Tips for newbie on reseeding a lawn!

OneiricMay 12, 2014

Hey guys! I'm totally new to this forum and also relatively new to the world of lawn care. I haven't had a lawn in the past 10 years but now I have decided to take on a new project: Reseeding the neglected backyard lawn of my parent's rental home that the previous tenants did not take care of. The yard is pretty small (my mental image calculation comes to ~1500-2000 sqft), kind of slopes to the back corner, has a wooded area along the back side which causes shade coverage for part of the day, and also has a partial fence that I am contemplating taking down and finishing around the entire back yard. Pictures will have to come later this week when I go back to the house this weekend to do some more work.

I am sure that there are a billion things that I need to take into consideration, and so I am trying to do a little bit of research on the matter and also found this forum to try and post on!

For now, I would like some recommendations for a species of grass to attempt to grow. I live in Springfield, VA and I'm not sure what kind of grass is currently in the lawn, but it is very patchy and there are a lot of weeds. Once I get a good recommendation for a grass type, I feel like I will have a clearer idea of what kind of work I will need to put into the soil. From my very limited research, it looks like Zoysia, though not completely suited for my area, would be able to grow in my area and I also like it's look.

Some other problems that I would like to take care of are a few unwanted trees/bushes near the edges of the property as well as a drainage problem we've had during heavy snow and the melting thereafter causing floods in the basement. The trees and bushes I'm sure I can dig out on my own, as they aren't that big. The flooding problem we have dealt with by digging a trench out of the snow, along the slope into the back corner of the lawn, which lets the water flow out. I did a little research and it sounded like an underground french trench would be an appropriate solution. This would be something I would like to do after I've killed the old lawn off or when I till the soil(not sure if I'll even need to do this?). As mentioned before, pictures will come later, which I know will help describe this further.

Please help me out with what I need to do or if anything I listed above is horribly wrong! I'm not even sure what other information I need to give, so please let me know what I need to provide.

Thanks in advance for your help!


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dchall_san_antonio(8 San Antonio)

When you take your pictures, it is best if you can get them on a cloudy day.

Can you take one showing the overall lay of the land where it slopes away from the house? Show the house in the picture. If you can show the house near where the water came into the basement that would help. Let's see the trench you dug.

You can do all the grass type research you want, but you have a more serious drainage problem. French drains are normally a band aid, but sometimes they are the only solution. The best solution to the drainage might have a big impact as to the approach you take for your ultimate lawn.

Zoysia is a rare turf type for a reason. When you have a problem with it, the solution can cure it immediately, but the grass does not look good again until the following April. Other grasses will patch right up and look good right away. The other grasses which will work in your area are fescue (shade tolerant and green all winter but will not spread if injured), Kentucky bluegrass (full sun only but turns dormant brown in winter), bermuda (full sun only but turns dormant brown in winter), or possibly St Augustine (shade tolerant, coarse bladed, turns brown in winter). Zoysia also turns brown in winter, but it has that problem of taking a full season to look good after damage. Personally I would go with a mix of fescue and Kentucky bluegrass.

    Bookmark   May 13, 2014 at 6:11PM
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Hey dchall, thanks for the response!

I haven't started with the trench yet, still trying to finalize plans for it, and I mostly only have weekends to work on it. I agree that my first priority is fixing the drainage problem, which I hope the trench will fix, but additional help/tips are much appreciated. I don't even know what a bigger solution might even entail! >I'll definitely use your tips for the pictures and will try my best to get a good overview picture(s).

As for grass, im pretty sure we have some sort of fesque that normally grows, i'll try to get an ID on that, but the backyard is still in pretty terrible shape. My parents will be living there so I wanted to try Zoysia from success stories in my area that i've read about and the lowish maintenance required. There is only partial sun in most of the back yard due to the tree coverage, so any full sun strains are out of the picture I think. I don't mind that the grass will turn brown in the winter, and i'm attracted to their ability to choke out other weeds as well. As per your suggestion, I will look into a combination of bluegrass and fesque(any particular strains recommended?).

Anyway, i'll post an update no later than saturday this weekend. Thanks again for the response!


    Bookmark   May 13, 2014 at 11:50PM
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