Sprucing up

Dana and I decided this weekend we would finally level the soil on the north edge of the yard, put a border around the silver-maple in the front of the house, and cover a number of areas with mulch or stone. In prep for this task, Dana went to Arapahoe Acres and picked up the edging, weed barrier, and mulch. It wouldn’t all fit in her car so I’ll have to go back to get the rest of the mulch.

Dana started on the leveling project and I started on prepping the area below the tree. First I raked all the debris up including old mulch and stones. Just as I was finishing, our new couch was delivered. Dana went into the house to receive it and when she finished setting it up I came to the door to check it out. It looked great but there were two massive moths hanging out of on door that drew some attention.

Dana then helped me get the debris into trash bags. We filled ten bags. Dana and I started working on getting the soil cut for the edging. We were making good progress until we got near an area that had roots all the way out to the sidewalk. After checking with Becky (who has received the formal title, “Master Gardner”) to make sure that it wouldn’t hurt the tree, I got a saw and started cutting the roots back. Dana took that opportunity to finish turning the bed and leveling it and removing tons of rocks from the north end of the yard. I was bending blades and wearing out teeth on the saw not to mention using up battery after battery.

After not making much progress Dana and I switched to working on the rest of the edging. The batteries needed time to recharge anyhow. At some point I took a break and called and checked in at home. Dana went in and took a shower and returned with a fohawk (not to be confused with a mohawk). We continued working but hit a wall with the root trimming. We ordered a pizza delivered directly to the sidewalk and gave it a rest.

Various neighbors came over to give advice and even to lend a tool or a hand or both. After making some progress but not enough, I switched to the Axe-hoe (which Dana had suggested hours earlier). After another number of hours I was finally done chopping through all the roots (some of which were as much as 8″ in diameter). Dana and I get the remaining edging in place and we leveled out the soil in the bed. We did a bit of sweeping and called it a night.

We were both exhausted. We worked nearly 12 hours. I drank more than 160oz (my bottle holds fourty ounces of water and I drank 4 bottle-fills). As soon as we finished I put away the tools in the back and Dana turned to watering. There are lots of photos from today but I’ll have to put those up tomorrow morning as I’m way to tired to cope right now.


It’s supposed to be in the high 80s today. Tomorrow may be a bit cooler and it might rain (not holding my breath though). I was up before my alarm and got right outside to start watering. Covered both sides. While I still have no idea if the new seed is growing, the old grass is getting quite high. I know ACN said to wait until the new seeds are 2″ or taller to cut the grass the rest of the grass is growing like crazy and is already higher than 6″ in many spots. I guess I just need to be patient.


Dana arrived with a GreenThumb brand, Medium Duty, Flexible Spray Tube, Variable Pattern, Oscillating Sprinkler. After we figured out how to adjust it Dana hooked it up and turned it on. For some reason the water pressure wasn’t enough to cause this super-dooper-sprinkler which is supposed to be able to cover up to 4000 square feed and is only being asked to cover slightly less than half that. Dana readjusted it and set it to cover just the 2/3 norther portion.

about 15 minutes later she moved it to the remaining 1/3. With both sides sufficiently wet she turned off the water. It was still early enough that it was not yet dark and hopefully that means the yard won’t end up rotting or attracting bacteria.

The Garden Center

Today I went to the Arpahoe Acres Nursery to speak to Mary Jane, their grass expert. (I’m not kidding. The woman at ACN who is the resident expert on all things grass and weed is named Mary Jane!) I was instructed to bring her samples of my grass from the front and back of the house. I had pulled up a clump of each and bagged them in ziploc bags labled front and back in advance of my visit to ACN.

Mary Jane wasn’t the nicest person but she seemed to know her stuff. She examined my samples first by picking them apart and then by placing them under a microscope. She showed me how the root of the weed turned at a 90 degree angle  which she explained was why it was so dangerous–that this was how it took over yards and destroyed the non-weed-grass. She then pulled out a book which detailed just how destructive that weed was to a yard.

Mary Jane then showed me a book on seeding. She showed me how there should be a sprinkling of grass seed but there shouldn’t be too much in one spot. She explained that I need to use a hand spreader to place the grass seed and then to cover it with 1/8″ of top-soil. I asked if there was a tool to spread the top soil and Mary Jane said something like, “I don’t care how you do it, use a shovel, use your hand, doesn’t matter to me.” I asked her how much seed and soil and she calculated, based on my estimaged 3600 square feed of yard, that I would need aproximately 9 pounds of seed and 12 bags of soil to patch my yard. I asked how long I should water and she said 10-15 minutes at a time. I then asked what sort of sprinkler she recommended and again she told me she didn’t care–the point is to keep the yard wet.

The folks at the ACN (aside from Mary Jane) were very friendly and helped me load my 9 pounds of seed, hand spreader, weed killer, and 14 bags (I erred on the side of caution) of top soil into my car. I was pleased to discover that all of it fit in my trunk and I didn’t even have to drop the back seats! Additionally, all of this only cost me about $50. Let’s hope it works!