Our specialty is your lawn. Now that you have finished your new house, the mud has got to go! It is gratifying to put the finishing touches on someone’s American dream. On many occasions we have had customers comment, “now we are done,” with a sense of relief in their voice.
SOD OR SEED ?
We can sod or seed your new lawn. While most prefer sod for its immediacy, seed is a viable option. This is a major choice for many of our customers. The first thing to consider is the amount of immediate traffic you will have on your new lawn. Customers with children or pets normally want to install sod. It is usually difficult to keep traffic off of a newly seeded lawn. On the contrary, a sodded lawn can stand moderate traffic, within reason, immediately. So who seeds their new lawn? Typically people who wish to save needed funds and have the patience to nurture the seed into a lawn. The nurturing includes watering, fertilizing, weed killing and usually a little reseeding.
NEWLY SEEDED LAWN
DAY AFTER SOD
We do both sodding and seeding on a regular basis. Personally, I have about 1.5 acres of lawn that I care for at home. We installed it close to 10 years ago using approximately 50% sod and 50% seed. Both, through a fair amount of TLC, matured into a fine lawn within a season or two. Perhaps the only downside was trying to limit the weeds in the seeded area. This has proven to be a challenge and does stand out in my experience as an advantage of sodding over seeding. The sod comes weed free and can be kept that way for quite some time with a successful weed and feed program.
THE IMPORTANCE OF TOPSOIL
Whether seeding or sodding, the soil we install, and just as important, the amount we install, are critical to your lawn’s success. Here is where trusting your landscape contactor becomes of great importance.
When planning for your lawn, you will get varying quotes as to how much topsoil you actually need. You will hear advice anywhere from “a little” to as much as six inches. Simply put, if you use “a little” you have skimped on cost. Now however, your sod or seed needs to grow roots in the clay, rock, tree roots, etc. that make up the base of your yard. Of greater concern for the future is the amount of water it is going to take to keep your grasses nourished. Without adequate topsoil, the water runs off or evaporates as opposed ot soaking in and is wasted. In the absence of irrigation systems in our far northern climate, an adequate amount of topsoil is essential to holding water in our often dry periods of summer.
Conversely, anyone suggesting you need four to six inches of new topsoil under your lawn is probably overselling the soil, although it does depend on your base. While this amount of soil may be necessary over compacted gravel, asphalt or some similar surface, most topsoil and lawns are installed over some combination of sand clay or original forest floor that will aid in water retention. Therefore, it is common and practical to install two to three inches of soil before sodding or seeding.
I need to add one warning here. In your entire building process, there are few items a builder or subcontractor can skimp or cut corners on without your knowledge. However, the topsoil, especially if it is under sod, is an area where corners can be and often are cut. Sadly, this is usually without the owner’s knowledge or against his or her wishes.
The scenario (scam) typically includes the builder or landscaper contracting to install “a couple” of inches of topsoil before installing your sod. Now, for example, given the size of your future lawn, you should have 80 cubic yards of topsoil installed to give a two inch bed for the sod. Unless the owner is watching, it is all too common for the installers to haul in 60-70% of that amount and install the sod. The builder/landscaper just saved $500-$700 in material and labor costs.
How can you, the owner, tell the difference? You can’t unless you pick up the sod. Unfortunately, when you will see the effects is a few years later when your lawn has been exposed to an extended dry period. Without an adequate amount of topsoil to hold moisture for the lawn’s roots, the grasses die off, weakening the lawn as a whole and giving weeds ample room to take over. While not the entire cause of the lawn’s failure, an insufficient amont of topsoil sets in motion a chain of evens that led your lawn ot being part weeds and part grass.
CONTRACTOR INSTALLING SOD WITH LITERALLY NO TOPSOIL
Unfortunately, any measures taken at this point to enhance your lawn are basically band aids that cost you money you should never have had to spend in the first place. The only completely effective way to establish a strong, beautiful lawn that requires normal maintenance is to take up the old turf and start over using a sufficient amount of topsoil. This process, which I have performed many times, will cost approximately double what it should have the first time. Simply put a $3000 lawn may now cost around $6000 to take out and re-establish.
HIRE A CONTRACTOR YOU CAN TRUST. Ask for a specific amount of topsoil that will be installed. Do not be shy about being on site when it is installed. GET WHAT YOU ARE PAYING FOR.