Monday, May 26, 2014

Starter yard progress!

Hey everyone! I just wanted to share our progress with the yard so far. It's not perfect, but we have done a hell of a job so far. We have been given compliments by our PM, the current sales rep and many neighbors so I thought it would be nice to share what we did to hopefully help others! I'm not gonna lie to ya, it's A LOT of work. We spend about 2 hours a day tending to it, but let me tell ya, if you work out, you can skip the gym! So please don't for a minute think what RH does is a done deal, it's ongoing!

So first off, we live in the NE United States (OK, OK, I don't mean to be insulting, our blog name kinda gives it away, but I'm trying to be thorough here) and our development was built on former farm land. So deep down the soil isn't bad (we discovered this by digging for the trees). But on top and the fill, oh VEY! It's crap dirt, if you can call it that. So when we did our flower beds, we took out almost EVERYTHING and put top soil in.

They came out and hand seeded the week after we closed- so the last week of April. They put down the straw mats on the sides of the house and then just loose straw in the front and back. If they haven't done your yard yet, INSIST on the straw mats. You'll see in the following pics the sides are much more established. Also make sure they don't put down too much straw underneath the mats, the places where we have bare spots is where they put straw underneath the mats then the mats right on top- the grass does need a little breathing room. So the following weekend we went out and did the first round of re-seeding. We did it right over the mats and straw, the second you water, it sinks into the ground. We went with Pennington. Just from our research, it had the best reviews. We used the North East blend starter mix. So it came with seed and starter fertilizer. Key word here is starter fertilizer! One of the neighbors didn't think there would be a different between this and regular ol fertilizer and they paid the price! Then about two weeks later (last weekend) the sides were kickin ass and taking names, so we pulled up the mats on the side, used one of those hand cultivators in the bare spots in the front, re-seeded the front (this time with Penn State blend) and put the mats on most of the front. If they would have put mats down all over to begin with, we would be doing a lot better at this point. Didn't know so I didn't ask, so I hope someone can learn from my mistake!

Daily we water, unless there is a good rain. As it's gotten warmer over the last week and in the upcoming weeks I'm sure, some days twice. The key is about a half an inch depth gets a good drink. Too much water is bad too! (Ah, so many rules!) NEVER water in the middle of the day, most of it will evaporate and then start to burn stuff up as it gets warmer. So we are out there between 6-7am then again around 7pm (if needed). We have a whole system going- where the sprinklers go, what areas get a little more cuz it's under more sun and how long. From our experience, the places that get more sun and get bone dry in the front are the areas that aren't growing (my fault cuz the first two weeks they didn't get enough water, lesson learned). We are out there every day pulling weeds and digging up rocks, I mean boulders! They had hay that wasn't de-seeded before they graded our yard to prevent eroding and we are paying the price for that- it's definitely seeding out there. The straw they used was actually pretty decent, not many seeds in it.

It's been a learning process, that's for sure. I wish I knew on day one what I know now! And hell, we may be doing the complete WRONG thing, but it's working for us and our region! I hope the pics can be seen OK, I took these pretty early this morning and the sun is a shining!

Front on the left hand side
Left side yard
Left side yard again, this time I'm in the back looking towards the front
Left side looking into the back- our pile of extra straw in case we need it!
Kinda in the middle of the back, now looking towards the right side. There's my magnolia! She will be an amazing neighbor blocker one day! And the house doesn't sit right on the woods/trees, we were so happy about this!
Right side of yard from the back (for reference, that is the magnolia again)
Right side, this time looking from the front. Love our big side yard- plenty of room to fence in one day. The right of the pic is a pussy willow (My mom had one on the side of the house when I was a little girl, who knew that things like that would one day mean so much?!) Those patches- where they hand laid the straw THEN put the straw mats on it, it was just too much
From right hand side (actually standing in neighbors driveway- you can see on the bottom of the pic he didn't do much with his lawn and it is seriously just weeds). You can kinda see the Red Bud we planted in this one, he's a little guy, for now!
Front again
And now from the front right corner- again can see neighbors weeds on the bottom
And this is a view from the deck, it greened up nicely. You can see a few of the bird feeders in the trees and we have two hummingbirds as well that come to their feeder! See all those vines? I'm gonna make em my bitch :) You can kinda see where we have started hacking. If we can't get the vines off, we will have to have the tree taken out, they are just strangling the poor fella. I think we can save it if we get em off soon.

So again, is it perfect? Not even slightly, especially the front where we didn't get mats, grrrrr!! I can say where there are patches, grass is coming in, so I'm excited to see what the upcoming weeks bring us! I honestly don't count what RH did, since we had a monsoon the day after. So I count from when we started seeding and that was about 3 weeks ago. Not too shabby. As I keep learning, I will keep sharing!


  1. Chrissie, great job! Starting a yard from scratch is no easy task. This is one of the things i've been researching as we wait for our home to be built, great info here, thanks.

  2. Wow, grass is looking good sofar. Ya'll have done well!