In 2019 we made the investment and did a complete renovation of our back yard. The path to get here was brutal but the end result inspired me to be a better homeowner and start learning how to be a Lawn Master.
The drainage in my back yard has always been awful but until this year was something I could live with. However, in 2018 we had periods of rough droughts followed by torrential rains. The effects of the crazy weather were multiplied by the addition of a new dog to the family and the fact that we had just installed a new metal fence that restricted where our pack of dogs could run.
Oh yeah, and I had been extremely lazy at trying to maintain our yard.
The end result was we lost all of the grass in our back yard and were left with a mud pit. The sad little patches of green that we did have turned out to be some extremely hardy weeds.
The Drainage Problem
Our yard is on a slope and receives water on one side from our neighbor’s yard and on the other side from a wooded lot. There is a wooden fence that splits the total stream in two but it recombines in the middle of our yard as a small creek.
For years I had taken the attitude that water is always going to flow downhill and there was nothing that I could do about the situation. However, once we lost the yard completely I knew I had to do something. The dogs were tracking in massive amounts of mud and it made me sad every time I even looked at the yard. Rainy days were seriously depressing.
I knew this was too big of a project for me to tackle, especially since I had no idea how to even begin. That is when I called in the professionals!
I contacted Landscape Baton Rouge and they came up with a game plan to put in a dry creek bed on one side of the yard and an underground drainage system on the other. After the drainage was fixed they would properly install completely new sod.
These guys came in with a crew and got busy. It was fun watching them dig up the yard (especially since I didn’t have to use a shovel!)
The underground drainage system needed two drainage basins and was designed to flow into the dry creek bed.
It took the team about a week to complete the project and they did a great job installing the sod. A big part of the sod work was smoothing out the ground and putting down a layer of decent dirt to give the grass a better chance of thriving.
The dry creek bed turned out beautiful. A nice touch was the addition of some water loving iris throughout the rocks. I am really excited to see the iris when they bloom!
The total cost of the project was right at $13,000 which, considering everything they did, was a heck of a bargain!
Maintaining the Sod
Now that I have a beautiful back yard I am obsessed with figuring out how to properly maintain it. I started out by following the landscaper’s instructions and watering the sod for 30 minutes every day for two weeks.
I was amazed out how soothing it was to turn on the sprinklers and watch them shower the yard. The birds loved the sprinklers and would routinely fly through the spray in swooping patterns. My current sprinkler system is highly inefficient and labor intensive. I have three manual sprinklers hooked up to three hoses that have to be moved every 30 minutes. I am going to be looking into better ways of watering my lawn including automatic sprinkler systems.
We need to wait a few more weeks before we can safely mow the new sod but after it gets the first trim I plan on upping my game when it comes to yard tools. The dry creek bed might be difficult to get across with our current riding lawn mower so I might get an old style motorless reel mower for parts of the yard.
Also on the list of stuff to figure out is the proper way to fertilize and how to prevent fungus, moles and other yawn destroyers from even getting a foothold. I am probably going to have to also figure out some storage solutions (backyard shed? deck box?) to keep all of the new lawn gear that I suspect I will end up with,
It is going to be a fun project….it is nice to be retired and have the time to work on this stuff!