Solarization of lawn for replanting new lawn
I just recently purchased a house. The previous owner of the house took great pride in the house and had planted many trees and shrubs, he lost his job, moved out of state, rented the house for a couple years. The tenants didn't care for anything, they didn't water the grass, didn't weed so now I am trying to revitalize the property.
First off I am removing a tree in the front yard that is dying(the neighbors said this is the second or third attempt at planting in this spot). I am going to have the stump ground down.
Next I have to deal with the lawn... It is more live cloves and dandelions at this point. I bought a puller thinking I could manually pull these out but now I have holes everywhere in my lawn. Another problem is that my lawn is bumpy when I walk on it. It also seems like there are several types of grass. Finally I really don't like the sprinkler system, the neighbors all say "your sprinkler is really good", but I think it is horrible, the heads aren't well placed, I get more water on my driveway and flower/rose beds than I think is good, plus it has dead spots, finally the sprinkler lines are not buried deeply, some as shallow as 4" from the surface(I punctured one while turning the dirt in the flower bed).
So 2 + 2 + 2 + 2 + 2 = 10, so I am thinking it may be best to nuke the lawn, dig up the old sprinkler lines, rerun new lines with well placed sprinkler heads, then replant the grass. Possibly doing some landscaping, e.g. maybe put in a fountain with more flowers and less lawn.
I have done some reading, I would like to avoid spraying chemicals, so I came across solarization. My thoughts are this, start solarizing my lawn soon, leave it for 4-6 weeks, remove plastic, run soil tests, till the dirt, fix sprinkler system, prepare for seed, then resolarize until I am ready to seed. I believe fall is the best time for me to seed, so if I start soon I should be able to meet this deadline. Does this sound sane?
Any input is appreciated, this is my first house, it has such great potential but it needs some assistance...