Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Oh sod.

Since we were going to have a wedding in the backyard we really needed to do something about the lawn, pronto, and of course that means sod.  Now, none of us had ever laid sod before, but with the power of the internet at our disposal we figured we could manage it in a day with help from my dad and one of Katherine's mom's friends, Terri.

Here's Schnitzel and I surveying our glorious backyard before we got started.

Step one is preparing the soil which most of the time means testing the soil's pH level; we figured we could skip that one, so we did.

Step two is mowing the existing lawn as short as possible before tilling.  We figured the tiller would take care of it so we skipped that one as well.

Step three is removing any rocks and stumps.  My father and I had already spent a day doing that, so that was taken care of already.

So then step four is tilling right?  No, step four is taking your tiller to the Sears parts department and waiting three weeks for them to get it back to you.  But since we needed to till the yard and get the sod down at least a couple of weeks before the wedding for it to take root, we had to find another tiller, and fortunately Terri had one.

We're now about three weeks from the wedding so push is coming to shove very quickly.  So the plan had become: till the yard on a Friday, have the sod delivered Saturday morning, and spend all day working on it.  NBD.

So we get the tiller over to the house and get to work.  The wheel falls off, of course, so we took a little extra time out to fix that up, but once working again it was pretty smooth sailing...for Katherine's mom who took it upon herself to do all of the tilling.

Step five, then, is leveling out the soil, which Katherine and I worked on into the night using a board with some bricks on it and a rake.

Step six is having the sod company call you up to tell you that their sod cutter is broken and won't be fixed until Monday.  So the weekend passes with nothing really getting done aside from much gnashing of teeth.  Monday comes and we reschedule for Tuesday and get the day off of work.

Step seven is having the sod delivered Tuesday morning to the front yard because the forklift won't fit under the car port to make it into the backyard and having your neighbors voluntarily loan you their wheelbarrows to get the stuff to where you need it.  Thanks guys.

Then from that point on it's pretty much straight forward.  You wet the soil, plop down a roll of sod, pound it into the ground, and water, and water, and water.  Repeat.  Wear long gloves though, unless you just want to look like you tried to slit your wrists the next day.

Additional steps include:  realizing that you have way more sod than you need and deciding on the fly to till up the front yard and do it as well, being paranoid about not having a sod roller--which you read about needing on the internet--and finally making a trip to the Home Depot to rent one, making chili-dogs for everyone, trying not to have heat-stroke, wondering weather you should have just paid to have it installed, and of course waiting for it all to drop dead because you took shortcuts or did something wrong.

But the good news, when all was said and done, is that our lawn looked amazing on our wedding day.  The only thing that really bothered me was that our water consumption went from about 6,000 gallons per month to 56,000 gallons per month.  So FYI, if you put in a 750 sq. yard lawn in the first part of July, it'll take about 50,000 gallons of water to get it to take root, and that part cost us about $150.  So if you're worried about how 'green' you're being, you might want to consider a gravel yard or something else.

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