fix/replace 1/2 of back yard

froggedMarch 19, 2012

Please be kind, lawn care for me is cutting the grass and raking leaves. My issue is that my two dogs have turned part of my backyard into a mess (its a good thing they are cute). The front half of my back yard. Lots of rain last fall very little snow cover this winter combined with two crazy dogs have churned up the lawn/ground. They have some places that are now just mud paths where they run chasing one and other you can see their paw prints in the mud. Other place there are small/tinny patches of grass I compare it to a well used horse paddock. My yard has one large birch in this area, the ground is very bumpy. So I want grass what would you suggest. The area is not huge maybe20x30,the other part of the yard is 30x20ish. I can not get any larger then a ridding mower into my backyard. I have access to one plus a lawn roller. Right now the ground is soft could I get away with adding top soil and rolling the area to smooth,then seeding or sodding. Or do I have to scrape the ground to even it out. Other post that suggest a box cutter to level out the ground. Can you get one for a ridding mower. What type of soil would you commend to fill in low areas. What are the pros and cons about rolling the ground. I need the yard for the dogs which means grass that will stand up to my dogs running around. Would seed or sod be better. What is a ball park price of sod. (I know this will vary by location but are we talking 100- or 1000$$$) How long do you need to stay off seeded or sodded areas. My location southern Ontario, type of grass mixture of all the different kinds of grass/weeds around. Normally do not water, have never fertilized, willing to use either organic synthetic don't care. The yard is mostly sun a bit of shade. Soil is clay based, Mow as needed on the highest setting, and like the look of tall inch or taller grass. Oh yeah and I have to do this in the least costly way as possible. Any helpful info welcome thanks!!

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garycinchicago(Z5 Chicago IL.)

>"yard for the dogs which means grass that will stand up to my dogs running around"

>"Normally do not water, have never fertilized"

>"a bit of shade"

>"southern Ontario"

>"do this in the least costly way as possible"


Grass? that's an "impossible dream" - aint going to happen.

You may have to look into something "forage" from your local farm bureau agency. Millet comes to mind ... but Ontario might be too cool for millet.

    Bookmark   March 19, 2012 at 11:58PM
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Hey now Gary, let's not be too negative. Sod is probably not going to work out for you since it can be pricey, but not sure what units you are using when you say 20X30, feet or meters? If it's feet, then that's not too big, and the cost might be less than you think, especially if you do the labor of laying it. You need to call some sod farms to get a ballpark price, that's your job. If you decide to seed, then the dogs are going to have to stay off the area for at least 6 weeks, 8 would be better. Maybe split the yard with a temporary fence and do half now, the other half in late summer. Ideally the seed bed should be free of weeds, and graded. You can do this yourself, to a degree, but a professional with a box blade is going to do a much better job (this would also be the case if you sod). For seed, I would either go with a Kentucky bluegrass blend that uses traffic tolerant cultivars that do well in your area i.e. ones with longer growing seasons like Rush, Four Seasons, etc. The other option would be to use Poa Supina. This is a European grass found in the Alps that has a long growing season, spreads aggressively, tolerates shade, does very well in traffic, and in some instances does better if there is traffic. The seed is pricey (35 bucks a pound), and you will need 2-3 lbs per 1000 square feet. Which ever grass you choose, you will have to water in extended periods of no rain, and you will have to fertilize.

    Bookmark   March 20, 2012 at 1:29AM
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dchall_san_antonio(8 San Antonio)

I would put 2+ inches of mulch where the dogs run. You can't put in new grass and expect them to stop playing. They will love the mulch. If they dig in it, you just kick it back into the hole with your foot. You'd have to add more next year. Sure beats mud.

    Bookmark   March 20, 2012 at 11:08PM
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Thanks folks, I am going to have grass in my yard and your suggestions are appreciated. My numbers were in feet, not meters. And I should have said in the past I have not fertilized or watered (except when pumping water out of the pond or when I clenaed the pond filters) . I will of course have to when I redo the lawn. This all started because the lawn was water logged from too much rain, and haveing the dogs out there.... Wish there was a place that I could let them run free other then my yard but thats not an option. So the plan make a mulch path from the house to the back area that is still green and along the area that the dogs chase one and other, fence off each section grade and sod or seed depending on cost. I will be looking for your seed sugestions. Then keep the dogs off for 2 months. Water often at least one inch at a time, I think watering just after dawn is best??? Then when I get grass back fertilize fall and early spring to keep it healthy. And keep the dogs out of the yard when water logged. So thanks! It is such a help to be able to get good realistic advice. When you go to business or store, with your information I somtimes find they just steer you in the direction of what they want to sell you wheather it is right or not,or when you are trying to do things cheaply they don't want to help at all. So thanks again.

    Bookmark   March 22, 2012 at 7:14PM
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dchall_san_antonio(8 San Antonio)

Water often??? No. Water infrequently, not frequently. Assuming you have a lawn, you should water once a month in the cool months and work your way up to every 7 days in the hottest heat of summer. The 1-inch rule is a starting point. In a normal summer I water 3/8 inch once a week. That is all my lawn needs. When the heat really kicks in, I go to 5/8 inch. If the heat is prolonged, like our last drought, I will up it to 7/8 inch per week until the heat breaks back to normal.

    Bookmark   March 23, 2012 at 12:31AM
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Hmm, when I said often I ment when getting the sod or seed established. Once a week or more often depending on how fast the soil dries out. For the 6 weeks I am keeping the dogs and me off this area. But now less then the inch. Am I wrong in thinking this? Then cut back to when needed between rains. thanks.

    Bookmark   March 23, 2012 at 6:42PM
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