Ok, you’ve asked for it on Instagram, so here I (Mike) am with a birthday (happy 33rd to me) update on a project I’ve been working on for the past 15 months.
I intentionally split up this project into 2 phases for sanity’s sake because planning a wedding and actually trying to get anything else done can be quite challenging.
Phase 1 (2017)
- Remove dirt from the side of the house to place as 2-3” of topsoil under the tree
- Clear out the former flowerbed next to the house & heavily shaded side next to the fence
- Clear out the front tree, removing rocks & other accumulated debris
Phase 2 (2018)
- Use an obscene amount of Glyphosate (Roundup) & Preen to kill off all the weeds in the back of the backyard
- Clear out the dozen or so dead stumps, trees & brush
- Use a rototiller to disrupt any remaining roots, loosen up the topsoil, and provide as ideal of grass-growing conditions as possible
After completing the above…
- Distribute grass seed & fertilizer
- Water, weed & feed, reseed where needed, repeat
- Hope for the best
After clearing the existing messes in each of these areas (more on that in a later post), I was ready for the first round of seed last spring. Speaking of, remember when we had a season in Ohio known as spring? It seems as if we went straight from winter to summer this year. Anyways, here’s some chronological photos from phase 1:
This particular spot (above) was my first priority, as it would turn into a muddy pond every time it rained.
Next up were a couple of edges that not only had full shade but also visible tree roots to contend with. I purchased specific dense shade grass seed for these areas.
As far as the front tree is concerned, I’d been desiring a bit of consistency with the rest of the yard.
Moving on to the far back, this area has long been a pain point that has held up nearly every other landscaping goal as we work to “redeem Hampton.” At one point in its glory day, I’m told it was a beautiful garden, but those days are unfortunately long behind us at this point.
A friend of ours graciously offered to use his tractor, which saved us a ton of time, investment & effort and gave us a beautiful 6” till of what felt like carpeting. Due to working a full-time job along with freelance work, yada yada yada, it took me a few days to complete seeding & fertilizing (follow those links to see the specific products I used), but we began seeing results quickly (within a week) and it’s been doing pretty well ever since, albeit with a setback or two.
I had to address a few different places after Kristin identified an invasive invader (say that 10x fast) in our midst known as Johnson grass. After proceeding to tear up & reseed those areas, we’re in pretty good shape and hope to fill in the patches & continue keeping the ever-present weeds at bay as much as we can. All in all, I can’t complain for this project costing less than $100 (besides the many hours of manual labor).
- Weed control (“I fought the ground and the ground won”) & keeping the Johnson grass away
- Roots from trees, heavily shaded areas, patches
- Trying to not be too picky about having multiple shades of green grass
Additional Tools I Used
- Kobalt Long-Handle Fiberglass Digging Shovel
- True Temper 54-in Wood-Handle Garden Hoe
- True Temper 51-in L Wood-Handle Steel Garden Rake
- True Temper 6-cu ft Steel Wheelbarrow
We’re far from “arriving” (and let’s be honest – will we ever) at this point, but I’m happy with the progress we’ve made thus far within the short time that we’ve owned our home. Most likely, we’ll have a tree removed within the next couple of weeks that’ll set us back with the Great Grass Growing Project as well as financially, but we’re beginning to look at the long-term view and what we can invest in now to create a better future. Redeeming Hampton is a journey; a process – more of a marathon than a sprint.
Have you delved into a similar undertaking recently? I’d love to hear about it! Share your experience with us in the comments.