Susan Homemaker v. 2.0: Lawn Makeover

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This is part one of a multi-part series.

I’ve never lived in a house before (other than the one I grew up in) so typical home maintenance tasks are alien to me. In fact, up until recently, my definition of “outdoor living” meant sitting out on the patio of a tex-mex restaurant in an urban neighborhood with a margarita in my hand.

But of course as fate would have it, not only do I fall in love with a man who lives in a cute little house, but said cute little house comes with a really large yard.

So I’ve embraced this new life of mine. I’ve seen its potential and I’ve accepted the challenge. I’m going to take this domesticity thing a step further with a series of posts called Susan Homemaker v. 2.0 (“Suzy” just sounds so juvenile and unsophisticated). I’m going to work on putting some life back into this neglected little home, using brains, a feminine touch, and a little tech know-how, one project at a time beginning with the front lawn.

Here’s what I’m starting with.

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We have a corner lot in a cul de sac off a busy two way street. As you can see, our grass has seen better days. It’s really patchy and uneven, especially underneath the large tree in the corner. It’s bare in a lot of areas, and if it’s not bare, then weeds have taken over those spots. Seriously, one would think we were intentionally trying to grow a gardens of weeds. And also I hate the railroad tie landscape edging, but I feel like that’s another project that we’ll have to tackle at another time.

So as things stand right now:

  1. We have about as many weeds as we have grass. Mostly dandelion, purselane, crabgrass, and some other unidentifiable non-grass types.
  2. The soil health is unknown. We’ll need to test the nutrient deficiency to understand what it’s lacking.
  3. It’s desperate for some TLC.

Stage One: Cleanup And Preparing for Winter

Because we’re heading into late fall, time is quickly running out before grass becomes dormant. So according to all the research that I’ve done, right now is a good time to feed the existing grass and clean up the lawn by removing the thatch, leaves, and debris.

Once the lawn has been cleaned up, we have to get rid of as many weeds as possible whether it be through mass herbicide or good ol’ weed pulling.

Last weekend I used a lawn treatment weed killer specifically to kill crabgrass and other weeds. Within two days, there were patches of brown crabgrass in the yard, and then a few days later, I saw several patches of purselane had begun to turn yellow. So it seemed like it was starting to do its job.

Bare patches, yellowing weeds, holes from where dandelions were pulled. Just a sad state!

Bare patches, yellowing weeds, holes from where dandelions were pulled. Just a sad state!

I knew we were going to get some good rain Thursday. I had hoped I would get home early enough on Wednesday to finish pulling out the weed carcasses from the ground and lay down the fertilizer, but unfortunately I was overwhelmed by the amount of dandelions that I ran out of sunlight before I could finish pulling all of them. Since starting this project, I’ve pulled almost 2 full buckets of weeds!

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This was only halfway through. I didn’t even take a photo of it when it was completely full.

Upcoming Weekend Project: Feeding the Grass

So the plan this weekend is to finish clearing out the weeds, de-thatch the grass, and clean up all the debris that has gathered along the property line and the edge of the lawn. I’ve purchased a bag of fall lawn food and a mini broadcast spreader to help with the job. Since I’m pretty sure this grass hasn’t seen nourishment in years, I’m aiming for two lawn feedings this season. The second fall feeding should happen sometime in the first week of December. Let’s hope this Texas weather will comply!

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