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Friday, September 18, 2015

The Yardwork

Summary:  5 weeks ago, I had 2 large trees removed.  All the equipment tore up the front and side lawns.  But I was planning excavation and lawn-raising work any a few days later, so I wasn't worried.  That contractor begged off and I had to find another (who was booked for 2 weeks and would only do half the job).  Before the 2nd guy could come out, the 1st one called and said they had a schedule change and were available for the whole job the next morning if I was still interested.  I had them do the jobs.  The work went beautifully, but of course all the equipment compacted the added soil in front, so I needed to rototill and level it.  I got that done after several days work.

I know return to the story in progress...
The first priority was to plant grass seed on the raised front lawn.  Because of all the rototilling, it took a LOT of raking to smooth it all.  Plus I wanted loose soil to lightly cover the grass seed after spreading it around.  One, it helps the grass stay in place; two, it keeps the grass seeds germinate; three, it hides the seeds from the hungry birds.

Second was to start watering the seeded lawn.  You can't just set up a lawn sprinkler, the big drops of water land too hard and the heavy watering floats the grass seeds into uneven puddles.  I had to water gently by hand.  The first time went REAL slow.  My showerhead wand puts out nice small drops but not much water at a time.  And I had to walk on the seeded area to reach the farthest parts.  It took 2 hours for just 2,000 square feet!  And the experts recommend you water twice a day for the first week.

The next day, I used a fan sprayer.  Wow, I did not realize how much more water that one sends out!   And with so many small holes in the fan, it falls gently.  AND reaches to the farthest spots without me standing on the seeds.  I've done that twice a day since Tuesday.  And as a test, I planted some grass seeds in a pot indoors to see when the grass would sprout in perfect conditions...

Third, I set my sight on the backyard where the ridge was removed.  That area has better soil (well, softer at least).  But it is lousy with gravel and small stones (to baseball size).  First, I rototilled it.  More stones and gravel...  Then I tried raking them out.  That was like trying a sweep a dirt road clean!  After I moved 4 wheelbarrow loads of that behind the toolshed, I realized I could fill a pickup truck and not make much difference.  So the surface will stay gravelly.

Fortunately, most of the backyard bare area (about 3,500 square feet - really, it's 70x50') is going to become a flower meadow.  I have coneflowers, lysimachia, goldenrod, and black-eyed susans to transplant there.  I have a dwarf (3') butterfly bush to take cuttings from and multiply and a dwarf rose (Knock Out) for the same multiplying.  In between them, I'll spread perennial wildflowers and leave a curvy path through the middle.

But I've gotten ahead of myself.  Rototilling the back area left deep furrows.  And with all the gravel and stones, I didn't want to have to rake the whole area smooth by hand.  So I stood on the deck staring at the furrowed soil and thought for a bit (with a beer for inspiration).  And I had an interesting idea...

Tomorrow, "A Solution"...


Katie Isabella said...

Man, if we were in the same town, after your work was done I would ask you advice on mine!

Megan said...

Oooh - you have piqued my interest.

Sydney, Australia