Should I pay $1,600 for this lawn care fix?

Questions on how we spend our money and our time - consumer goods and services, home and vehicle, leisure and recreational activities
Topic Author
RobLyons
Posts: 724
Joined: Tue Oct 31, 2017 12:55 pm

Should I pay $1,600 for this lawn care fix?

Post by RobLyons » Fri May 22, 2020 3:27 pm

I enjoy lawn care. It's one of my favorite pass times. But over the years for some reason my back yard has become very bumpy. There is nooks and crannies all over the place. Unsure of the cause but speculation is due to clumping fescue, or the freezing/melting from winter to spring, or possibly just the way things have settled over the years.

I have 3,200 square feet, I've tried to level myself with no success. Previously I used 5 cubic feet of loam and a lawn leveling rake. I'm not interested in trying again so I got a quote from a local landscaper who will do it for $1,600. This would include cutting low, detaching, aerating, top dressing with about 10 cubic yards of loam, leveling with a machine, seed and Fertilizer. Landscaper said this will make the yard perfectly level (with grade away from house of course).

Financially I'm in an OK position, but we are a mainly 1 income household. I do have 6 months EF. I have a pension. We max Roth IRAs, but unable to max 403b. No employer match anyways so I'm OK with that.

Thoughts?
"Great parenting sets the foundation for a better world"

London
Posts: 142
Joined: Sun Dec 11, 2016 11:50 am

Re: Should I pay $1,600 for this lawn care fix?

Post by London » Fri May 22, 2020 3:39 pm

I’d probably get one more quote to see if the first was an outlier in either direction. After that, I’d pull the trigger. I also enjoy yard work and having a nice looking yard. Sometimes you need outside help to achieve an outcome. No shame in that.

jebmke
Posts: 10681
Joined: Thu Apr 05, 2007 2:44 pm
Location: Delmarva Peninsula

Re: Should I pay $1,600 for this lawn care fix?

Post by jebmke » Fri May 22, 2020 3:42 pm

Not something I'd do but I don't care if the yard is uneven. In fact, if it weren't for the loose HOA guidelines (not really an HOA) I wouldn't have a yard at all. I'd convert to field grasses and wildflowers.

You didn't say where you live. Around here, seeding in the spring is the same as lighting money on fire. Even sod is risky this late.
When you discover that you are riding a dead horse, the best strategy is to dismount.

User avatar
jabberwockOG
Posts: 2100
Joined: Thu May 28, 2015 7:23 am

Re: Should I pay $1,600 for this lawn care fix?

Post by jabberwockOG » Fri May 22, 2020 3:51 pm

I maintain my lawn to the extent that neighbors don't notice it - good, bad or indifferent, and so that it is healthy with no bare spots or crazy amounts of weeds. I spend as little as humanly possible on it doing so.

I personally think spending $1600 to "level" a lawn is big time crazy. Surely there are other way more fun and/or productive things to do with that kind of money. I could sure think of a few.

But having said that if spending that kind of money for a level lawn will make you happy then go for it.

livesoft
Posts: 71475
Joined: Thu Mar 01, 2007 8:00 pm

Re: Should I pay $1,600 for this lawn care fix?

Post by livesoft » Fri May 22, 2020 4:19 pm

I'd create a 5-year plan for myself that would eventually create a level yard. My plan my cost my almost nothing. I'd spend the $1600 on something else.
Wiki This signature message sponsored by sscritic: Learn to fish.

User avatar
Toons
Posts: 13599
Joined: Fri Nov 21, 2008 10:20 am
Location: Hills of Tennessee

Re: Should I pay $1,600 for this lawn care fix?

Post by Toons » Fri May 22, 2020 4:22 pm

I enjoy lawn care. It's one of my favorite pass times.

Me too,
That is why I am getting a ton of topsoil delivered next week
Spend the money
Enjoy
That is what it is for,,goods and services,
:beer
"One does not accumulate but eliminate. It is not daily increase but daily decrease. The height of cultivation always runs to simplicity" –Bruce Lee

User avatar
GoldenOne
Posts: 41
Joined: Tue May 09, 2017 1:56 pm

Re: Should I pay $1,600 for this lawn care fix?

Post by GoldenOne » Fri May 22, 2020 4:22 pm

I would not even pay or think about this for a minute

veindoc
Posts: 699
Joined: Sun Aug 14, 2016 9:04 pm

Re: Should I pay $1,600 for this lawn care fix?

Post by veindoc » Fri May 22, 2020 4:30 pm

jebmke wrote:
Fri May 22, 2020 3:42 pm
Not something I'd do but I don't care if the yard is uneven. In fact, if it weren't for the loose HOA guidelines (not really an HOA) I wouldn't have a yard at all. I'd convert to field grasses and wildflowers.
You didn't say where you live. Around here, seeding in the spring is the same as lighting money on fire. Even sod is risky this late.
I agree that it seems a little late for that. Fall might be better. I would get multiple quotes first. I’m curious to know how long would it last before it all settled again? Also what do you hope to gain with a level lawn? Is the problem drainage? Could you maybe address the secondary issues of a non level lawn that might be cheaper?

Hockey10
Posts: 778
Joined: Wed Aug 24, 2016 12:20 pm
Location: Philadelphia suburbs

Re: Should I pay $1,600 for this lawn care fix?

Post by Hockey10 » Fri May 22, 2020 4:35 pm

My backyard is also very bumpy. I have thought about trying to fix it, but have done nothing about it so far. Get another quote, then decide whether or not to spend the money.

jebmke
Posts: 10681
Joined: Thu Apr 05, 2007 2:44 pm
Location: Delmarva Peninsula

Re: Should I pay $1,600 for this lawn care fix?

Post by jebmke » Fri May 22, 2020 4:36 pm

We have a small mound in our front yard. It was there when we bought the house. Last year I had someone in to plant a few new trees and he asked me what the mound was. I told him that this was where we buried the previous landscaper.
When you discover that you are riding a dead horse, the best strategy is to dismount.

New Providence
Posts: 172
Joined: Fri Mar 27, 2020 7:10 am

Re: Should I pay $1,600 for this lawn care fix?

Post by New Providence » Fri May 22, 2020 4:37 pm

$1,600 sounds cheap. I recently spent $10K on mulch, dozen pines, few dogwood, and a fixing of some other stuff including removal of dead overgrown stuff. My gardener did a good job.

Nowizard
Posts: 2746
Joined: Tue Oct 23, 2007 5:33 pm

Re: Should I pay $1,600 for this lawn care fix?

Post by Nowizard » Fri May 22, 2020 4:47 pm

Having just received an estimate for similar work, your price sounds inexpensive. The one issue is the seeding. In our area sod would be used, and it can take a long time for grass to grow and include a sizeable time investment if you do not have an irrigation system. Aeration is not as complete a job as scrapping up existing grass, tilling it and putting down seed or sod. I would want to talk with a couple of referrals who have had the same job completed. Part of our issue with a bumpy back yard is related to having an earlier person do a poor job leveling chosen areas.

Tim

Grt2bOutdoors
Posts: 22447
Joined: Thu Apr 05, 2007 8:20 pm
Location: New York

Re: Should I pay $1,600 for this lawn care fix?

Post by Grt2bOutdoors » Fri May 22, 2020 5:21 pm

It's $0.50 a square foot, but I can't imagine the entire lawn is bumpy. The bumps must be in spots, no?
I like Livesoft's plan, you like lawncare, so what is a 3-5 year plan in the grand scheme of things? What ever you do decide - hold off until fall - the aereating works best when seeding, other than a patch job, I would't reseed the entire lawn until the fall.
"One should invest based on their need, ability and willingness to take risk - Larry Swedroe" Asking Portfolio Questions

rkhusky
Posts: 9302
Joined: Thu Aug 18, 2011 8:09 pm

Re: Should I pay $1,600 for this lawn care fix?

Post by rkhusky » Fri May 22, 2020 5:32 pm

Roots?

Would a lawn roller after a few days of rain work?

johnegonpdx
Posts: 9
Joined: Thu Apr 09, 2020 3:07 pm

Re: Should I pay $1,600 for this lawn care fix?

Post by johnegonpdx » Fri May 22, 2020 5:44 pm

I'd suggest replacing the lawn as it dies with native plants that have minimal watering or fertilizing needs for your particular climate / sun exposure / soil quality level. If you can, find plants that attract pollinators. You can still enjoy landscape care via pruning, raking, hand weeding, composting, etc. You could even do some home vegetable or fruit gardening.

likegarden
Posts: 2989
Joined: Mon Feb 26, 2007 5:33 pm

Re: Should I pay $1,600 for this lawn care fix?

Post by likegarden » Fri May 22, 2020 5:53 pm

Bumpy backyard? I have that now too after a group of tree service people cut down 2 huge pines and cut back two others. When those pieces fell on the lawn, they created many craters. The tree service fixed most and I keep at it now for 2 months. It will take a while, but $1,600? Probably that is OK, considering I paid $8,600 for that tree work.

Saving$
Posts: 1915
Joined: Sat Nov 05, 2011 8:33 pm

Re: Should I pay $1,600 for this lawn care fix?

Post by Saving$ » Fri May 22, 2020 7:43 pm

I would not hire a landscaper to do this unless they have proven experience doing it.
In my area there are specialized lawn leveling companies that do nothing but leveling. I would get a price from one of them and lean toward hiring a company that specializes in this if the price is anything close.

dru808
Posts: 830
Joined: Sat Oct 15, 2011 2:42 pm
Location: mid pac

Re: Should I pay $1,600 for this lawn care fix?

Post by dru808 » Fri May 22, 2020 7:55 pm

I hate yardwork, therefore I’d pay if it bothered me, I just payed to have 600 sf of yard, irrigated, tilled & sod installed for $3000. Id go for it.
60% US equity | 25% International equity | 15% US Treasury bonds

TallBoy29er
Posts: 951
Joined: Thu Jul 18, 2013 9:06 pm

Re: Should I pay $1,600 for this lawn care fix?

Post by TallBoy29er » Fri May 22, 2020 8:50 pm

Don't overthink this. It seems reasonable to me to pay $1600 to have someone bring in the materials, and perform the labor, in order to gain a usable yard. My gut...if you put this off and try to diy over five years, every time you look at the yard out your window your blood pressure is going to rise a little. I know, b/c I ended up spending about $9k to get my back yard leveled, and a small retaining wall w steps put in. No regrets. We enjoy it, it looks nice, and it would have been a PITA for me to do it myself.

Go for it.

User avatar
lthenderson
Posts: 4801
Joined: Tue Feb 21, 2012 12:43 pm
Location: Iowa

Re: Should I pay $1,600 for this lawn care fix?

Post by lthenderson » Fri May 22, 2020 10:18 pm

For $250 one time investment, you can maintain your flat lawn for life.

https://www.ruralking.com/36-inch-drum- ... gKfefD_BwE

User avatar
celia
Posts: 10657
Joined: Sun Mar 09, 2008 6:32 am
Location: SoCal

Re: Should I pay $1,600 for this lawn care fix?

Post by celia » Sat May 23, 2020 12:16 am

I wouldn't fix it until I knew what caused the lumpiness or it might just come back. Then, what would think about the money that was spent?

gophers/moles??? (leave holes behind)
animals rolling in the grass/dirt (leave low spots but no holes as they wipe off insects/debris or just itch)
roots (leaving a longer "hump" behind). Note that roots can come from trees that are on neighboring property.
settling soil (from a previous project where lots of soil was dug up)

FeesR-BullNotBullish
Posts: 162
Joined: Sat May 28, 2016 11:22 am

Re: Should I pay $1,600 for this lawn care fix?

Post by FeesR-BullNotBullish » Sat May 23, 2020 3:23 am

Another vote to go for it. I agree with others to wait for the optimal season. Also consider another bid or two. Not just for price but each company has their own methodology and someone else’s approach might make more sense.

Topic Author
RobLyons
Posts: 724
Joined: Tue Oct 31, 2017 12:55 pm

Re: Should I pay $1,600 for this lawn care fix?

Post by RobLyons » Sat May 23, 2020 6:27 am

jebmke wrote:
Fri May 22, 2020 3:42 pm
Not something I'd do but I don't care if the yard is uneven. In fact, if it weren't for the loose HOA guidelines (not really an HOA) I wouldn't have a yard at all. I'd convert to field grasses and wildflowers.

You didn't say where you live. Around here, seeding in the spring is the same as lighting money on fire. Even sod is risky this late.

I think you hit the nail on the head with getting another quote and the timing. I need to get another quote and put this project off until September.
"Great parenting sets the foundation for a better world"

Topic Author
RobLyons
Posts: 724
Joined: Tue Oct 31, 2017 12:55 pm

Re: Should I pay $1,600 for this lawn care fix?

Post by RobLyons » Sat May 23, 2020 6:42 am

veindoc wrote:
Fri May 22, 2020 4:30 pm
jebmke wrote:
Fri May 22, 2020 3:42 pm
Not something I'd do but I don't care if the yard is uneven. In fact, if it weren't for the loose HOA guidelines (not really an HOA) I wouldn't have a yard at all. I'd convert to field grasses and wildflowers.
You didn't say where you live. Around here, seeding in the spring is the same as lighting money on fire. Even sod is risky this late.
I agree that it seems a little late for that. Fall might be better. I would get multiple quotes first. I’m curious to know how long would it last before it all settled again? Also what do you hope to gain with a level lawn? Is the problem drainage? Could you maybe address the secondary issues of a non level lawn that might be cheaper?

Agreed with your points above. Not sure I'll ever get to the root of the cause, no pun intended. I had a good friend completely renovate the yard about 7 years back because previous owner neglected the yard for decades and about 80% of the yard was broadleaf weeds - removed about 3" off the top, trucked in new loam, leveled, seed, fert. And now I'm here..

The goal is to have a more even lawn that isn't an ankle breaker. When the ground freezes in the winter my son and I literally are chancing injury when playing football... :(
"Great parenting sets the foundation for a better world"

Poorman
Posts: 119
Joined: Sat Jan 11, 2020 9:57 am

Re: Should I pay $1,600 for this lawn care fix?

Post by Poorman » Sat May 23, 2020 6:48 am

Put less air in the lawn mower tires. Drive lawn mower slower. Problem solved!

Topic Author
RobLyons
Posts: 724
Joined: Tue Oct 31, 2017 12:55 pm

Re: Should I pay $1,600 for this lawn care fix?

Post by RobLyons » Sat May 23, 2020 7:11 am

Saving$ wrote:
Fri May 22, 2020 7:43 pm
I would not hire a landscaper to do this unless they have proven experience doing it.
In my area there are specialized lawn leveling companies that do nothing but leveling. I would get a price from one of them and lean toward hiring a company that specializes in this if the price is anything close.

This is a great tip about lawn leveling companies. I'm flip flopping from doing nothing about it at all, to hiring one of these companies to rip up everything and sod.. But at that point I might as well do irrigation as well !
"Great parenting sets the foundation for a better world"

Topic Author
RobLyons
Posts: 724
Joined: Tue Oct 31, 2017 12:55 pm

Re: Should I pay $1,600 for this lawn care fix?

Post by RobLyons » Sat May 23, 2020 7:12 am

Poorman wrote:
Sat May 23, 2020 6:48 am
Put less air in the lawn mower tires. Drive lawn mower slower. Problem solved!

LOL the lawn mower tires are plastic, no air! But I like this line of thinking...
"Great parenting sets the foundation for a better world"

Chuck107
Posts: 154
Joined: Tue Sep 04, 2012 11:47 pm

Re: Should I pay $1,600 for this lawn care fix?

Post by Chuck107 » Sat May 23, 2020 7:24 am

I replaced the seat springs on my scag with motorcycle seat springs, cost me about 10 bucks. problem solved.

Topic Author
RobLyons
Posts: 724
Joined: Tue Oct 31, 2017 12:55 pm

Re: Should I pay $1,600 for this lawn care fix?

Post by RobLyons » Sat May 23, 2020 7:27 am

lthenderson wrote:
Fri May 22, 2020 10:18 pm
For $250 one time investment, you can maintain your flat lawn for life.

https://www.ruralking.com/36-inch-drum- ... gKfefD_BwE

I've aerated almost every year and it hasn't helped. I actually wondered if leaving the plugs could have caused some of the bumpiness although my research says that doesn't happen.
"Great parenting sets the foundation for a better world"

Murgatroyd
Posts: 391
Joined: Sun Jan 21, 2018 8:23 pm

Re: Should I pay $1,600 for this lawn care fix?

Post by Murgatroyd » Sat May 23, 2020 7:53 am

celia wrote:
Sat May 23, 2020 12:16 am
I wouldn't fix it until I knew what caused the lumpiness or it might just come back. Then, what would think about the money that was spent?

gophers/moles??? (leave holes behind)
animals rolling in the grass/dirt (leave low spots but no holes as they wipe off insects/debris or just itch)
roots (leaving a longer "hump" behind). Note that roots can come from trees that are on neighboring property.
settling soil (from a previous project where lots of soil was dug up)
I second this sentiment. And add grubs to the potential cause list. If you have grubs then other animals come to dig them up creating lumpiness.

User avatar
lthenderson
Posts: 4801
Joined: Tue Feb 21, 2012 12:43 pm
Location: Iowa

Re: Should I pay $1,600 for this lawn care fix?

Post by lthenderson » Sat May 23, 2020 9:45 pm

RobLyons wrote:
Sat May 23, 2020 7:27 am
lthenderson wrote:
Fri May 22, 2020 10:18 pm
For $250 one time investment, you can maintain your flat lawn for life.

https://www.ruralking.com/36-inch-drum- ... gKfefD_BwE

I've aerated almost every year and it hasn't helped. I actually wondered if leaving the plugs could have caused some of the bumpiness although my research says that doesn't happen.
It's not the aeration that smooths the lawn. It is the gallons of water inside the drum. If it isn't working you aren't using enough weight. The spikes just help prevent it from getting too compacted.

Topic Author
RobLyons
Posts: 724
Joined: Tue Oct 31, 2017 12:55 pm

Re: Should I pay $1,600 for this lawn care fix?

Post by RobLyons » Sun May 24, 2020 4:12 am

lthenderson wrote:
Sat May 23, 2020 9:45 pm
RobLyons wrote:
Sat May 23, 2020 7:27 am
lthenderson wrote:
Fri May 22, 2020 10:18 pm
For $250 one time investment, you can maintain your flat lawn for life.

https://www.ruralking.com/36-inch-drum- ... gKfefD_BwE

I've aerated almost every year and it hasn't helped. I actually wondered if leaving the plugs could have caused some of the bumpiness although my research says that doesn't happen.
It's not the aeration that smooths the lawn. It is the gallons of water inside the drum. If it isn't working you aren't using enough weight. The spikes just help prevent it from getting too compacted.


Ahh, interesting! Although it seems I would need an ATV for this monster, I can see how it could help.

At the same time I'm wondering if I have a grub problem causing some of the unevenness.
"Great parenting sets the foundation for a better world"

User avatar
Kenkat
Posts: 6223
Joined: Thu Mar 01, 2007 11:18 am
Location: Cincinnati, OH

Re: Should I pay $1,600 for this lawn care fix?

Post by Kenkat » Sun May 24, 2020 9:25 am

RobLyons wrote:
Sat May 23, 2020 7:12 am
Poorman wrote:
Sat May 23, 2020 6:48 am
Put less air in the lawn mower tires. Drive lawn mower slower. Problem solved!

LOL the lawn mower tires are plastic, no air! But I like this line of thinking...
I cut in a different pattern every time which has helped to smooth out ruts that started to develop from repeatedly going over the same area in the same direction. It sounds like your issues are probably bigger than this simple fix, but it could help a bit.

As far as the $1600 question goes, it sounds like your yard is important to you. I’ve always thought that if I could make a problem go away by spending a reasonable amount of money, it’s worth it. What is the point of saving and being responsible overall with your money if you can’t also spend a bit of it to make life more enjoyable?

Saving$
Posts: 1915
Joined: Sat Nov 05, 2011 8:33 pm

Re: Should I pay $1,600 for this lawn care fix?

Post by Saving$ » Sun May 24, 2020 11:52 am

RobLyons wrote:
Sat May 23, 2020 7:11 am
Saving$ wrote:
Fri May 22, 2020 7:43 pm
I would not hire a landscaper to do this unless they have proven experience doing it.
In my area there are specialized lawn leveling companies that do nothing but leveling. I would get a price from one of them and lean toward hiring a company that specializes in this if the price is anything close.

This is a great tip about lawn leveling companies. I'm flip flopping from doing nothing about it at all, to hiring one of these companies to rip up everything and sod.. But at that point I might as well do irrigation as well !
In my area, the leveling companies do not lay sod or install irrigation. They only level existing lawns. They are a seasonal business, as everyone wants to level warm season turf in the spring, and cold season turf in the fall. If you are willing to do yours early or late, you can usually get a better price. The trade off is instead of 4 weeks or so of splotchy lawn, you may have six months of splotchy lawn.

Topic Author
RobLyons
Posts: 724
Joined: Tue Oct 31, 2017 12:55 pm

Re: Should I pay $1,600 for this lawn care fix?

Post by RobLyons » Mon May 25, 2020 3:27 pm

Kenkat wrote:
Sun May 24, 2020 9:25 am
RobLyons wrote:
Sat May 23, 2020 7:12 am
Poorman wrote:
Sat May 23, 2020 6:48 am
Put less air in the lawn mower tires. Drive lawn mower slower. Problem solved!

LOL the lawn mower tires are plastic, no air! But I like this line of thinking...
I cut in a different pattern every time which has helped to smooth out ruts that started to develop from repeatedly going over the same area in the same direction. It sounds like your issues are probably bigger than this simple fix, but it could help a bit.

As far as the $1600 question goes, it sounds like your yard is important to you. I’ve always thought that if I could make a problem go away by spending a reasonable amount of money, it’s worth it. What is the point of saving and being responsible overall with your money if you can’t also spend a bit of it to make life more enjoyable?

I'm having a 2nd pro coming this week to assess the yard. I want someone to assess for the cause rather than performing work that may potentially be a short term fix. One theory is that I have grubs causing the damage.
"Great parenting sets the foundation for a better world"

neilpilot
Posts: 3078
Joined: Fri Dec 04, 2015 1:46 pm
Location: Memphis area

Re: Should I pay $1,600 for this lawn care fix?

Post by neilpilot » Mon May 25, 2020 3:43 pm

RobLyons wrote:
Mon May 25, 2020 3:27 pm
Kenkat wrote:
Sun May 24, 2020 9:25 am
RobLyons wrote:
Sat May 23, 2020 7:12 am
Poorman wrote:
Sat May 23, 2020 6:48 am
Put less air in the lawn mower tires. Drive lawn mower slower. Problem solved!

LOL the lawn mower tires are plastic, no air! But I like this line of thinking...
I cut in a different pattern every time which has helped to smooth out ruts that started to develop from repeatedly going over the same area in the same direction. It sounds like your issues are probably bigger than this simple fix, but it could help a bit.

As far as the $1600 question goes, it sounds like your yard is important to you. I’ve always thought that if I could make a problem go away by spending a reasonable amount of money, it’s worth it. What is the point of saving and being responsible overall with your money if you can’t also spend a bit of it to make life more enjoyable?

I'm having a 2nd pro coming this week to assess the yard. I want someone to assess for the cause rather than performing work that may potentially be a short term fix. One theory is that I have grubs causing the damage.
I don't think grubs will cause the issues you reported. However, moles (and to a lesser extend birds, skunks, armadillos, and raccoons) can tear up your lawn. These all eat grubs.

When I had a mole problem, I used an insecticide to kill the grubs. :arrow: The moles relocated to my neighbor's lawn.

EFF_fan81
Posts: 395
Joined: Sat Jan 07, 2012 11:23 am

Re: Should I pay $1,600 for this lawn care fix?

Post by EFF_fan81 » Mon May 25, 2020 8:07 pm

I would not do this until I was sure there was no possible way I would ever run out of money again, plus I gave heavily to charity and plus that giving included carbon offsets.

I did actually do grading on my own house, for waaaay more than you suggest, but that was to stop water getting into my house. If it's just cosmetic, I couldn't imagine caring that much.

Sconie
Posts: 882
Joined: Sun Feb 07, 2010 10:23 am
Location: Arizona

Re: Should I pay $1,600 for this lawn care fix?

Post by Sconie » Mon May 25, 2020 8:32 pm

I like the idea of getting a lawn outfit who specializes in leveling to look at it and give you a quote----then, if the cost is "in the ball park" of being reasonable and doable for you, I'd go for it.

You enjoy it---it's your hobby. Nothing wrong with spending a few bucks on what you enjoy IMHO. Think of all the bucks that are spent on other pass times and hobbies----golf, boats, ATVs, fishing, hunting, shooting, coins, stamps, travel, etc.----in the big scheme of things, $1600 (or there abouts) may well be a good investment----especially considering the psychic pleasure it may bring you!

Good luck with your investigation and decision!
I know you think you understand what you thought I said but I'm not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant. - Alan Greenspan

Jack FFR1846
Posts: 11797
Joined: Tue Dec 31, 2013 7:05 am
Location: 26 miles, 385 yards west of Copley Square

Re: Should I pay $1,600 for this lawn care fix?

Post by Jack FFR1846 » Mon May 25, 2020 8:33 pm

RobLyons wrote:
Sat May 23, 2020 7:12 am
Poorman wrote:
Sat May 23, 2020 6:48 am
Put less air in the lawn mower tires. Drive lawn mower slower. Problem solved!

LOL the lawn mower tires are plastic, no air! But I like this line of thinking...
I'd be really perplexed if you were mowing 1600 square feet with a tractor. That's only 32x50, or about the size of my neighbor's garage.
Bogle: Smart Beta is stupid

atikovi
Posts: 397
Joined: Tue Sep 10, 2019 7:20 pm
Location: Suburban Washington DC

Re: Should I pay $1,600 for this lawn care fix?

Post by atikovi » Tue May 26, 2020 7:08 am

RobLyons wrote:
Fri May 22, 2020 3:27 pm
But over the years for some reason my back yard has become very bumpy. There is nooks and crannies all over the place. Unsure of the cause but speculation is due to clumping fescue, or the freezing/melting from winter to spring, or possibly just the way things have settled over the years.
Sounds like moles digging tunnels underground.

wfrobinette
Posts: 1011
Joined: Fri Feb 20, 2015 3:14 pm

Re: Should I pay $1,600 for this lawn care fix?

Post by wfrobinette » Tue May 26, 2020 1:21 pm

RobLyons wrote:
Fri May 22, 2020 3:27 pm
I enjoy lawn care. It's one of my favorite pass times. But over the years for some reason my back yard has become very bumpy. There is nooks and crannies all over the place. Unsure of the cause but speculation is due to clumping fescue, or the freezing/melting from winter to spring, or possibly just the way things have settled over the years.

I have 3,200 square feet, I've tried to level myself with no success. Previously I used 5 cubic feet of loam and a lawn leveling rake. I'm not interested in trying again so I got a quote from a local landscaper who will do it for $1,600. This would include cutting low, detaching, aerating, top dressing with about 10 cubic yards of loam, leveling with a machine, seed and Fertilizer. Landscaper said this will make the yard perfectly level (with grade away from house of course).

Financially I'm in an OK position, but we are a mainly 1 income household. I do have 6 months EF. I have a pension. We max Roth IRAs, but unable to max 403b. No employer match anyways so I'm OK with that.

Thoughts?
I think you meant 5 cubic yard right? Your guy has about 1200 or so of labor quoted there.

10 yards of high quality loam delivered is going to be between 300 and $450.

Personally I'd kill off the whole yard and get a nice seed blend and stick with it year after year. This would eliminate the dethatching need and provide near surface contact. You can do the kill yourself too. Round up in 2 rounds. 1 month before and another 2 weeks later. Then a low mow.

Depending where you are i'd look at Kentucky Blue Grass and Perieneal rye as well. . Barenbrug does some awesome professional seed designed to withstand disease, pests and lower water use. All of these are designed to self repair.

Bluegrass - https://www.barusa.com/professional-tur ... technology
Perirenal Rye - https://www.barusa.com/professional-tur ... l-ryegrass
Fescue - https://www.barusa.com/professional-tur ... all-fescue

Sod solutions, Johnston seed and other have this to order. I have found that seedsuperstore sells some very nice blends for sun and/or shade. I'd never let a contractor choose my seed.

Get another quote and wait until august to seed.

wfrobinette
Posts: 1011
Joined: Fri Feb 20, 2015 3:14 pm

Re: Should I pay $1,600 for this lawn care fix?

Post by wfrobinette » Tue May 26, 2020 1:24 pm

Nowizard wrote:
Fri May 22, 2020 4:47 pm
Having just received an estimate for similar work, your price sounds inexpensive. The one issue is the seeding. In our area sod would be used, and it can take a long time for grass to grow and include a sizeable time investment if you do not have an irrigation system. Aeration is not as complete a job as scrapping up existing grass, tilling it and putting down seed or sod. I would want to talk with a couple of referrals who have had the same job completed. Part of our issue with a bumpy back yard is related to having an earlier person do a poor job leveling chosen areas.

Tim
From everything I have read, tilling is a bad idea.

wfrobinette
Posts: 1011
Joined: Fri Feb 20, 2015 3:14 pm

Re: Should I pay $1,600 for this lawn care fix?

Post by wfrobinette » Tue May 26, 2020 1:30 pm

RobLyons wrote:
Mon May 25, 2020 3:27 pm
Kenkat wrote:
Sun May 24, 2020 9:25 am
RobLyons wrote:
Sat May 23, 2020 7:12 am
Poorman wrote:
Sat May 23, 2020 6:48 am
Put less air in the lawn mower tires. Drive lawn mower slower. Problem solved!

LOL the lawn mower tires are plastic, no air! But I like this line of thinking...
I cut in a different pattern every time which has helped to smooth out ruts that started to develop from repeatedly going over the same area in the same direction. It sounds like your issues are probably bigger than this simple fix, but it could help a bit.

As far as the $1600 question goes, it sounds like your yard is important to you. I’ve always thought that if I could make a problem go away by spending a reasonable amount of money, it’s worth it. What is the point of saving and being responsible overall with your money if you can’t also spend a bit of it to make life more enjoyable?

I'm having a 2nd pro coming this week to assess the yard. I want someone to assess for the cause rather than performing work that may potentially be a short term fix. One theory is that I have grubs causing the damage.
I'd lean toward moles/voles/chipmunks before grubs. But the moles eat grubs and other insects. So the root cause may be grubs/insects which bring in the moles. Vole are herbivores and maybe eating roots and chipmunks are just PITAs creatures that cause damage.

livesoft
Posts: 71475
Joined: Thu Mar 01, 2007 8:00 pm

Re: Should I pay $1,600 for this lawn care fix?

Post by livesoft » Tue May 26, 2020 1:33 pm

A telling photo or two or three might do wonders in helping improves the responses from the Peanut Gallery.
Wiki This signature message sponsored by sscritic: Learn to fish.

edge
Posts: 3472
Joined: Mon Feb 19, 2007 7:44 pm
Location: NY

Re: Should I pay $1,600 for this lawn care fix?

Post by edge » Tue May 26, 2020 2:42 pm

Can getting the lawn rolled smooth things out?

Nowizard
Posts: 2746
Joined: Tue Oct 23, 2007 5:33 pm

Re: Should I pay $1,600 for this lawn care fix?

Post by Nowizard » Tue May 26, 2020 9:51 pm

Wifrobinete: Please elaborate on your comment that tilling is bad. It is a significant part of preparing the soil to accept sod or seed.

Tim

Topic Author
RobLyons
Posts: 724
Joined: Tue Oct 31, 2017 12:55 pm

Re: Should I pay $1,600 for this lawn care fix?

Post by RobLyons » Wed May 27, 2020 7:18 am

EFF_fan81 wrote:
Mon May 25, 2020 8:07 pm
I would not do this until I was sure there was no possible way I would ever run out of money again, plus I gave heavily to charity and plus that giving included carbon offsets.

I did actually do grading on my own house, for waaaay more than you suggest, but that was to stop water getting into my house. If it's just cosmetic, I couldn't imagine caring that much.

It's not just cosmetic, it's usability. And this is hard to explain but I'll try my best. If I could post a video of mowing the lawn you would see what I mean.

Our home is our castle, our vacation spot, our year round playground. We play sports on it. We spend a LOT of time home enjoying the yard and even more now with the virus.. It's uneven everywhere, and when the ground freezes in the winter the uneven spots are literally a safety issue. When playing football with my son we risk sprained ankles. It's gotten progressively worse over the years, even when I top dressed. So I'm leaning towards professional analyzing the issue and then leveling.
"Great parenting sets the foundation for a better world"

Topic Author
RobLyons
Posts: 724
Joined: Tue Oct 31, 2017 12:55 pm

Re: Should I pay $1,600 for this lawn care fix?

Post by RobLyons » Wed May 27, 2020 7:20 am

neilpilot wrote:
Mon May 25, 2020 3:43 pm
RobLyons wrote:
Mon May 25, 2020 3:27 pm
Kenkat wrote:
Sun May 24, 2020 9:25 am
RobLyons wrote:
Sat May 23, 2020 7:12 am
Poorman wrote:
Sat May 23, 2020 6:48 am
Put less air in the lawn mower tires. Drive lawn mower slower. Problem solved!

LOL the lawn mower tires are plastic, no air! But I like this line of thinking...
I cut in a different pattern every time which has helped to smooth out ruts that started to develop from repeatedly going over the same area in the same direction. It sounds like your issues are probably bigger than this simple fix, but it could help a bit.

As far as the $1600 question goes, it sounds like your yard is important to you. I’ve always thought that if I could make a problem go away by spending a reasonable amount of money, it’s worth it. What is the point of saving and being responsible overall with your money if you can’t also spend a bit of it to make life more enjoyable?

I'm having a 2nd pro coming this week to assess the yard. I want someone to assess for the cause rather than performing work that may potentially be a short term fix. One theory is that I have grubs causing the damage.
I don't think grubs will cause the issues you reported. However, moles (and to a lesser extend birds, skunks, armadillos, and raccoons) can tear up your lawn. These all eat grubs.

When I had a mole problem, I used an insecticide to kill the grubs. :arrow: The moles relocated to my neighbor's lawn.

Exactly what I meant (although did not thoroughly explain). And if this is the case, I can do grub treatments myself every 3 months then move on to killing weeds before having the pro do the work this fall.
"Great parenting sets the foundation for a better world"

Topic Author
RobLyons
Posts: 724
Joined: Tue Oct 31, 2017 12:55 pm

Re: Should I pay $1,600 for this lawn care fix?

Post by RobLyons » Wed May 27, 2020 7:35 am

wfrobinette wrote:
Tue May 26, 2020 1:21 pm
RobLyons wrote:
Fri May 22, 2020 3:27 pm
I enjoy lawn care. It's one of my favorite pass times. But over the years for some reason my back yard has become very bumpy. There is nooks and crannies all over the place. Unsure of the cause but speculation is due to clumping fescue, or the freezing/melting from winter to spring, or possibly just the way things have settled over the years.

I have 3,200 square feet, I've tried to level myself with no success. Previously I used 5 cubic feet of loam and a lawn leveling rake. I'm not interested in trying again so I got a quote from a local landscaper who will do it for $1,600. This would include cutting low, detaching, aerating, top dressing with about 10 cubic yards of loam, leveling with a machine, seed and Fertilizer. Landscaper said this will make the yard perfectly level (with grade away from house of course).

Financially I'm in an OK position, but we are a mainly 1 income household. I do have 6 months EF. I have a pension. We max Roth IRAs, but unable to max 403b. No employer match anyways so I'm OK with that.

Thoughts?
I think you meant 5 cubic yard right? Your guy has about 1200 or so of labor quoted there.

10 yards of high quality loam delivered is going to be between 300 and $450.

Personally I'd kill off the whole yard and get a nice seed blend and stick with it year after year. This would eliminate the dethatching need and provide near surface contact. You can do the kill yourself too. Round up in 2 rounds. 1 month before and another 2 weeks later. Then a low mow.

Depending where you are i'd look at Kentucky Blue Grass and Perieneal rye as well. . Barenbrug does some awesome professional seed designed to withstand disease, pests and lower water use. All of these are designed to self repair.

Bluegrass - https://www.barusa.com/professional-tur ... technology
Perirenal Rye - https://www.barusa.com/professional-tur ... l-ryegrass
Fescue - https://www.barusa.com/professional-tur ... all-fescue

Sod solutions, Johnston seed and other have this to order. I have found that seedsuperstore sells some very nice blends for sun and/or shade. I'd never let a contractor choose my seed.

Get another quote and wait until august to seed.

That landscaper said 10 cubic yards. I thought it was too much as well ! When I top dressed I calculated 5 yards was plenty, and it was.. He said it would be a shame to kill off everything, as I have a lot of green grass - and I do.. Still waiting on a 2nd opinion, but going to treat for grubs now and order some supplies to prepare for weed spraying. At a minimum I'll have a pro do the leveling and I'll get on a better schedule with herbicides, grub treatment, and maybe liquid aeration (clay soil).
"Great parenting sets the foundation for a better world"

Topic Author
RobLyons
Posts: 724
Joined: Tue Oct 31, 2017 12:55 pm

Re: Should I pay $1,600 for this lawn care fix?

Post by RobLyons » Wed May 27, 2020 7:40 am

livesoft wrote:
Tue May 26, 2020 1:33 pm
A telling photo or two or three might do wonders in helping improves the responses from the Peanut Gallery.

Absolutely.. I've never posted a pic here before could someone give me directions? I click the picture button and it gives the html but I'm not sure where to go from there.
"Great parenting sets the foundation for a better world"

Post Reply