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Topic # 114637 26-Feb-2013 11:16
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I'm about to plant my lawn for the third time. The first time it grew well but it was so out of level you could break an ankle (bad advice from an inexperienced grass guy). The second time I paid $2K to a landscaper and he planted a really horrible grass mix, a tall rye that made it look like a field, so I'm not happy that I have to do it again. This time I'm doing it myself, though I'm getting people in to do parts of the job - not the whole job. I've done quite a lot of research this time, talked to a bunch of people, so I'm reasonably confident with my approach.

My lawn's 160 square meters. Half of that is flat out the back. 1/4 is on a slight slope on the front to the street, enough to be annoying but easy to mow. 1/4 is behind the front fence and is flat. I have hoses, sprinklers, and timers that will irrigate on any schedule I choose. There's decent drainage in the lawn.

I've applied roundup to my lawn, it's pretty much dead, other than a few weeds that I'll dig out. It's got a super hard surface given all the sun and lack of rain. Our plan is to plough (plow for Americans) it down to 10cm, as it has good topsoil there but dead grass on top, and it's clay from 20cm down. Once it's ploughed you're meant to wait a couple of weeks for the weeds to come up, then roundup them, to avoid the weed seeds in the lawn germinating with the grass. You can just let the weeds grow and pull them out later, which we might do because we're getting close to winter.

Grass grows well in March, quite well in April, but by May it's pretty chilly and grass doesn't grow as well. So getting things done soon is reasonably important to avoid having a big dirt patch all winter.

My main question is should I hire a plough and a roller myself from hirequip ($250 delivered plus two days hard work for myself and a couple of friends), or should I pay a trusted landscaper $900 to do it for me? How hard and time consuming is ploughing and rolling? I have 2/3 of a weekend free next weekend, about a day and a half, other than that my weekends are pretty full. The extra $650 wouldn't be particularly significant to me, I work as an IT contractor, but I don't like to waste money either.

Once the soil's prepared we'll probably use hydroseed. It grew well last time, it costs more than seed but it grows faster with fewer spots that don't take.

Happy to hear other thoughts :)




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  Reply # 770380 26-Feb-2013 11:21
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the ploughing/tilling will be exhausting since the ground is so rock hard and dry.

I would put your sprinklers on for a couple of hours a day for a few days to help soften up the ground, then it shouldn;t be that hard to break it up with a rake.



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  Reply # 770381 26-Feb-2013 11:23
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Good tip, I'll do that, but I'll not water just before the work's done - no-one wants to work in mud.

Would you DIY, or would you hire someone experienced for an additional $650?




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  Reply # 770385 26-Feb-2013 11:42
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timmmay: Good tip, I'll do that, but I'll not water just before the work's done - no-one wants to work in mud.

Would you DIY, or would you hire someone experienced for an additional $650?


Normally the only stuff I pay somebody to do are things I genuinely cannot do myself e.g. plumbing, electrician, using heavy duty machinery like diggers.

 

However, that is a massive lawn area to dig up, so unless you have plenty of spare time then it would probably take you an absolute age to get it all nicely ploughed up with a nice flat till on top. I’d probably just bite the bullet and get someone else to do that part, then lay the turf myself (which is very easy once the prep is done)



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  Reply # 770396 26-Feb-2013 11:50
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I'm told it's one full days work to plough, roll, and level for two landscapers. I don't know if that means it's one, two, or three full days for three people with no experience (me, my partner, and a friend).

It's just a standard residential lawn, no bigger than average. It just sounds big as most people don't measure their lawns. Hydroseed is almost certainly the way I'll go to seed it - one advantage of using a landscaper is they have a good relationship with the hydroseed guy so he'll fit me in quite quickly.




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  Reply # 770401 26-Feb-2013 12:08

timmmay: I'm told it's one full days work to plough, roll, and level for two landscapers. I don't know if that means it's one, two, or three full days for three people with no experience (me, my partner, and a friend).

It's just a standard residential lawn, no bigger than average. It just sounds big as most people don't measure their lawns. Hydroseed is almost certainly the way I'll go to seed it - one advantage of using a landscaper is they have a good relationship with the hydroseed guy so he'll fit me in quite quickly.


Out of curiosity where did you get a quote from?

Have you tried nocowboys.co.nz? That website has reviews for people as well. I got a few people from there to do a few jobs around the house and they were really good.

Also wetting the ground is a good idea I had to do that in my lawn as the ground was like cement! Made a new flower garden :)



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  Reply # 770403 26-Feb-2013 12:10
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I use builderscrack to get quotes. The quote is from a guy that it turns out I went to primary school with, so he has a slightly higher trust factor.

I may be able to find someone cheaper, happy to hear thoughts if that's more expensive than expected to plow roll and level a 160 sq m section.




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  Reply # 770423 26-Feb-2013 12:32

timmmay: I use builderscrack to get quotes. The quote is from a guy that it turns out I went to primary school with, so he has a slightly higher trust factor.

I may be able to find someone cheaper, happy to hear thoughts if that's more expensive than expected to plow roll and level a 160 sq m section.


Well yes that's what I was getting at try to get another quote to see how the price matches up.

I do agree though people that you trust is higher then the people you just meet.

I would personally do it myself if I could take a couple days off and do it over the weekend. That's me personally. Then again I like to do DIY etc so that might not be the same in your case with work etc.

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  Reply # 770432 26-Feb-2013 12:47
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timmmay: I'm told it's one full days work to plough, roll, and level for two landscapers. I don't know if that means it's one, two, or three full days for three people with no experience (me, my partner, and a friend).

It's just a standard residential lawn, no bigger than average. It just sounds big as most people don't measure their lawns. Hydroseed is almost certainly the way I'll go to seed it - one advantage of using a landscaper is they have a good relationship with the hydroseed guy so he'll fit me in quite quickly.


based my on digging skills as a IT worker vs my brother digging skills as a labour, i was about 1/2 speed to him, plus he keep going a lot longer then i could. 1 full day work for someone who know what they doing, i would guess at 2 -3 day for you. do you rate your time worth more then 650 / (8 hours x2 days x 3 people) = $13.55/h  if it 2 days or $9.02 /h if it 3 days - this is what it come dome down to if you got the cash for someone else to do the job.



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  Reply # 770486 26-Feb-2013 14:09
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Between what you guys have said and what a couple of people in the office have said it may not be worth the risk of doing it myself. The machines can apparently be quite powerful, I have three little lawns that could be a bit tricky, and I'm in the middle of my wedding season and can't risk injury. They'll probably be twice as fast as me and do a better job.

So sorted, hire the landscaper. Any other thoughts based on what I've said above are most welcome, especially to help establish a really nice lawn quickly.




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  Reply # 770488 26-Feb-2013 14:13
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use ready lawn or similar. will give you a lawn you can walk on within a day or two.



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  Reply # 770489 26-Feb-2013 14:14
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Pre grown grass costs around $2000, more than I want to spend. Thanks for the idea though.




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  Reply # 770502 26-Feb-2013 14:27
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timmmay: Pre grown grass costs around $2000, more than I want to spend. Thanks for the idea though.


Shouldn’t do.  I got some recently for $6/sqm including delivery and GST, and no pallet charge.  So cost for you based on for160sqm that would be around $1000.  Still more expensive than sowing seeds of course, but you get instant lawn.

 

I used http://www.instantturf.co.nz/Instant_Turf/Price_Guide.html    really nice one-man-band type service.  very knowledgable with tips etc too

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  Reply # 770504 26-Feb-2013 14:28
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Any other thoughts based on what I've said above are most welcome, especially to help establish a really nice lawn quickly.


key after the hard work done is to keep it watered every day, and with your timer system that should be a cake.



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  Reply # 770505 26-Feb-2013 14:33
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Instant Turf don't say anywhere on their website where they are, or where they deliver to. Plus they seem to do only fine fescue, which is a nice lush grass, but I've read most lawns do best with some fine rye mixed in for robustness.

I've read about the life cycle of grass, how it germinates, conditions, weeds, pests, etc. This website is great, but I've read a bunch and talked to a lot of people. You must keep the seed moist during germination otherwise it will die, and it doesn't get a second chance, but you don't want it sodden. I know from experience that means hourly watering on hot days on my front lawn, every 2-3 hours on a mid lawn, and every couple of hours on the back lawn. I have four timers and five sprinklers that cover the whole area, plus a tiny bit of hand watering the very corners that otherwise gets missed.

I appreciate all the thoughts :)




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  Reply # 770517 26-Feb-2013 14:51
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timmmay: Instant Turf don't say anywhere on their website where they are, or where they deliver to. Plus they seem to do only fine fescue, which is a nice lush grass, but I've read most lawns do best with some fine rye mixed in for robustness.

I've read about the life cycle of grass, how it germinates, conditions, weeds, pests, etc. This website is great, but I've read a bunch and talked to a lot of people. You must keep the seed moist during germination otherwise it will die, and it doesn't get a second chance, but you don't want it sodden. I know from experience that means hourly watering on hot days on my front lawn, every 2-3 hours on a mid lawn, and every couple of hours on the back lawn. I have four timers and five sprinklers that cover the whole area, plus a tiny bit of hand watering the very corners that otherwise gets missed.

I appreciate all the thoughts :)


they are based out in Kumeu. I think they deliver anywhere in NZ, but cost presumably goes up the further away you are.

whether you want Rye depends on what you want to use the turf for.  In my case I have a couple of toddlers so wanted the softest grass - and rye is quite hard.

If, on the other hand, you want to play soccer or something on it with teenage boys, then go for more rye.


You might also find that with the amount of watering you need to do for growing from seed, the extra cost of instand turf might not be as much as you think.

 

I worked out that on my ~100sqm lawn watering once a day for an hour costs me around and extra $300 in that month during the last couple of months when we had basically no rain.  So for you the extra cost of watering from seed could start getting pretty close to the cost of just getting the turf which won’t need as much water tokeep it going until winter starts with more rain.

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