Its been two years since the house is constructed. I Live in New England region, prior to the new house the land had been over grown with bushes, trees and crappy plants. After construction, builder spray seeded both front and backyard (lot size is about .5 acre). Unfortunately it rained a lot after that and most of the seed washed away, and required for another round of spray seed. We have seeded and reseeded at least 4 times in last two years and aerated it 3 times. However, there is a lot of clover that grows in the backyard, most of the lawn is dead grass. Soil is rocky. Moreover I have also set up couple of flower beds, and almost all of the ones that I bought, died in couple of months, some rose and lavender survived. I am at a loss on how to fix the lawn, especially given the fact that the area is large. I do have a male dog, I doubt he is playing a role in this, because certain areas he frequently urinates, tends to be fine with good patch of grass every season.

Problem 1, this issue is only happening in one area of the lawn, in the front of the house. Its not happening anywhere else. My dog is allowed everywhere in the yard, so it can't be the dog Problem 1, this issue is only happening in one area of the lawn, in the front of the house. Its not happening anywhere else. My dog is allowed everywhere in the yard, so it can't be the dog

Problem 2, this is the case throughout the backyard

Problem 2, this is the case throughout the backyard

  • I think you want a landscape architect. I would put in a giant pond, maybe not right for you. Commented May 4, 2020 at 21:05
  • 1
    The photo from the frontyard looks like a female dog's "mark". Are you in an urban area where a dogwalker's pet could visit your yard?
    – Jurp
    Commented May 4, 2020 at 23:33

2 Answers 2


Are you mowing short and raking up the clippings?

Clover is not a problem for us as we do not mind the lawn containing anything else besides grass in it (other than a few weeds like certain thistles and poison ivy).

We use a mulching lawn mower and do not remove the clippings and also mow as long as we can (this feeds the lawn and helps suppress weeds).

Your soil there looks sandy or more mineral based which means that compaction or aireation may not be an issue. If it does not hold much water you can apply a small amount of clay, but basically I'd just leave it as it is.

From the large green spots I would say that something is making extra deposits on your grass or perhaps that is where #2's got watered in a lot? I do not know.

I never recommend fertilizing a lawn as that means more work mowing and watering. Just keep it regularly mowed at a fairly high setting on the mower and let nature do it's thing. Your regular mowing will self-select for the grasses and other plants that can survive your treatment and weather. The reason I say this is that if you have dogs as pets you will not ever have a nice and perfect lawn. Accept that it will be less than perfect and find happiness in not caring. Animal control, weed control, watering and basically not treating it like much of a usable space will make it look picture perfect, but otherwise, reality is that the lawn will eventually get weeds, get a bit beat up from animals or people playing...

We have deer making deposits on our lawn in areas and it looks much the same with spots of green extra growth. Beyond that we also have a lot of diversity of plants in our remaining bits of lawn and whatever the rabbits, deer, groundhogs, etc. eat of it does actually provide some weeding.

Specific garden beds will need specific questions. Different plants and locations may need different considerations.

At least having been there a few years you can see how the lay of the land is and how your water flows after heavy rains. Those are good observations to keep in mind when thinking of future gardens.

If you plan on growing vegetables put the vegetable beds as close to the house as possible (not wanting the light being blocked by much) and likely you will also want to plan a suitable fence to keep animals/dogs out. 6ft is minimum here to keep deer out - fine enough mesh to keep rabbits and other creatures out too. The closer to the house a vegetable garden is the more likely it will be taken care of and problems noticed and addressed.

Good luck. :)


Get the local utility people to come in and mark where their stuff is underground. Then you can work around that and will know if that is connected. If you are on a septic system get the builder to show where the tank and other components are. Mark with little flags.

Then you can move on to taking soil samples for mason jar tests. Take a large mason jar, dig into the soil where the grass is good, take out a couple of cupfuls of soil, put in mason jar, add water to flood the soil completely, shake vigorously and allow to settle naturally. Repeat same process with soil where the grass does not grow. Note the differences in the soil profiles displayed by the mason jars. The soil profile will show components like stones, sand, silt and clay. Note the difference in soil profile comparing the good lawn sample with the bad. Keep the soil profile tests to show to any gardener people you may speak with regarding corrective measures. They will be impressed.

It sounds like your builder buried the original topsoil under subsoil excavated during construction and sprayed the seed on top of subsoil, which is not very effective. See if he will confess to this. The remedy may be a number of loads of good topsoil and seeding yet again.

  • Maybe you should mention to close the jar before shaking. Just in case.
    – Johannes_B
    Commented May 6, 2020 at 3:40

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