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Lawn & Garden

Help with an awful lawn

I haven't paid much to my lawn in the last few years.  I would like to have something I am not embarrassed by this year.  Besides the assorted weeds, there are a lot of bare spots.  Should I be fertilizing first or do I need to seed.  And if seeding, does this have to be a big, buy a tiller and tear up the whole yard, kind of job?


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Posted 2013-05-06T18:20:46+0000  by 3lub 3lub

Howdy 3lub,


Welcome to The Home Depot Community. Our aim is to share our knowledge, expertise, and opinions on improving your home. In regards to you lawn, there are a few options for a new yard, so let's go over them;



1) You could attempt to put down weed killer to get rid of as much of the weeds and reseed and hope for the best. This usually won't work if the lawn is over 30 percent weeds.


2) You can remove the old lawn with a sodcutter or shovels and start from scratch. This would require digging up the top 1-2 inches and dispose of the grass/weeds before reseeding/soding.


3) Some people like to use a grass/weed killer such as Roundup to destroy their old. You would only need to wait a few days till you could reseed or put down sod.


4) You could rent a rototiller and breakup the entire lawn and let lawn set for a few days before reseeding or sodding. Here are the how-to's of Seeding and Sodding.


This is how to install Sod:



First, download our Do-It-Yourself Checklist to get an overview of everything you will need, then move on to removing your old lawn. There are several recognized ways to replace your old lawn, each has their own advantages and disadvantages. They all have one thing in common - you need to KILL the grass. The better you kill any growth the less likely will you have various varieties of old lawn, weeds and other growth from sprouting up through your new sod. Follow the directions on the ROUND UP container (bought at any hardware store). We recommend one additional SECRET step. After you spray on the Round Up, try to "grow" the grass by keeping it watered (some people even fertilize). Why? Because you want anything in the ground to grow so you can kill it thoroughly with a second application of Round Up.

Although you can attempt to do this by hand, we do recommend renting a sodcutter or dethatching machine. This machine allows you to set the cutting depth to match that of your old lawn. Discard old lawn. This could go on dump truck or dumpster or ?.

You will need to calculate how much square footage you have. Remember to order Sod days in advance to assure you will not have to wait.

Rototill, rake and roll. Prepare the site by removing old lawn if necessary then add layer of seeding soil. To rototill your soil, you'll need to rent a rototiller. It will save you a ton of time and will uniformly till, and aerate the soil in preparation for sod installation. Rake out any rocks, big clumps, weeds and debris to create a smooth surface to about 1 inch below driveways, sidewalks, and patios.




Roll the soil lightly with a lawn roller. You can rent one at your local Home Depot to get a uniform surface. Before you sod, make sure the soil is dry. You don't want the soil to compact into mud as it is not a good environment for the roots of the sod to take hold. Now is when you want to inspect your irrigation system.




Water is the lifeblood to turfgrass. Adequate watering coverage is essential to any lawn installation. This critical step will be your insurance of a lasting, good looking lawn and is vital to lawn health.

Plan to install the sod within 30 minutes after it arrives. Remember, this is a live plant and is subject to damage from the elements. Lay the sod in an overlaying pattern, staggering the joints in each row in a brick-like fashion. Use the roller again to create even contact with the sod and the soil. Water thoroughly within 30 minutes of the first piece installed with at least 1 inch of water.



To make sure the sod is sufficiently watered, lift a corner of any piece of sod and insert a screw driver into the underlying soil. If it's hard to push in or soil is not moist, keep watering. To insure your sod doesn't dry out and die, your new lawn should be kept moist during the first 10 days after installation.

Now you need to roll the ground to a "grade" that will allow water to runoff.




A new lawn is one of your best investments and will immediately add beauty and value to your home. Thank you for installing Superior Fescue Sod.






How to Seed:


Loosen the Soil

You want grass seed to make good contact with soil. So you need to rough it up a little. Loosening the soil also helps tiny seedlings to take root. So rake your lawn, and remove any dead grass in the process, before seeding.


Apply the 3 S's: Soil, Seed, Starter Fertilizer

Before you seed, mix a thin layer seeding soil with your lawn soil. This will improve the soil in your yard and help your grass grow in well. Spread your grass seed with a spreader, using the proper spreader setting listed on the bag. After you've spread it, gently run the back of your rake over the soil to create better contact with the seeds. Then add a layer of topper/seeding soil.This will give grass the food it needs to grow strong and develop a deep and dense root system -- your lawn's source of strength -- to help it stand up to tough conditions and thrive.


Don't Apply Too Much Seed

Grass is like any other plant. It needs soil, moisture, light, and nutrients to thrive. That's why seedlings need some room to grow. While it's tempting to pile a whole lot of grass seed on a lawn or bare spot, doing so just creates a free-for-all. What grass manages to grow will be weaker than it would be if you had given it some space. Just use the spreader settings on the seed bag for good results.

sprinkler closeup


Proper Watering is the Key to Success

You've loosened the soil, seeded, added starter fertilizer and seeding soil. The only ingredient you need now (besides sunlight and warm weather) is water. Without consistent moisture, seed dies and can't be revived. Water gently, but not deeply, to keep the soil moist. Lightly water twice a day until the grass reaches 2 inches in height. Then you can cut back to watering when necessary.



When to Mow

Once your grass reaches regular mowing height, rev up your lawnmower. Be sure to set your mower at the tallest setting. This will allow the grass to grow deeper roots to find moisture and nutrients. If you cut your lawn too short, the grass can't grow deep roots, and you'll waste a lot of time and money watering it to keep it green.

What's Next? Fertilizing

Once you've mowed your lawn about 4 times (or about 6 weeks after you've seeded), it's time to feed your lawn. You can feed your lawn every 6-8 weeks with these products during the growing season. Make sure that you are using a straight fertilizer and not a weed and feed product as it can damage or kill young grass. Always make sure to read product labels for instructions.


Yes, these are projects...but the rewards are great as are the saving,


Happy Gardening,


Posted 2013-05-06T18:58:09+0000  by Dave_HD_OC
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