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Lawn Disaster



Last year my husband and I hired someone to come in to level off our backyard as much as possible and build a retaining wall.


It's been almost a year and our yard is a disaster. There is very little grass and the rest is dirt. I don't know where to start or what we need to get things rolling by this summer. Is this even possible for just myself and my husband to conquer within a reasonable price?


Please let me know what all we need from fertilizer to grass or even tiling.


Thank You


Navy Wife

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Posted 2011-02-21T22:00:49+0000  by NavyWife NavyWife

Hey NavyWife.


Travis is not here today but he did text me and told me to follow up for him.


Your yard appears to be fairly smooth, therefore this should be painless. Travis was correct when he recommended core aeration. This will help soften the soil, making it easier for seed or sod to take root. Here in Atlanta we have acidic soil which makes growing grass more difficult without the assistance of pelletized lime. I would recommend some lime right after aeration, for this will get down in the holes helping adjust the soil pH faster. Now that this is done we can put down seed or sod. Now is a great time to put down Fescue seed but it is still too early for Bermuda, Zoysia, or Centipede seed, which need to be put out in late spring to early summer. I don't know what your budget looks like but sod is also a great option and gives you instant gratification.


If seeding with fescue, I would aerate and lime now and the seed and starter fertilizer at the end of March. Once the seed is down then cover it with wheat straw. This will help hold the seed it place and it will hold moisture to the seed, which is crucial for the first month. You have full sun, which is ideal for all type grasses.


If seeding with Bermuda or Zoysia then aerate and lime now and then put down seed at the end of spring. Lime takes 3 to 5 months to fully adjust soil pH.


If sodding then I would still aerate and put down lime now and put down sod in a month or two. I would also put down a starter fertilizer on top of the sod (unless it is Centipede sod)


The weeds or grass that are currently there look dead or dormant. If it is dormant then a weed killer will not kill it until it greens up. It is safe to seed or sod 7 to 10 days after spraying Round up grass and weed killer.


If there are any ruts or uneven places in the yard you may need to knock them down with a bow rake, otherwise all that is left to do is WATER WATER WATER!


Thanks for the question and if there are any other questions then hit us up. Thanks





Best Answer

Posted 2011-02-24T15:31:36+0000  by Ingar_HD_ATL

Hi NavyWife,


Travis here, from The Home Depot in Atlanta. Thanks for joining our community and welcome!


I need to know some details about your yard. What part of the world are you posting from?(We all know how Navy people move around). The geographic location will also help me to make better recommendations for grass that will do well in your area.


If the contractors that built the wall used a Bobcat or tractor to move the materials around, the soil may have become compacted. Tilling may be necessary, but aeration might be sufficient.


Depending on you're location, sod or seed can re-establish your lawn.

I'll be watching for a post with the details necessary to fill in the blanks.



Posted 2011-02-22T13:07:17+0000  by Travis_HD_ATL

Hello and thank you so must for replying back. We are stationed in GA, so of course the weather here is hot and humid here. (Central GA)


I believe the contractors did use some type of compacting machine. If need be I can include a picture of my back yard. I am so wanting to have it ready for the summer for us all to enjoy.


Hopefully, I gave you some needed information for you to work with.


Thank You


Posted 2011-02-22T21:47:03+0000  by NavyWife

Hi Travis


I have attached a picture of my back yard. This should help also with a solution for my yard.


Thank Youbackyard.jpg

Posted 2011-02-23T15:02:59+0000  by NavyWife

Hi NavyWife,


 Thanks for the picture of the yard. It's truly worth a thousand words!


I don't see many trees in the neighborhood, so sun is a major consideration. Fescue grass will have a difficult time establishing in the spring in Georgia. It will look good until the summer heat knocks it out. Bermuda, zoysia and centipede grasses are better choices for the sunny yard. The Home Depot sells bermuda and zoysia seed in our area stores. Of course, for instant gratification, sod is always a viable option.


If you are considering putting in any type of grass this spring, those weeds must go away first. From what I can see in the picture, henbit is the purple flowering weed and spurge is usually in close proximity. Ortho Weed-B-Gon targets broadleaf weeds and is safe for most grasses. Image makes a product that more specifically targets the cool season weeds that plague warm season grasses like bermuda.Image.jpg

Image is not safe to use in fescue lawns. It should not be used on newly seeded or sodded lawns, either. You can eliminate the weeds from your lawn area now, and seed or sod with bermuda or zoysia after April 1st. Seeding is a slow process. It may take a season or even two to become a lush lawn. Traffic should be limited for the first season. You'll need some "Keep off the Grass" signs for the first few months.


In summary, First: Eeliminate the weeds.

                       Second: Prepare the soil for planting either seed or sod by aerating.

                                        (Core Aerators are available at

                                       Home Depot rental centers).

                       Third: Apply lime, seed (or sod), and fertilizer.

And for the rest of the summer: Water, water, and water.


If you wish to go with a fescue lawn, I strongly recommend waiting until September to apply that kind of seed in Georgia. The three steps above apply to fescue, just begin eliminating weeds  in late August, and use the Weed-B-Gon, not the Image.


I hope this information helps, thanks again for joining our community. Keep us posted!




Posted 2011-02-25T14:33:33+0000  by Travis_HD_ATL

Thank you so much. We will get started on this project!!



Posted 2011-02-28T20:25:01+0000  by NavyWife
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