My yard is almost 50% weeds. I'm planning to renovate my lawn by killing it off and growing a brand new lawn.

Are the following the right sequence of steps ?

  1. Apply non-selective herbicide. Wait for 3-4 weeks.
  2. Core aerate the lawn
  3. Make soil amendments (I've sent soil samples to the lab for tests)
  4. Reseed lawn
  5. Cover the new seeds with a layer of top soil
  6. Water the lawn every day till the seeds germinate.
  7. Mow the lawn after the grass grows 3-4 inches.
  • Well its not what I'd recommend, but then I'm in the UK, and we don't have the range of 'lawn' grasses available here that you might grow there. I'd lift the lot, dig it over getting out all weed roots, level and lay new turf (sods) here... but that might not be much use to you, depending on what grass you're growing.
    – Bamboo
    Mar 29 '16 at 12:43
  • By 'lifting the lot , digging it over and leveling' , are you referring to tilling the soil and grading it ?
    – anset
    Mar 29 '16 at 13:04
  • 1
    Lifting the grass that's present by deturfing is what I mean, then digging what was under the turf to remove weed roots and generally improve beneath, ready for new turf to root into it. Not sure what you mean by 'grading' but after digging, its usual to walk all over it on your heels to get out soft spots, then rake it over so there's a fine tilth on top, let it settle for a week or two, then turf. depends how big the area is as to how practical this is though - you can get a machine to do the deturfing.
    – Bamboo
    Mar 29 '16 at 13:14
  • 1
    Grading I think means to remove high and low spots, and to establish a gradient that takes water away from the house. Mar 29 '16 at 17:15
  • Timing is important. Soil amendments may take time to integrate into the soil depending on what is required. Aeration is best done in the fall where new weed seeds in the air are less. If you seed in the summer you need to obsess over watering, one missed hot summer day can set you back, where as seeds placed end of fall through winter have time to settle into the soil and with the moist conditions in the spring they have a better chance of taking hold.
    – treeNinja
    Mar 29 '16 at 17:32

Using glyphosate only kills actively growing plants. Not the seeds of which there are millions...or lots 'n lots! I would not use herbicide. I would use SOD not seed! That puts a barrier to the sun so any seed will not be able to germinate. I would rent a SOD CUTTER. After mowing as low (called scalping) as possible I'd take up the top 1 or 2 of roots and soil. I always use my old sod to beef up new plant beds turning the sod over and covering with 4-6" of top soil.

I would also include ROLLING to compact the soil, rake/grade, and re-roll. After installing the sod (look this up as well) I'd also roll the installed sod. Seed is fine for large areas but sod is worth a few extra bucks if you have lots of weed seed! Tilling is not at all recommended for the lawn bed. Depending on your top soil depth you might have to bring in GOOD topsoil to cover at least 2" deep (width X length divided by 81 divided by 2 will give you yardage to order). Make dang sure you rake, grade and roll and do it again! Decide where the water should drain and slope towards that area.

Read all you can about lawns. Very much a gnarly creature that can suck up money if you don't understand about mowing height and watering! Mow no lower than 3" for cool season grasses! Water deeply and allow to dry before mowing again! Use an extended release EXPENSIVE organic fertilizer at least 3X per season!! And the only time to do aeration is after you've got a vigorously growing lawn that is at least a year old...aerate by pulling PLUGS of soil and leaving them on your lawn to disintegrate back with no help from you...at least once per year. The mowing, fertilizing and watering is CRITICAL for you to understand. I bag my clippings on smaller lawns large lawns I mow at least 2X per week and allow the clippings to disintegrate. Mulching mowers I still do not think work well. The expensive fertilizers actually add this super bacteria to help decompose clippings and old roots so that you don't have to worry about dethatching ever. (Dr. Earth Lawn Fertilizer just blew me away with the results)!

Do sod, not seed. Seriously. Instant beautiful lawn. No roundup or herbicides. Keep that grass at 3" watered properly and fertilized (just enough not too much), aerated once per year...you won't have to worry about redoing all this work again!

  • Also, removing all roots is just not necessary. If one rips up their lawn and piles it to use as plant beds the roots will root, decompose. Just make sure there is 2-4" of topsoil and/or mulch to keep the sun and warmth from allowing the roots to grow. Think of these roots, thatch even top growth as organic matter. Organic matter is great and smothering it in topsoil and a great mulch will prevent any growth. It decomposes and feeds your soil which is far more important. Don't throw stuff away when you can use it right where it is.
    – stormy
    Apr 14 '16 at 21:03

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