Options for troubled front yard?
I'm in Atlanta. I have a large front yard, split by a drive way. We bought the place last year. Right now, the entire front yard is mostly weeds, with some fescue mixed in here and there that I guess is left over from years ago.
The yard to the right of my driveway receives ample sun and should be fine to establish a warm-season turf (has mossy patches now). The area to the left of my driveway, however, has a dogwood tree (small) and a few large oak trees that provide a good bit of shade in the summer. One landscaping company that came out said that they could not guarantee that sod would do well in this area, but that I could try. Its an expensive proposition because of the size of the yard. So, I'm kind of turned off of the idea of establishing a turf that may be nothing but a money pit.
So, I thought of another option. What if I grow annual rye grass each year from about October - May? I could have a nice "lawn" for most of the year. Then, during the summer, I could just mow the weeds and keep everything as nice looking as possible. What do you think? If I go this rye grass route, do I still need to control the weeds with sprays/pre-emergents, etc. before planting or after planting the rye grass or will the rye grass thrive regardless?
Another question - if I don't establish a turf because of the shade/cost issues, but want to minimize the weeds in my yard, should I myself or through a company control the weeds by sprays/pre-emergent applications throughout the year? My fear is that if I get rid of the weeds, I'll be left with bald patches that may be susceptible to erosion. What do you think?
Your advice is appreciated as always.