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!
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!