Daily Archives: April 16, 2012

Project: Grassy Backyard

Chip and I enjoy spending time outside together, and we’ve spent many afternoons in our backyard envisioning a lawn of green grass… but this definitely isn’t what we had up until two weeks ago. When we moved in about a year ago, the backyard had been neglected for some time. We saw some patches of St. Augustine grass, but overall, there was a lot of dirt. And a lot of weeds. But again, we didn’t want to put time or money into the yard last summer thanks to that crazy drought. So this is what our yard looked like a few weeks ago:

Not exactly a lush backyard...

Dirt in front of our shed...

With spring upon us, Chip and I were more than ready for for some green grass! Not only would grass look so much better than this dirt/grass/weed medley we had going on, we were excited for some great grass so we could spend more time outside with friends. I was also very excited to have the dogs bringing in less dirt and dirtying our floors… try as I might, those two just can’t learn to clean up after themselves! :) Anyway, Chip and I knew that we had a small window of time to get this grass planted. As one guy told us at one of the nurseries here in town, if we didn’t plant by the end of the month there would really be no reason to try to have grass this year and we would be better off waiting until next year to give this another shot.So we spent time at different nurseries and a Saturday morning at Milberger’s feeling all the different grasses we could try to grow in our backyard. In the end, we went with the Texas standard St. Augustine grass.

One obstacle we had to deal with before even laying down grass was leveling our yard. Prior to a few weeks ago, the yard actually sloped toward the house, which means all the water would drain by our porch. Not good. Not only was this shifting our foundation a bit, it meant lots of muddy paw-prints in our house. So for foundation reasons and for my sanity, we had to get this addressed. Chip did a lot of research and found a company that came out and did a great job addressing this leveling issue. And since Chip and I have never planted grass and would need lots of manpower to install all the pallets of grass ourselves, we had the same people that leveled the yard install the grass themselves. While this was something we had been planning and looking forward to doing ourselves, we were worried about several things:

1. Our yard requires a lot of pallets of grass, so we would be making multiple trips to the nursery to get this done, which means a line item of gas for Chip’s truck in our grass budget sheet.

2. Time: With Chip needing to allocate as much time as possible to studying, it was hard to justify setting aside a few weekends to get this project done ourselves. It just didn’t seem like a good use of this resource.

3. We have minimal to absolutely no expertise or knowledge on grass. We were so worried that we would be spending all this time and money laying down the grass all in the end of doing it incorrectly.

So in the end, even though it took a good chunk of our tax return, we are so glad we had our grass professionally done. All it left to us was making sure we adequately watered the grass to help the roots really get settled in. We also had to keep the dogs off the grass as much as possible for a good two weeks, which was fun to figure out. For the first few days, we kept them in the empty enclosed garage while we were at work. Luckily this grass project overlapped with getting a small fence built for my garden area, so once that was done we were able to keep the dogs in this space while the grass took root.

Day 1 of leveling the yard

We had two of these cement blocks in our yard from old drying lines... they were a couple of feet deep and a pain to get rid of. Chip got one of them out a couple of months ago and the guys did the second.

The cement block Chip dug out

Wrigley likes helping Chip in the yard

Wrigley checking out the second hole from the cement block.

Leveled backyard!

Backyard ready for grass!

Now that we have grass and are watering a lot more, we realized we needed to seal and stain our fence to help it last longer. So a couple of weekends ago, we got started on this! We still have another probably 2/3 of fence to go, but I’m hoping we get this done within the next week or so. We also want to figure out some lighting for the yard so we can be out there at night and may put in more seating (we’re thinking some type of porch swing along the fence that’s already stained). And of course, we still have my garden to get planting… hopefully we’ll get that done this weekend! :)

Grass taking root!


Staining away!

Awesome garden fence! Why the chairs, you ask? Because of sneaky Wrigley, who would climb the windowsill there by the fence and hop over on to the grass...

The dogs are happy with the grass