What to do with 1.5 acres of terrible grass/weeds.
I recently purchased a somewhat rural home on about 4 acres of land in Minnesota. Roughly 1.5 acres lawn "lawn", and the other 2.5 acres is a field of goldenrod.
I put lawn in quotes, because other than being sort of green, and mowed short, there is not much grass to speak of. In fact, I'd say that 50% of it is broadleaf weeds (mostly dandelion). 60-70% of the yard is sunny, and the other 30-40% ranges from some sun/some shade to very shaded. There are 3 primary issues with the yard as is:
1) All of the weeds- in the spring the entire yard is yellow. Now, it is various shades of green- lots of broadleaves with some grass. As I mentioned, I'd say roughly half of what is growing out there are weeds.
2) The grass is pretty sparse, especially in shaded areas. I'd like for the lawn to be quite a bit more dense. Right around the west side of the house, it is pretty shaded, and much of it is bald (dirt). The neighbors told us the previous owners had tried to put grass down in this area multiple times, but it always died out.
3) Voles. There seems to be a few of these little buggers that make their tracks through our yard. On the east side of the house (quite sunny) the ground almost feels hollow when you walk on it.
I've never had to take care of a lawn before this, and to be honest, it all seems a bit overwhelming. I'm not entirely sure where to even start, but something needs to be done. I cut it once a week (takes about 2 1/2 hours). What I would like to end up with is a descent lawn that is comfortable to walk barefoot in. It definitely doesn't need to be the perfectly manicured, amazing lawns I have seen on this forum. In fact, it is a big enough space, that I don't think I'd even have time for that kind of commitment. Right now I'd settle for something that is "OK" and not off-putting as it is now. Any thoughts on where to start?