Author Topic: I知 wussypants and scared to take care of lawn  (Read 1540 times)

SlowMustachian

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I知 wussypants and scared to take care of lawn
« on: February 08, 2018, 07:05:59 PM »
So I found MMM last year after I bought my house in NC. I had lived in Manhattan for 16years before that so never had a yard but my new house has what I think is a large yard, about .75 acres.  It has grass, large trees with lots of leaves, some bushes and pine needles as mulch. It has a sprinkler system too. Right now we are paying $250 per month for lawn care and my saving rate needs to be increased.  So I know I need to take this on with my hubby, we both work full time but can maybe do it on Saturday mornings. I知 just scared about how to winterize / dewinterize the sprinkler, how to fertilize, replace mulch, aerate the grass - huh? Any advice how I prepare to let go of my lawn guys and what to do??

Sibley

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Re: I知 wussypants and scared to take care of lawn
« Reply #1 on: February 08, 2018, 07:59:43 PM »
A lot of this is more labor than anything else.

1. Sprinkler. Right now, it's winterized. Don't dewinterize it. Why? Because if you run it, you're paying for water. $$$. And water waste. Plus, the more water the grass gets the more it grows, so the more you need to mow it. Don't water it. If it goes dormant, who cares? That's what rain is for.

2. Fertilize - you don't need to do much. A lot of people over fertilize, which wastes money and is bad for the environment. It's pretty easy though. Get a spreader (used if possible, they're expensive), get however many bags you need of the basic spring fertilizer, read the bag to determine how to set the spreader, dump fertilizer in the spreader and walk the yard. Repeat in the fall with the basic winterizer. You're done. Tip: if you get weed and feed, it'll help with weeds.

3. Replace mulch - hard labor. Rake/shovel out the old stuff, dump in new stuff. You need mulch, a rake, a shovel, and a wheelbarrow or similar. And lots and lots of water (for you).

4. Aerate the grass - plenty of people don't do this. If you decide to do it, rent the machine and walk the yard with it.

5. Leaf clean up in the fall - a mulching lawnmower that bags is awesome for this. Just rake all the leaves onto the grass, then mow! Empty the bag into whatever your local trash pickup requires - if you're lucky you can just dump it in a yard waste bin. Or 3. Otherwise, giant paper bags.

6. Weeding. Keep up with it or it'll get out of control and take 10x longer.

7. Edging. Periodically you need to edge the grass where it's up against concrete. This makes it a nice clean line. If you have an edger that helps, but it's still hard labor.

8. Mowing. Get a lawnmower appropriate for the size and characteristics of your yard. Buy it used if at all possible, they're expensive. There are probably various posts on here about different ones. They're small engines, if you're at all handy you can figure out how to do basic maintenance (I need to learn how to change the oil this spring. I may provide the neighbors some amusement, but I'll figure it out). You tube is awesome.

9. Growing grass. If you have bare spots, you can put grass seed down to get rid of them. Spring or fall is the best time, because there's plenty of rain to help it get started.

Here's the thing though. .75 acres is a pretty large yard. Maybe not big for the people who live in the country and have 2-3+ acres, but that's still a lot. You're going to spend a lot of time, and a lot of labor. You will be in much better shape. You can do SOOOOO much more, and spend endless amounts of money and time, or you can really keep it pretty basic and it'll work out just fine. I tend towards the minimalist approach, and my yard looks fine.

Full disclosure: my yard actually has a lot of issues, but I didn't do them, I bought it like that. I'm working on it. The giant bare spot in the back yard was not me. I'll get around to that one eventually, but you can't see it from the street so I don't care as much.

bacchi

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Re: I知 wussypants and scared to take care of lawn
« Reply #2 on: February 08, 2018, 10:55:43 PM »
Is the property in an HOA?

If not, fuck it. Concentrate on a small part of the yard that you want to maintain and fuck the rest. Plant some xeriscape plants and grasses and let it go native.

JLee

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Re: I知 wussypants and scared to take care of lawn
« Reply #3 on: February 08, 2018, 11:33:13 PM »
Is the property in an HOA?

If not, fuck it. Concentrate on a small part of the yard that you want to maintain and fuck the rest. Plant some xeriscape plants and grasses and let it go native.

Gotta be careful with that, as I found when I was out of the country for a few months - my roommates didn't mow the grass and I ended up getting fined by the city.

SlowMustachian

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Re: I知 wussypants and scared to take care of lawn
« Reply #4 on: February 09, 2018, 11:42:20 AM »
Thank you Sibley so much for taking the time to post that, EXTREMELY helpful.

And lol yes there is an HOA :)

GuitarStv

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Re: I知 wussypants and scared to take care of lawn
« Reply #5 on: February 09, 2018, 11:46:17 AM »
I'd figure out what the minimum requirements are from the HOA, and then do the bare minimum to meet them.

Fishindude

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Re: I知 wussypants and scared to take care of lawn
« Reply #6 on: February 09, 2018, 11:50:31 AM »
If you are going to take care of it yourself, I'd consider taking the sprinkler out of service all together.
I've got one at my lake home, the dang thing is on a timer so runs when it's raining, etc.   Yard looks nice all the time, but neighbors yards do too, and they don't have sprinklers.

Prairie Stash

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Re: I知 wussypants and scared to take care of lawn
« Reply #7 on: February 09, 2018, 11:55:24 AM »
I'll try to punch you in the wussy spot. You know you can hire them again if this is a flop? Its not like your're going to pour gasoline over everything and destroy it.

What's the big deal about trying it for 2 months and see what happens? Its grass, it grows back. After a year or two if there's part you can't do, hire those parts out. Maybe you pay $50/year for fertilizer and do everything else.

Yard Care is a la carte, right now you're paying for the entire Menu.

Sun Hat

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Re: I知 wussypants and scared to take care of lawn
« Reply #8 on: February 09, 2018, 12:09:15 PM »
With that much area to do, your choice of mowers is going to make a big difference in the amount of time and effort it takes to mow.  I've owned two electric mowers and have found that they are narrower (so more passes per unit of area) and lack the stamina to do a yard as big as yours, so you may have to go with gas. Riding mowers have the widest base, but also are the most expensive. Of the walk-behind models, consider the width and definitely go for something self-propelled so that you aren't pushing the mower. I currently have a very small yard and a reel push mower, and I wouldn't want to do more than my little postage-stamp sized yard with it (I converted most of the yard into garden beds).

I will second the suggestion for a mulching mower. Not only does it cut the grass short enough that the remnants feed the grass and shade the soil, but it makes it very easy to dispose of leaves in the fall. Keep those mulched leaves to use on garden beds or to give a gardener.

Grass is remarkably hardy and needs little care to live. I'm lazy with edging where my grass meets concrete, so I don't do it the manual way. I use a weed-wacker (garden edger) and turn it so that the trimming cord is nearly vertical, and it hacks the grass back to the edge of the concrete nicely.

When mowing, don't succumb to the temptation to cut too short. Leaving the blades a few inches long allows them to shade the soil and doesn't stress the blade, so you get healthier looking grass and soil that retains moisture better (so that you don't have to water).

You don't need to aerate every year, every 3-5 years is plenty. In your first few years of DIY yard maintenance, take note of whether anyone comes by door to door offering aerating services. I find that intrepid young people/lawn companies seem to rent a machine and go around residential neighborhoods aerating lawns. When I had a big yard, I worked it out to be a few dollars more than renting a machine for myself, and far less hassle.

At both my current and last home, I weeded a lot for the first two years, and then the work dropped off significantly, as the regrowth and re-seeding got under control. I find it to be a pleasant activity for late spring evenings to go into my yard with a knife and bucket to cut out dandelions. My neighbors opt for poison, but my method is more effective and better for the groundwater.

SlowMustachian

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Re: I知 wussypants and scared to take care of lawn
« Reply #9 on: February 09, 2018, 02:22:08 PM »
Thank you all, very helpful

KG28282

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Re: I知 wussypants and scared to take care of lawn
« Reply #10 on: February 10, 2018, 10:32:45 AM »
Is the property in an HOA?

If not, fuck it. Concentrate on a small part of the yard that you want to maintain and fuck the rest. Plant some xeriscape plants and grasses and let it go native.

Be careful with this. My yard is native and I let it go for a year. When it eventually got cut, all the rats that had taken up residence in the grass scattered and a few ended up the crawl space under my house. Them gnawing on things under there  and having to trap them was not fun.

bacchi

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Re: I知 wussypants and scared to take care of lawn
« Reply #11 on: February 10, 2018, 08:42:20 PM »
Is the property in an HOA?

If not, fuck it. Concentrate on a small part of the yard that you want to maintain and fuck the rest. Plant some xeriscape plants and grasses and let it go native.

Be careful with this. My yard is native and I let it go for a year. When it eventually got cut, all the rats that had taken up residence in the grass scattered and a few ended up the crawl space under my house. Them gnawing on things under there  and having to trap them was not fun.

That's what cats are for. :-) Then, when the cats get out of control, bring in the baboons. When the baboons....