Author Topic: Mustachian lawn care?  (Read 6220 times)

Praxis

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Mustachian lawn care?
« on: July 18, 2012, 01:21:18 PM »
I know y'all will hate me for this, but I tend to be the "more money than time" type.  I'm working a professional job and putting away as much of my income as I can, and also trying to start a side real estate empire which essentially amounts to a side business- I feel like I'm working two jobs.  I also feel like I suck at being Mustachian, but I'm rapidly improving.  Started biking to work last week! Cook a lot more at home, negotiated down internet to $35 for 40 mbps fiber, got work to comp my cell, cut cable.

Anyway, my yard is an ugly disaster.  Tons of patchy spots and parts of it are more weeds than grass.  I've got a guy down the road who will cut it for only a few bucks, so I occasionally call him up to cut it.  Here's a photo from last time:

Example

It's actually gotten significantly worse than this since, because it's been so hot and the green is wilting away.

Last year, I was watering it, but I just got a ton of weeds.  Weedkiller is spendy, but I want to get this yard to look better.  What can I do, frugally, to kill the weeds and get the grass growing back in?


(I'm also strongly considering selling my house and moving in to a small apartment.  While buying a larger house as a foreclosure and fixing it up and getting a roommate in that covers my mortgage and then some made financial sense, I'm spending a lot of money in regular upkeep, including a monthly exterminator visit because I had a mouse problem and a monthly cleaner- which, I know, you guys hate me for already, but it's so hard to keep up with the size of the house and my roommate contributes a lot to the shared living areas getting filthy fast. Plus the electric and utilities bill are way higher than I expected in the roommate scenario, and I live in the ghetto and am always worried about the druggie neighbors.  Either way, a nice lawn will help it sell.)

arebelspy

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Re: Mustachian lawn care?
« Reply #1 on: July 18, 2012, 01:35:17 PM »
Last year, I was watering it, but I just got a ton of weeds.  Weedkiller is spendy, but I want to get this yard to look better.  What can I do, frugally, to kill the weeds and get the grass growing back in?


Google homemade weed killer and make your own.

IIRC.. boiling water?
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tooqk4u22

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Re: Mustachian lawn care?
« Reply #2 on: July 18, 2012, 01:54:32 PM »
Well lets see, my grass is brown and I have only cut it three times this year.  Sounds like I win on the time and money front, but lose on the curb appeal front.  I can live with that.

If you water it then you have to cut it more.

Another Reader

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Re: Mustachian lawn care?
« Reply #3 on: July 18, 2012, 02:06:29 PM »
Why on earth are you living in the ghetto? 

Sell this one to a landlord that likes these neighborhoods and rent or buy in a better area.  Since maintenance isn't your thing, why not rent for awhile and focus on your business?

igthebold

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Re: Mustachian lawn care?
« Reply #4 on: July 18, 2012, 02:17:37 PM »
Disclaimer: I dislike grass farming, and dislike the suburban pressure surrounding it.

That said, recalling my previous attempts at caring more:
- the best way to keep weeds at bay is to have healthy grass
- the best way to have healthy grass is to have healthy soil
- most suburban neighborhoods are formed by scraping all the healthy soil away before building the house
- leaving you stuck with fake farming methods like petrochemical fertilizers (Miracle Gro) and lots of water
- and killing weeds actively, rather than by choking them out with the Suburban Dream (healthy grass)

So it's an uphill battle to begin with. :(

When I sold a previous house, I just paid $300 the fall before the house went on the market to aerate, seed, weed-kill, and fertilize. It was one or two treatments, and I think he was selling a loss-leader to entice a subscription care service. You might look for that.

You can also do a ton of research and overhaul your lawn yourself. You might have friends with core aerators (the only useful kind), or you can walk around with one of these.

Weed killing is funny, since you want to kill everything but the grass. If you have no grass, then, well, that's a different problem. It boils down to:
1. Killing broad leaf weeds with something like 2,4-d
2. Spraying a pre-emergent herbicide (inhibits germination) in early spring to prevent crabgrass

Since you have more money than time, and since you're considering selling it, you might try the lawn service as an investment in the sale. Probably worth more in value than anything you spend inside the house. With those short-term fertilizers they should be able to get enough green out of your grass to make it pretty and sellable. Expect to mow and water, though. :P

Praxis

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Re: Mustachian lawn care?
« Reply #5 on: July 18, 2012, 06:33:41 PM »
Why on earth are you living in the ghetto? 

I was able to buy the house for very cheap and fix it up.  I've got a bunch of equity (I originally wasn't going crazy with real estate like I am now so it seemed like a good use for the money) and my mortgage/insurance/taxes/interest is ~$280.  I rent a room for $350.  But the electricity/utilities/maintenance end up more than that.

Quote
Sell this one to a landlord that likes these neighborhoods and rent or buy in a better area.  Since maintenance isn't your thing, why not rent for awhile and focus on your business?

That's what I'm thinking now.  Either way, need a good lawn, to help sell.

crazypooljunkie

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Re: Mustachian lawn care?
« Reply #6 on: July 18, 2012, 10:14:43 PM »
That lawn is in bad shape. Honestly, I would do nothing until Summer gives way until fall...particularly if you're like me and in an area classified as under severe drought conditions. Most anything you do will require water, which means you would have to water. If you don't water what grass you have will most likely be fine - though you may want to double check what kind you have.

If you decide that you are going to water, do it only once every three or four days - but make sure it gets a good soaking. This will help the roots grow deeper and make it more drought resistant. Also, more frequent watering encourages seed germination, which means more weeds. When you water you should do it early in the morning or later in the evening - prevents evaporation of the water.

When you mow either you use a reel mower or less ideally a mulching rotary mower. Reel mowers don't need gas, last longer than rotary mowers, don't produce noise pollution and produce healthier grass - although it could be pretty rough going on your lawn...I'm not sure.

Fertilizer does help green up and thicken your lawn, oftentimes it has weed preventer mixed in. Fertilizer does require require watering soon after...best to apply when expecting rain otherwise you'll need to water to prevent your lawn from burning up.

You'll want to overseed at the end of summer/start of fall. Before you do this, aerate your lawn and possibly apply fertilizer...you should double check this. After seeding, you'll want avoid mowing for a little bit and you want give frequent waterings to get the grass seed to germinate.

Of course that is how you're "supposed" to take care of a lawn. Keeping a perfectly green, thick, lustrous lawn isn't necessarily an endeavor for the frugal minded. Most of these tips/rules can be found at http://urbanext.illinois.edu/lawntalk/planting/lawn_repair_and_renovation.cfm

The real take-aways here as far as Mustachianism goes...
  • Don't water in the summer - just let it go dormant
  • Use a reel mower
  • If you're going to go all out, follow the proper timings and steps so that you're not throwing away money

dancedancekj

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Re: Mustachian lawn care?
« Reply #7 on: July 19, 2012, 09:11:50 AM »
I hate grass farming as well. I say just mulch over it and add a few choice perennials, but that's probably not the look you're going for...

grantmeaname

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Re: Mustachian lawn care?
« Reply #8 on: July 19, 2012, 09:31:29 AM »
Even if it is, it's really unlikely it's the answer the next owners will be after. Homebuyers love their grass farming.

vwDavid

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Re: Mustachian lawn care?
« Reply #9 on: July 19, 2012, 09:33:25 AM »

kisserofsinners

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Re: Mustachian lawn care?
« Reply #10 on: July 19, 2012, 02:00:32 PM »
A popular option around here is making it a meadow using native plants that requires less watering and no mowing...

http://veggierevolution.blogspot.com/2006/06/how-to-convert-lawn-to-native-meadow.html

happy

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Re: Mustachian lawn care?
« Reply #11 on: July 22, 2012, 08:06:10 AM »
Lush green lawns need frequent maintenance - if you leave it longer, and water then you will need to cut more often. If the soil is poor quality/shallow/compacted/poorly drained and the lawn is crap then it may be easier  and quicker to remove the lawn, lay some good soil and put down new turf.  If the soil is good then regular attention will make all the difference.

All the above websites advice are good,  but it needs regular attention. If you are selling start the maintenance a couple of months in advance, you can't do it in a week or two.

Given how busy you are, you may need to get a lawn man to do it for you.

totoro

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Re: Mustachian lawn care?
« Reply #12 on: July 22, 2012, 10:50:27 AM »
Our lawn looked like yours and it looks great now.  Here is what we did in the spring.

1.  Got a weedpuller and tried to pull all the weeds using that.  It did not work - the weeds came back stronger than ever.
2.  Aereated the lawn.
3.  Sprayed broad leaf weed-killer once.
4.  Mowed the lawn short.
5.  Spread some good dirt in all the patchy places.
6.  Spread lawn seed coated with a fertilizer rather thickly on top.
7.  Set up a sprinkler on an automatic timer daily - required for growing from seed.
8.  Let the grass grow up.
9.  Mowed.
10. Added more grass/dirt seed where still patchy and repeated.
11.  Reduced watering but kept on a timer.

You could do this in the fall too.  It works.