimen? I have a rotary mower (can't bite the bullet on the reel yet, but this is a step in that direction).
2. Did you go the route of Mason Sand, as opposed to play sand, due to the weight? I've heard conflicting points regarding mason sand, but then again, I'm just not starting to commit to this project and plan for it.

TIA!
No problem! 1. It guess it would depend on several variables; how much sand was used, how fast the lawn is growing, and how short you want to cut it. Maybe a 10 - 14 days for a reel mower, and 14 - 21 for a rotary? 2. I used mason sand based on all of the recommendations from various threads and have not heard any negatives.
Awesome. I'll do a bit more reading on when to resume mowing after. Thanks for clearing that up for me, and great job once again.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
UPDATE: two weeks later. We've been blessed with a nice balance of rain and sunshine, and the grass was really starting to take off in most areas. You can see the deep ruts are still mostly sand, though there are a few blades of bermuda peeking through. I edged, mowed at 3/4" and trimmed this afternoon to clean it up. It was great using the reel mower after tuning it up over the last week (backlap, oil, filter, plug, chains, etc). I can't wait to add a roller as well. I plan to drop a bag of milo tomorrow, and then a round of 14-14-14 two weeks from today.

I definitely see another project in the future; I almost think a more appropriate term for the first time is "smoothing".

Enjoy!








 

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The lawn looks good, do you have any updated photos of the final product? I'm looking/researching to do the same thing for my lawn (I also live in Detroit) and hoping I could get my hands on an eco-spreader to make the job easier. I have KBG and its less than a year old (installed new sod as part of our new home construction).
 
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