This year my husband and I decided we were going to make a DRASTIC change in our backyard. First, it is just a PLAIN backyard, and secondly, it is SMALL. We live in a cute little patio home. In fact when they built the house, everything in it was little and cute, including the backyard!
Now I know we can’t change the size, but we can make some beautiful aesthetic changes that will help me not think of the size. The problem isn’t really with the backyard being little, it’s that the builder never had a landscaper put sod down. They only sod the front lawn, and the back was left to grow anything and everything on its own. While we have only been in here a few years, the backyard has become one of our biggest focal points for change. This Spring we are making a lot of changes, and changing the grass was the first thing on the list!
So what exactly do you need when you are making a change like this in your backyard? Here is what we did with ours, and what was recommended by several companies that came to make suggestions:
- Choose your sod: We had a choice between several, but ultimately chose St. Augustine because of the larger blade and thicker coverage, but also because of how well it grows in this climate.
- Tiller: We needed to till up the dirt (and hard clay) before we could place down our new lawn.
- Large cutting tool to cut your sod when hitting corners, etc.
- Shovel: There will be areas your tiller can’t reach or corner, you will need to hand till these areas.
- Large Rake: Once you have tilled, you will have “rows” and will need to even this out.
- Cart: To load and move your sod to the areas you are planting. The pallets were too large to make it thru out fence.
- Roller: Once you have your sod in place, you want to use a roller to smooth the surface.
So let’s get this thing started, and show you how we sod our yard in a day!
Get your tiller cranking and get going! We wanted to make sure we were aerating and turning our yard over, and the best way to do this is by tilling up the lawn. We live very close to the Red River, within a quarter of a mile, which is why you will notice in these pictures that the dirt has a reddish tint to it. It’s full of red clay, which is also how the Red River got its name. The lawns here are also full of good nutrients, which is great news for your lawns and flower beds if you love close to a river like we do!
While we did not till our yard at a very big depth, we did inadvertently sever our internet cable. Most lines are placed 6-12 inches deep. Apparently that was not the case with ours, but if we would have called ahead and had the area marked, we would not have ran into this problem. Always remember to call before you dig! (That’s our severed line top right next to the shovel)
Once the yard is tilled, then take your large rake and flatten the area out as best as you can. For us it was important not to smooth it out, as much as just level it out. With clay, it is easily packed and can harden quickly on you. It was important for us to keep it roughed up a bit. If you have any un-level areas, you may also want to have had some dirt brought in for leveling purposes.
A transport cart like this is a very big help when doing this kind of a project. The larger the wheel the better! Having larger wheels helps you maneuver easier through the soft tilled up areas with a very heavy cart full of sod. Anything smaller can be cumbersome.
When laying your sod you will want to lay it like a bricklayer would, by staggering it. What is staggering? Have you ever noticed how a house is built and the way the bricks are set? They aren’t one on top of the other in a straight line, they are staggered. This is exactly what you will want to do with your sod. This is also the point where you will need that large cutting tool. There will be areas (like the above hose box) that need to be cut around. When staggering you will also end up cutting pieces at the ends of rows.
Once you have all of that sod down, you are going to want to roll it to even it out.
When we finished with the yard we made sure to water it for about 30 minutes. Food and water, what every living thing needs to live!
What do you think? Doesn’t it look amazingly better?! While this is our first big project of the Spring, we have several more in the works and I am excited to see what this “Little Yard” will look like in just a few short weeks from now.
What are you doing outdoors this summer?