My land has no grass growing. Its full of stickers and other weeds. Don't know what they're called. Do I need a Tiller for the area where I want grass seeds to grow? I'm a widow with limited income, and could not afford to have that done by a professional. I only like to have grass growing just in front of my house. Could I just throw grass seed out on the area where I want grass to grow? Would it choke out those stickers and other weeds? I'm 77 years old and not in the best of health. Is there a easy way for me to get a small patch of real grass to grow and enjoy walking on it, without having those annoying stickers stuck to my shoes? Could that be accomplished? I live 23 miles going South out of Abilene, TX. Since my husband died, it has been my dream to have a always green patch of grass to walk on. You would make my wish and my dream come true, if you could tell me, that it is possible. Thank you for reading my maybe impossible dream. Sincerely, G. Hammer.
One way of doing this would be to lay down thick clear plastic over the area that you want the grass. If you leave it in place in summer for 6 weeks it will kill everything under the plastic. This is called soil solarization.
However, you will need someone to mow or scythe the field first, or graze some animals to do this.
Once all the weeds are dead you can sew your grass seeds after removing the plastic. Otherwise you're talking about herbicides to prepare the land.
Hopefully you will have some one to mow the grass, and you might need to level the area before seeding but that's not absolutely necessary.
I think stormy has some good suggestions. I'll add a couple that might not be as properly done, but might be worth a try if you can't or don't want to do a lot of work.
One thing to try is to just mow your property regularly. We have a pretty descent "freedom yard" which basically just means that what grows well in a certain part of the yard is what's in that part of the yard. We've tried paying a guy to till the whole yard, put down seed and straw and watered it till grass started coming out, but like stormy and graham chiu mentioned, we didn't kill the old grass and weeds and they choked out most of the new seed.
You should bother tilling unless your amending the soil. If you have clay, like we do, it'll just compact back down. You have to add organic matter in it to make tilling worth while. You could have truck loads of organic matter brought in, but I wouldn't suggest that. What I would suggest is looking on craigslist and find someone giving away horse poop or selling it cheaply. You'll have to find someone to transport it, but this is awesome for fixing a patchy or bare yard. My uncles property looks amazing, because he spent years cleaning stalls and dumping the mixture of moisture holding shaving and horse manure on any patch or bald spots. You can till it in or just spread it on top. Worms will eventually turn it into the soil. It will also typically contain seeds from dropped has and digested grass.
I'd just have it spread out and then maybe get some of that grow anywhere grass. It doesn't really grow anywhere, they just mix multiple types of seed in the bag and what takes ins what grows in that particular area.
So even if you do nothing but mowing, you'd be surprised how it helps. Weeds are usually pretty lanky, trying to get a leg up on the plants around them. Grass is happy to grow short as long as you don't cut more than about a third of the length of the blades off at once. My highest deck setting is 4", so I don't let it get longer than 6". Then when I run it at 4", 1/3rd of it is cut. The grass will get dense and choke out the weeds. This growth time will vary. We have a lot of fescue here and it grows more when it's cooler, so it'll grow tons in the spring and then slow down in the hot summer. So I mow every week in spring and fall, but every two weeks in the summer.
Like stormy suggested, sod is also a good alternative. It looks great right away. Stormy told you the correct way to install it, but my family and others I've talked to have just throw a little garden soil down, thrown the sod down, and walk on it to press it in, then water it in. It has taken fine.
You said you wanted a small patch and it really depends on how small you want it. The smaller it is, the more you can baby it. It depends on how much you want to do yourself and how much money you have to put into it. If you want instant results to enjoy, hire someone to do it. If you aren't in a rush, do it in patches.
You will have to water if you want a good looking yard all summer. Be preemptive with things like treating fire ants, so they don't destroy your nice patch of grass. Again, I just recommend throwing horse poop with the shavings where you want grass. Preferably about 4" thick as it'll get thinner as it compacts and breaks down. Water an inch a week if it doesn't rain. Keep it mowed to keep the weeds down and the grass will choke out he weeds. Our yard isn't a show piece, but it looks pretty decent and doesn't have any bare patches and it's all good to walk on. If you just have a small area, you can have a show yard. Good luck.
I like Graham's solution to BEGIN to prepare an area so you could have a nice grassy space. You will have to mow once per week. Fertilize 3 to 4 times per year with appropriate seasonal fertilizer formulation. You will have to apply 1" of water once per week during the growing season. You will have to aerate once per year, easily shared with neighbors.
There are other alternatives than grass/lawn. Need to know your zone and soil type. If growing plants was easy we'd all be successful gardeners. I would find out exactly how much professionals would charge to install a 20 or 30 foot diameter space of soft, cultivated grasses. Sod truly is instant grass and will inhibit weed seeds beneath. You have to grade, rake, roll (compact), grade and rake and roll some more before sod is installed or even seeded (seeding is best done professionally. They spray mulch and seed and are usually very successful.
An area made into a 4" thick pea gravel informal patio would be a great very inexpensive alternative. You could just dump it on an area or do it correctly by excavating the top 4" of soil, edging with 2X4s and stakes, laying landscape fabric and then install 4" of pea gravel. Like deep sand, pea gravel is tough to travel quickly through. But yummy for bare feet, a couple of adirondack chairs and a little table. Surrounded by 3 to 5 multitrunked small trees such as Amelanchier or Sambucus or a few of the maples. These make up the 'walls and ceiling' of your informal outdoor space. It costs nothing to get contractors out to give you their opinions and a bid. Very educational. Do not act like you are destitute. Less said at this stage the better.
Get some ideas and go through the motions to make it happen. We can guide. You might find spending a bit of money on your landscape will increase the value of your home and property and give you an outdoor room where you can escape and enjoy the noise of nature.
Leave the rest alone. If you control something in nature you are completely responsible for upkeep and maintenance and health and pruning...forever.