Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Glorious, happy, luxurious SOD!

How happy can having a patch of soft, cool, green, lush, verdant grass in one's backyard make one?  Exceptionally, exuberantly, extra happy.

Today, I am giddy. Today, I am giddy because Drew and I laid 250 square feet of wonderful, beautiful sod in our yard.  I am giddy not only because grass is a beautiful thing, but because we have not had grass in the backyard since never.  When Drew bought the house in 2001, he said the backyard was knee-high weeds. By the time I came into the picture in 2005, it was still pretty bleak.

We killed pretty much everything back there that summer so that we could have a "blank slate", onto which we planted some trees.

From there, our ambition for home remodeling got out of hand.  A new garage and a big addition to the back of the house bulldozed any plans I had for the American patch of green grass.  Before I could really focus on installing a lawn, there was an irrigation system to install the bones of last fall and finish this spring.  Now, finally this summer, we got down to the business of grass.

Earlier this summer I tilled the entire future lawn space.  In doing so, I broke a line in the new sprinkler system.  Fixed that. Then it got hot and we turned our attention to finishing the addition. (We're almost there, and I know I have a lot of posts to get caught up on.)  For the past week I have been intensively preparing for the sod.  I dug holes under the only partially supported deck stair stingers

so that I could retrofit the posts with a galvanized support and concrete pillar.

Then yesterday we laid out all the landscape edging and weed-barrier fabric.
 And did the final grading and loosened up the top bit of soil. 

Still, there was more work to be done. Our final step, after nightfall mind you, was to move some of the leftover large boulders out of the main backyard flower bed that were left there when we pulled the boulders out from under the vinyl fence last year during the excavation work for the addition. The boulders didn't look as big and heavy in this morning's light.
 After all that hard work yesterday, we were ready to pre-fertilize and go get the sod! My poor truck.

I deliberated for months about what type of grass to grow.  We have native buffalo grass (cultivar=Legacy) in our front yard.  It is slow to green up in the spring but is a nice soft gray-green color.  It looks very natural, but not like the quintessential "lawn". We watered it about 5 times this summer and mowed about the same number of times, plus it doesn't like to get fertilized! How is that for water-wise and low maintenance?  It is a good lawn for our front yard, but in the back we wanted something lush. Kentucky bluegrass is soft and fine and deep green and cool. It is the typical lawn everyone has.  It is part of the American dream for goodness sake!  It is also thirsty and requires regular fertilization and mowing.  A better alternative to bluegrass might be tall fescue.  It can use up to 25% less water then KBG, has similar color, and does better in shade but is coarser in texture.  I was all set to get fescue sod, but then I read in a few different places that if you have heavy soil or soil with hardpans, tall fescue can't put down its roots as deep as it would do naturally, and therefore you don't get the water savings that a fescue offers.  We have heavy clay soil and almost zero shade to contend with.  In the end, I chose to purchase BioBlue from BioGrass Sod Farm, a local dealer in Sandy, Utah. BioBlue is a mix of three different KBG varieties (Nu Destiny, Moonlight, and Prosperity) that have been chosen for Utah's climate to withstand drought and use less water. I think our much-reduced-since-2005 lawn area partially justifies the old thirsty KBG standby.

With Drew and me working, actual sod laying took us only about 2 hours and was way easier than I expected.  Maybe the 80-pound bags of cement I lifted last week was a good pre-sod workout.  Our two hours is condensed in this little time-lapse movie into a happy 17 seconds.

I estimated that we would need 230 square feet, so I ordered 250, just to be safe.  I guess I was off a bit in my estimation because this is the sod we ended up with at the end of the day. No waste here.

So now it is all in and dang it looks good!

Next project: do the flagstone path and add gravel at the lawn edges at the edge of the deck, but for a couple of day I'm just going to be elated in our happy lawn and enjoy the massage I earned.

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