Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Flashback: From Down 'n' Dirty to Green & Glorious

I've been so caught up in Christmas decorating and shopping (and blogging about Christmas decorating and shopping), that I forgot about enlightening you with the story of our sod installation. (I'm sure you've all been waiting on the edge of your seats.) While not as fun as talking about Christmas, I must follow through with my flashbacks. So settle in... it's another long read!
For those of you who are following along, we had just had our water well drilled (way back on May 22, 2008). Once that was completed and hooked up to the sprinkler system, we were ready to transform our barren yard into a lush lawn. After mulling over our options, the instant gratification factor of sod outweighed the lower cost of seed. Living on a dirt lot was getting old quickly. Just to remind you, this is what our house looked like right after we moved in.

But first (isn't there always a But first?)... we had to essentially re-grade the ground to make sure we had the best surface possible to lay the sod. This involved four main tasks:
1) Renting a tiller to tear up the hardened soil so the sod could take root easier
2) Using a drag harrow to loosen and even out the soil
3) Hauling in more dirt to fill low areas and make sure the grade sloped away from our house
4) Grooming the dirt for a smooth surface. This involved dragging a wire fence of sorts behind my brother-in-law's lawn tractor. It also involved me and my father-in-law holding onto each other's arms for stability as we stood top of the fence to weigh it down while we circled the yard. I'm sure the people driving by were very entertained by our DIY methods (and no, I don't have a picture of that part).
This is what 4 tons of dirt looks like. Not that much, really. Until you have to shovel it all.

The prepped dirt. Listen closely... can't you just hear it crying out for sod?
Finally, after all of the prep work, it was time to have our sod delivered from the sod farm. We scheduled the date only to have to re-schedule it again after a heavy rainstorm the night before--turns out they can't cut the sod if it's too wet. So we could do nothing but schedule it again and hope for dry weather (which is usually what we get around here). But alas, another thunderstorm rolled through, delaying our plans once more. I felt like everything was working against us, and I was afraid all our hard work was washing away right before our eyes.

The third time around, it all worked out. On June 21, 2008 -- nearly three months after we moved into our house -- the grass was finally on its way (cue dramatic music). By the way, if you've ever wondered what 780 rolls of sod looks like, wonder no more:

As you can see, we enlisted some help for this project. Along with his parents, Luke was able to wrangle some of the players from the 8th grade basketball team he coached. They got to build some much-needed muscle, and it only cost us a pizza party. Win/win.

Getting started was pretty intimidating. We had to work fast, so the sod wouldn't dry out. But after developing an assembly line of sorts and getting into a rhythm, it went quicker than I thought. The boys carried over the rolls of sod (which were deceptively heavy), and we butted them up next to each other to make sure there were no gaps. 

A few hours later, everyone was sore and dripping with sweat, but our lawn was now a lush, green carpet. I had never seen anything so beautiful. Weeks worth of intense, dirty labor had culminated to this moment. And to make it even more satisfying, we used every last roll of sod and didn't need any extra. Props to Hubby's mad estimation skillz.

Immediately after the sod was installed, we had to soak it with water like crazy, to the point of being squishy to walk on. This is where having a well came in handy; otherwise our water bill would have skyrocketed. We also fertilized it with New Lawn Starter, and implemented a regular, heavy watering schedule for the next few weeks. I had irrational fears that all our sod would just start browning and dying, but we must have done something right because it's still green!

And so ends our sod saga (was that a sigh of relief I just heard?). After this, we took a big break from any lawn projects, even though we still had no landscaping to speak of. But after paying for a sprinkler system, a well, and sod, the ol' pocketbook needed a breather, too. (Even though we saved a lot of money by installing almost everything ourselves.)
I'll have more to share later on, as we've finally gotten around to some landscaping this year. But for now, it's making me tired just re-living this part. If you've made it to the end of this post, thanks for sticking with it!


Mrs. Chic said...

Looks great! I love Sod, we did sod for our front and seed in the back.

Amanda said...

Good idea to do half & half! That way you at least have instant curb appeal!

micah @ the yellow front door said...

You guys did a really good job. Bravo!

Now all Luke has to do is rake the grass every time someone steps on it :)

The Jones' said...

Hi Amanda! Thanks for stopping by my blog :-) The grass looks great- sod is pretty amazing! Also, I enjoyed reading all your holiday-related posts.


Danielle @ Transforming Home said...

I remember when we moved into our house 5 1/2 years ago. Our yard was all mud for about the first month. Then they put in the sod it really started feeling a home.
Now let the yard work begin - hope you have a lot of sprinklers!!

design_aholic said...

Amanda- It looks amazing!!! I can't wait to re-sod our backyard (actually rip out all the cement and brick, and add sod. :)

Love it! You guys did fabulous!

Amanda said...

Thanks everyone! Having a real lawn definitely makes it feel more like home. :)

design_aholic - sounds like you have quite the project ahead of you!

Sue at Beach Bungalow said...

The sod looks great! There's nothing like instant gratification, eh?



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