Is there a way to fix this backyard?

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  #1  
Old 10-23-13, 07:04 PM
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Is there a way to fix this backyard?

I recently had a basement walk-up entrance done. The contractor did a fantastic job. To make room my excavator guy removed about 35 yards of dirt that was originally piled in my backyard on top of the lawn. I've since removed it with a loader since it was waaaay too much to move out by hand however, it has left the lawn in my back yard looking like this:

MY BACKYARD

Problem is that it hasn't stopped raining long enough for the soil to dry enough so I can even run a rake through it. We haven't had more than two days without rain in weeks. I've had tracked machines back there and they just get stuck in the mud.

Any ideas on how I can get this soil flat enough to lay sod?

I'm almost at the point where I want to get my concrete guy back to pave the whole thing.

I'm not sure what's done on new building projects or other landscaping this time of year with the days being short and chilly such that the water doesn't easily evaporate.

I really don't want to leave it like this all winter...Never mind what it will be under there after the spring melt.
 
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  #2  
Old 10-24-13, 04:10 AM
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You can't control mother nature and short of building a roof over the entire yard you have to wait on the weather to cooperate.

I wonder if getting a load of mulch and applying a layer to the yard would be an option ?? You could till it in the spring, level the yard and plant your sod then.
 
  #3  
Old 10-24-13, 05:32 AM
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In Canada you could be out of luck until spring. With all the rain and now shorter daylight and colder temps it's not going to dry out fast. By the time it does it might be too late to lay sod. We're already starting to get freezing temps at night down here in NC.

I would check with the sod providers and see if they recommend laying sod this late in the season. I imagine they will recommend waiting for spring if possible. Then I would grade the yard as best possible so it can drain. But as Marksr pointed out there is not much you can do if Mother Nature doesn't want you to work and there is nothing worse than trying to work a mud pit.
 
  #4  
Old 10-24-13, 06:04 AM
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Wait till spring. But you'll need to get a tiller or front end loader to smooth out that mess. Then a load of top soil to to cover the clay and gravel. On the other hand you might consider having the junk clay and gravel hauled away.Then you can plant grass. When your ready to plant the grass use a 50-50 mixture of annual and perennial rye. And make sure its always wet but not enough to wash away the seed.

You know, you might want to invest in a Lowes trailer and haul it away yourself. I did that and chaulk up the cost of the trailer as part of the total propject cost. If you don't have any other use for it then just sell it in Graig's list.
 
  #5  
Old 10-24-13, 06:30 AM
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Being not far away from Joe, I'd say he's stuck with what he's looking at for the winter. We've run out of weather for things like this. Rain every day, which will only be turning to snow in the next few weeks.

On the lighter side, the snow will cover it up and level things out.... Slightly.
 
  #6  
Old 10-24-13, 06:44 AM
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Sigh.....I fear you may be correct.
 
  #7  
Old 10-24-13, 01:19 PM
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NEVER SURRENDER !!

Dave from environment Canada is calling for warmer then usual Nov temps. And don't forget Indian summer.

Do you really want the sloppy mess hanging around your neck like an albatross during the January thaw and then again through March and April..Don't forget about the load restrictions on the rds until early MAy.. no equipment is coming down your street in other words.

Besides...the sod roots will be dormant anyway. Its kind of ok that they won't "take" until early April...much earlier then you will be able to spread that muck around and get started

I vote go for it now...and be done with it
 
  #8  
Old 10-24-13, 01:29 PM
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Yes go for it and Fairplay will there to help get out from muck and will be glad to help you clean everything up including the house.
 
  #9  
Old 10-24-13, 01:42 PM
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If it doesn't rain anymore and I can get it flat enough I may give it a try this weekend.

What's there is (albeit muddy) IS topsoil. So I'm thinking if I get the tiller set really shallow I can smooth it out, the. Perhaps roll over then a light raking before putting the sod down.

I think.....
 
  #10  
Old 10-24-13, 02:21 PM
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I've put sod down in November and you're actually a few degrees of latitude south of me, so this may still be possible.
 
  #11  
Old 10-24-13, 02:30 PM
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Thanks.

I'm pretty certain I'm ok to actually lay sod. The issue is not that.

The main problem here is how to prep and grade the area while its a sopping wet so it wi be graded properly and flat enough to lay the sod onto

Machines just get stuck and you can't pull a rake through it
 
  #12  
Old 10-24-13, 02:34 PM
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Nope, it has to dry out first.
 
  #13  
Old 10-24-13, 07:08 PM
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My Master Plan!

OK - I figure all that can really get damaged in the end is some sod....and my bank account...and I suppose just my ego to some extent....But - If the rain holds out, this is the plan for this weekend.

Step 1 - Get one of these:

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Then when the yard looks like this:

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I'll take one of these to smooth out the peaks and valley's:

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Then if I'm lucky and the tiller was able to handle the mud and the soil doesn't cake onto the roller I can take one of these:

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To fluff and smooth the soil a bit, So I can lay down some of this:

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Then again use this:

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Then sit back with one of these:

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Now if everyone will please cross their fingers for me in the hopes that no more rain will come, I hope the next image I post will look something like this:

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Wish me luck!
 
  #14  
Old 10-25-13, 03:36 AM
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I'm not sure the roller will be of any benefit used before the sod is laid, in fact in might compact the soil enough to make it harder for the sod to take root. I've only seen those rollers used after the sod is laid.
 
  #15  
Old 10-25-13, 01:38 PM
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I have the same concern about using the roller before the sod. Problem is that, as set as it is, I won't be able to get it flat enough to lay the sod. I plan to fill it with just enough water to take down the leaks and valleys left by the tiller. Then really fluff with the rake. If it does get too compact there may be an aerator rental in my future as well.

This is a big experiment I know.....But;

"We choose to lay sod on this weekend in late October, and to do these other things....not because they are easy, but because they are hard...."

:-)

Wish me luck!
 
  #16  
Old 10-25-13, 02:10 PM
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as set as it is, I won't be able to get it flat enough to lay the sod
I thought you were going to start off breaking it up with a tiller a shovel and rake would be better to fill in and level the low spots.
 
  #17  
Old 10-25-13, 02:19 PM
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I am breaking it up with a tiller but its too wet to rake it. That's why the roller.
 
  #18  
Old 10-25-13, 02:25 PM
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IMO if it's too wet to rake - it's too wet to level. I suspect your boots will be picking up and dropping mud as you go
 
  #19  
Old 10-25-13, 02:33 PM
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It's just borderline too wet at the moment. Fingers crossed that it doesn't rain and this will work tomorrow
 
  #20  
Old 10-26-13, 05:00 PM
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Rain !!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Mother nature must be really ticked with me. At the end of the day yesterday everything looked like it would come together. The soil was looking like is was just dry enough to till.

Then this morning I awoke to this:

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It rained all through the night (hard) and didn't stop for more than a few minutes until moments ago.

I was furious to say the least, and some choice language was used. I just cant get a break. Obviously there's no way to till this mess and prep it for sod.

Unless the next few weeks bring with them some record breaking mild weather, there's no way this water will go away.

Big sigh...

At least I didn't buy the sod.

I'll be back if any miracles happen. In the mean time I'm looking for the world's biggest hair dryer.
 
  #21  
Old 10-29-13, 05:45 PM
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Why can't you just use the roller to smooth it out while wet, then put a couple of inches of top soil when it is dry and seed it.
 
  #22  
Old 10-29-13, 06:23 PM
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I did try the roller thing but I ended up with caked on mud that started to just snowball on the roller

Also, everyone I've heard from has told me that there's no way seed would take this late - That sod was the only way to go at this point
 
  #23  
Old 10-29-13, 06:27 PM
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ah....I see.

my wife would say "put some flour on the roller so stuff won't stick".....

on that note = what about laying down some straw, and THEN, rolling it flat.....the straw would naturally decompose over the winter, and in spring you can sod or whatever.....

just offering suggestions.
 
  #24  
Old 10-29-13, 06:35 PM
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Interesting! Actually a very good suggestion.

Even in the event that it doesn't work to roll it down, it should help prevent everything washing away in the spring thaw and and soak up some of the water as well.

Thank you!
 
  #25  
Old 10-30-13, 08:32 AM
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Hope it works for you. Let us know how it goes.
 
  #26  
Old 11-12-13, 07:15 PM
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Never surrender !!

I've been away from this thread for a while, because I've been very
busy. As the days went by I'd become more and more frustrated every
time I looks out by window at this muddy mess.....we hadn't gone more
than 3 days without rain so clearly this slop was not going to dry
up....then like a bolt of lightning it struck me! I can't till and
prepare mud and I CAN till and prep proper soil....Bingo! GET RID OF THE MUD AND REPLACE IT

Now - To be clear my impatience resulted in this costing a few more
dollars but in the end it was still far less (by at least half) than
any landscaper quoted me.

So here's what I did last week. I got a 14 yard bin dropped in my
driveway then placed an ad in Kijiji that read something along the
lines of, "strong persons needed for temporary yard work that involves
heavy lifting in possible wet conditions". A flood of replies came in,
of which I picked a couple.

I watched the weather and a brief window opened then, the removal
began. We basically slugged at it and removed the bulk of that messy,
slippery clay slop.

Standing by was a delivery of an equal amount of triple mix and
topsoil. The new, properly hydrated base was dumped on the yard then
smoothed over.

The following day, and under light rain, rolls of sod arrived. The
heavy work out of the way we put the sod down with haste and rolled it
down.

As of this past weekend what you see pictured above has been
transformed into this:

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This link is to a bunch of pictures of what it did look like:

https://www.dropbox.com/sh/lb3s2tt9plu1qi7/cHQM_Y8PMv

Thanks all for the great advice and interest!
 

Last edited by TorontoJoe; 11-12-13 at 07:37 PM.
  #27  
Old 11-13-13, 03:26 AM
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Looks good, thanks for the update!
You know the old saying - where there is a will, there is a way
Glad I wasn't involved in the mud removal process
How did you dispose of all the mud you removed?
 
  #28  
Old 11-13-13, 03:43 AM
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I think my response (#4) basically said the same thing. Glad you go it done. Looks good.
 
  #29  
Old 11-13-13, 06:46 AM
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You're right. It did. It didn't really click in my head. I'd pictured a UHaul trailer and me doing it myself...Which wasn't an option. I was thinking small and didn't pick up on what you really meant.

I can be slow but it eventually sinks in.

Thanks again!
 
  #30  
Old 11-13-13, 06:54 AM
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So, is it all covered in snow at this point?

We had snow squalls and pretty much a white out yesterday afternoon.
 
  #31  
Old 11-13-13, 02:15 PM
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We're close to the lake. There've been a few flakes but nothing notable. Quite frozen this morning though
 
  #32  
Old 11-14-13, 01:33 PM
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Too late to fertilize?

I want to give this new lawn a really good start. Days have been as high as 10 degrees (50 F) and nights right about freezing. I'm watering this daily but I'm wondering if its too late to use fertilizer?

If so what kind? Less nitrogen?

And if so how much?

I have to admit I've never fertilized a lawn before so I haven't a clue here.
 
  #33  
Old 11-14-13, 01:51 PM
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It looks like you saw a time window jumped on (or though) it.

You have it leveled, applied decent soil and got the sod in and just have to allow Mother Nature to do her work. You will have freezing soon, so adding fertilizing will not do much with everything inactive, but ready to go in the spring. The winter freezing and thawing will also help to break up any resistant clods and settle back down.

Fertilized very early in the spring (even with the last light snow on the ground) to allow it to soak in and ready to do its job. - Check with a local dealer or landscaper for what spring fertilizer will be best for newly sodded lawn.

When you walk around in the spring, the lawn may feel a little soft, but it will firm up as the moisture gets distributed and the roots get a bit of a start and some strength to the soil.

Dick
 
  #34  
Old 11-14-13, 02:03 PM
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Fair enough. I was hoping that fertalizer might help get it moving but if its a complete waste then I won't bother. I just noticed this morning that it had lost some of the lush green look and just became concerned. I really don't want to lose it after all the work that went in.

Should I be watering as long as the ground isn't frozen?
 
  #35  
Old 11-15-13, 10:37 AM
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Thumbs up Nice Job

Considering what you started with, looks good. As far as watering it, I'd call the people you bought the sod from. They should know best.

Looking around there are lots of suggestions but I think location will make a huge difference with what you should do.

Here's one:

How Late in the Fall Can You Lay Down Rolled Sod | eHow
 
  #36  
Old 11-23-13, 07:03 PM
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Heh! Watering....If it hasn't rained...it's snowed...I guess this new lawn is going to sleep for the winter...
 
  #37  
Old 12-02-13, 07:04 AM
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We usually do not fertilize until after the first mowing. An organic type like Milorganite would be ok as it has no "burn" potential but i would wait till green up at this point. Most sod is pumped up pretty well before it is cut anyway. Good luck, looks great so far.
 
  #38  
Old 12-02-13, 07:11 AM
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Thanks - I seen reference to people fertilizing the soil immediately before laying the sod so I wasn't sure
 
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