The Grass Is Greener

…in the backyard.  Whereas before, it was a mix of dirt and weeds that left me feeling blue and the kids, well, brown.  I know, kids and dirt.  They go together like peas in a pea pod and I’m a farm girl, I should know that.  Right.  But I also know that trying to keep the dirt from infiltrating the home by capturing said kids before they traipse inside all while juggling a sweet little angel but very needy babe is not my idea of a good time.

So that’s one reason we laid grass in our back yard last weekend – so that we could let the kids roam free, graze, skip, jump, and holler without hollering ourselves to “please stop digging in the dirt!”  The other reason is one I’ll dive into in another post but for now, some befores.

I took these pictures back in February, I think, when spring was around the corner but not quite here.



This was the state of the area to the side of the screened-in patio:
Our original intention was to make and lay some large pavers out of concrete, separated by moss “grout” and at the very last minute, we changed our minds due to a time constraint.  But, the idea still peeks our interest and we definitely want to make those pavers someday.  They would’ve been even cheaper than what we did lay down – pebbles.  Here’s that little patio in progress:IMG_4518That big barrel on the corner of the house is a rain barrel.  We bought it off Amazon almost two years ago and have loved having it.  There’s a spot on top where you can plant some flowers or whatever green you like but we haven’t gotten that far although, we do love that it’s semi-decorative and doesn’t just look like a plain ‘ole barrel.  I use that H2O to water all of our indoor and outdoor plants.  It’s great because, duh, it’s free and also because it’s pure rain water so it’s not tainted with chlorine.

Back to the grass…I’m not going to tippity-type up a whole ‘How to Lay Sod’ tutorial for you because the DIY Network has one that is incredible.  We followed their instructions word-for-word and a week later, our grass is shooting up.  Just a few things about sod.  You might be wondering why we opted for sod vs. seeding (like we did in the back yard of our first house), especially since seeding costs a fraction of the price.  Well, for one, we had to go with St. Augustine grass because of the amount of shade in our yard and *womp womp*, you can’t buy St. Augustine seed.  Supposedly it’s really hard to separate the seed from the grass and so it’s just not done.  We originally wanted to buy Zoysia grass but that sod is sold out here until at least the middle of summer, when we *might* be able to find some.  Two, our backyard slopes and our rains are big and heavy so the chances of seed being washed down our little hill the day after planting are pretty great.  And three, time is not on our side and so an instant lawn it is.

We prepped the lawn last Friday in order to lay grass Saturday.  We were going to wait another week but the forecast this past week looked perfect as far as free irrigation was concerned.IMG_4671
Here’s what our lawn looked like Friday morning before we started all of the prep work and by “we” I mean Anthony, since he did 90% of the prep.  I helped him load and unload the tiller (times two) and pulled some roots but that’s about it.IMG_4601
And this is a photo I took of it, thriving, yesterday:FullSizeRender (8)
Before prep:IMG_4603
After laying the sod:IMG_4669
Anthony built those rock beds last year and they’ve been dying for some complimentary grass.  We laid rock because Anthony had to put in a french drain system.  It runs right underneath the rocks, all the way to the side of the house.  We had water issues after we put on the screened-in patio – basically all the water that was coming off the roof and down the slight hill in the back was congregating and flooding the far edge of the screened-in patio.  The drain system alleviates that issue.  IMG_4670He also whipped out that brick work using bricks we found half buried in the back yard.  The guy is good.  All the thanks and credit goes to his time spent with Professional Lawn & Landscape in college.  If you’re in Ohio, Phil runs a great company and they make thee best and most beautiful land and hardscapes.  Check them out!  :)

This is what the yard looked like post-tilling and liming:IMG_4606(I snapped the above photo through the screen…sorry it looks funky.)

We sent in a few small samples of soil to be tested about a month ago (we sent ours to Auburn’s soil testing lab…testing locations vary by state) and the results we received back said that our soil was very acidic, meaning we needed to add limestone.  So, we poured the amount of lime the soil lab recommended on while we tilled to help it really infiltrate the soil.  Let me tell you about the tiller though.  We paid for a four-hour rental from Home Depot (that was the minimum amount of time you could have it) and Anthony picked up and brought back the tiller with our van.  We took all the car seats out, laid down the back seats, and that monster barely fit.  Yes monster.  I think it weighed a ton and really, I’m only mildly exaggerating.  You should have seen Anthony and I get it out of and back into the van.  It was one part comical and two parts ridiculous.  The fantasic thing though was, when we got ‘er out of the van, it would not start.  We had to reload it and rent another tiller from another local rental place,  forcing us to relive the whole loading and unloading nightmare.  Seriously, there was a moment in time where I just thought, “We are never going to get this thing back inside the van…we’re just going to have to pay for it”.  Thinking smile  Anyway…

I digress.

Saturday afternoon, bright and hot, the four pallets of grass we ordered were delivered and set into our backyard.  I took a quick pic of one in my excitement:IMG_4663
Anthony and I spent the majority of the afternoon laying sod, just the two of us.  Date day!  The kids switched between watching from the screened-in patio, napping, and movies for all those hours.  I have to give them the credit they don’t even understand.  They were so good while Mom and Pops plugged away outside.

Maybe the the thought of skipping and jumping through the lushness kept them happy or maybe they didn’t have any other choice but either way, WE HAVE GRASS!!!IMG_4665

Let’s talk moolah.  Like I said above, sodding costs a good chunk more than just seeding.  To prep and sod our entire backyard (minus a few landscaping beds we’ve got going on), we spent almost $1000.  That also includes the rental fees for the tiller and sod roller – about $75.  It still makes me woozy just thinking about it.  It was definitely an “investment” and a risky one at that – it could die if not tended.  Now you can understand why we were so adamant about getting in laid before the rain came this week.  We didn’t want to spend more money paying to water it and let me tell you, it has to be watered VERY well the first week.  There’s no way we are going to let it die on us, a.k.a throw $$$ down the throne, so it’s getting ALL the water and ALL the care.  Basically, we just had another kid.  Happy Birthday Augustine.  



We're supposed to stay off of it for a couple of weeks as the roots sink into the existing soil so we’ve just been babying it and watching it grow, waiting for the day we can romp.  Personally, I can’t wait to cut it with our reel mower for the first time.  It’ll be like cutting through butta and I love me some butta.

Speaking of, I’ve got some peanut butta ice cream calling my name now that the kids are all on their way to dreamland so I’m out.  I’ll keep you updated on the grass and the progress on the little side patio.  I can’t wait to decorate!  :)

Happy weekend!

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  1. It looks soooo wonderful!! I can't wait for our seed to be (hopefully) as pretty as your sod is. I had to spray all of the weeds that are growing right along with our grass today... ugh. Our neighborhood put sod in our median about the same time as we seeded, and we've been caring for both seed and sod for the past couple months. Haha! It DOES have to be watered a ton! We've been rotating the sod care with our neighbors. I am also so curious about your french drain. I think we need one... :(

    1. Oh I'm sure it'll be awesome! SO worth the wait...and the money saved!!! :)
      I wish I had more to tell about the french drain! I know it's a fairly simple DIY. Dig a long, narrow trench, big enough to fit the pipe, cover the pipe in mesh (made for the pipe), lay it in, fill in the trench. Sometimes you have to have a well at the end of the pipe that needs to be pumped out but we didn't have to go that far. Ours empties down the slight hill in our front yard. I bet there's a much better explanation somewhere on the www. :)

  2. It looks AMAZING!!! Congrats and enjoy! We brought soil in to level our yard then did seed, but the process is long and arduous and on the first round we grew weeds, not grass. It was almost impossible to keep the kids off the seeded soil and the watering process is almost non stop. Sod is definitely the way to go for instant gratification! Great job 😊😊😊

    1. Thanks Kathleen! Oh man! We did the same at our first house - leveled and seeded - and I remember how arduous it was and that was before we had kids! I can't imagine keeping the kids away from the back yard with seed! Are you on your second round? Is it turning out better?

  3. Looks amazing! What a difference. Love it.

    1. Yes, as far as eyes AND feet (and little digging hands) are concerned! ;) Thanks Mandolyn!