Tuesday, May 1, 2012

The Sod Project a.k.a. "Hell Week" - Part 1

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I am going to detail this project in several posts because there is a lot of history with me and my back yard grass.  It has been 12 years of a love hate relationship.  My backyard has St. Augustine grass and I have never quite been able to figure out how to properly care for it.  It seems like I always have issues with dead spots and it is just finicky grass.

I don't know what happened within the last year but it is completely dead and gone.  The weeds have taken over and I have a mess.  I decided that I have had enough and I am going to resod the whole backyard in Bermuda grass, Tifton 419 to be exact.

I also have this huge hill leading up to my small tool shed.  This hill is like 60 to 75 degrees steep.  It has always been a pain to mow and just to climb up it is a chore much less push my mower into the shed.  In addition to resodding the yard, I want to make this hill less prominent.

I resodded my front yard exactly 10 years ago and I had a guy who did some grading for me.  I gave him a call to see what he would charge to level out the hill, scrape everything smooth and prep it for me to lay sod.  His quote was that it would cost me between $2500 to $3000 dollars by the time I paid his fee, paid for the amount of dirt to level off the hill, and pay for the sod.  That was probably a fair estimate, but I didn't want to pay near that amount of money.

So with that, I have decided to tackle the whole project myself.  The plan is to dig up the entire yard by hand, haul in dirt to level out the hill, and lay the sod.  The wife was not happy about this new project given the fact that we have a newborn but I reasoned that now is the time before the weather gets really hot.  I also promised her I could do the whole thing in 7 days.  And so Hell Week begins....

Here is my yard in 2010, look how nice the St. Augustine looks.  
It isn't perfect, but it looked pretty dang good.

Now this is last year, you can see it isn't quite as lush and green.

Now it is almost 85% dirt and weeds, most of the green is weeds.
You can see steepness of hill in top right leading to the shed. 


Annie*s Granny said...

Glutton for punishment, aren't you? I know how you feel about spending that kind of money though. I (or my oldest boy) do 99% of the work around here. I'd rather pay him than a stranger, and I can always take it out on him if he messes up! I am, however, debating on whether I'll have to hire someone to replace some water damaged siding on my house. I feel that's not a job I can tackle, and the estimate I got for replacing all of it (whole house) with seamless vinyl siding was $15,000. I think not! The jury is out on a solution ;-)

Ed said...

Wow! That would be a major project without tackling the hill. Good luck, I'm sure it will come out great.

Tomato Thymes said...

Just a friendly story. We had a neighbor who changed the sloop of their yard by grading their hill and it changed the flow of water when it rained where the rain ran smack towards the house and it flooded the basement. They had to then change the sloop so that it flowed away from the house.
I thought I would mention the whole grading sloop thing because I had never thought of it until they worked on their hill.


Jenny Rottinger said...

ouch! That's not an easy project.

Kris said...

Granny - You are definitely my kind of girl. :) I love a woman who isn't afraid to tackle a project.

Ed - Thanks Ed, hopefully my back and knees will hold up.

Lisa - Thanks for that input and I have a story to add of my own. The reason I have that mountain leading up to my shed is this. I paid someone to expand my driveway from a single car to a double car driveway. In addition they were going to pour me a small slab because that shed wasn't on that hill and I wanted to move it there. At that time the slope was gradual and just perfect, I told the guy that if he needed to he could use a little of the dirt he dug out for the driveway on the hill. Well, I guess he thought a little dirt meant the entire driveway and he dumped all the dirt up there. Yes, I had a nice flat area for my shed, but it was so steep. I was at work when he dug up the driveway (rookie mistake) and by the time I got home he was done. Sure I could have made him take all the dirt and haul it away but I didn't. So that is the reason I have this super big hill to begin with.

Jenny - Nope, it is going to be a tough one.

Tomato Thymes said...

Wow he dumped all of it there. Oh my goodness.


Kris said...

Yeah, I learned a lot of lessons with that driveway project. Now when I do hire someone to do work for me, I am always at home while they do the work. I don't hover over them and get on their nerves, but I make sure they are doing what we agreed to. The guy that came out a gave me the quote for this project said it would cost way too much to move the shed, bust up the slab, get rid of the dirt, pour a new slab, and put it back the way it was. I agreed with him and I am just trying to "feather out" the hill gradually instead of it being so steep.