I inherited this Picasso last year when my wife and I bought our first home. Now, there is plenty of potential, but first and foremost I want to remove all the vegetation I don't want, which includes the ivy in the shot above (but I did see the top answer hereand will be trying that later), and I need to fill in the spots in the lawn where grass looks like it cannot grow, even if it wanted to.
And those are just small samples, representative of the rest of the yard. In the very first picture at the top, At the bottom there is a rocky patch of dirt that's covered with moss, and the dirt patch next to it is actually 1+ inches below the level of the lawn, though you may not be able to tell by looking at the picture.
This is Michigan, and I'm not sure how to tell if I have a cool season lawn or a warm season one. When it comes to landscaping, I don't know topsoil from bottomsoil, but I do my own yard work (mowing, edging, raking, etc.) and I have some diy skills and will be performing the work myself. When we moved in last July (in the middle of a heatwave) I dethatched the whole lawn, but from reading this site it may not have been the right time and I may have done more harm than good.
I know that specifically, I have to do the following things
Plant new grass The area with rocky dirt and moss needs new grass. I don't know the procedure for prepping the lawn for seeding/sodding, or under what circumstances I should seed vs. sod. I have a feeling I'll need to till those rough areas, but I don't know if I should just dig out that rough dirt and replace it with (top?)soil. Also, I'm not sure how to level off the trough in the front yard.
Weed Removal I've been looking at various weed and feed products that I could use to kill weeds and fertilize the grass all in one fell swoop. I don't know if that's the most effective solution to kill weeds and preserve grass, however.
Remove old mulch Some plant beds also have old mulch that hasn't broken down for whatever reason. I don't know the first thing about mulch or putting mulch down beside the fact I'll need a rake.
Can't believe it's been almost a year since I started this project! A second kid, additional year of marriage, and 5 more college courses under my belt later, progress has been made.
First off, the Ivy's been removed, the ditch from picture 1 has been filled in, the trees in pic 1 have been cut down. There was a monster holley tree I didn't show in my original post with some ornamental decorations, so for reference
And that's all been removed. Toward the end of last August, it looked a little something like this:
I had an insanely busy schedule during this time, so my wife 'forced' me to pay someone to lay sod down for a function that was coming up, instead of my original (much cheaper) plan of planting grass seed.
I'll post a picture later,
I didn't take one back when they laid it but I don't like it one bit. Everywhere in the above picture where there's dirt they laid sod, and took no care to make it even with the existing lawn, and there's a giant seam everywhere the sod meets the existing lawn. The sod guy said it'll settle eventually, but personally I think they did a crappy job. I came across an article (maybe a question on here) that I can't seem to find now that mentioned different heights people lay sod, some under existing lawn height, some at, some above (for settling reasons). I'm still not completely convinced.
What's immediately next is planting some small shurbs alongside the Japanese Dwarf Maple, and lay mulch down around that area. This is also the time for overseeding, so there's that. Weeds have been cropping back up, those dirt areas up toward the house were wretched with weeds last year, partly because it was bare dirt for a while before the sod came (end of August until late October), now they're creeping their way back in. Time to lock and load.
The next step as far as that sod situation goes is probably damage control and replace the rest of the lawn with sod myself, to get a nice even setup. Maybe I'll try wetting the edges and tamping it down somewhat first and see what happens. My wife suggests I should cut it, and it'll look better once I do, we'll see. It may wind up a question on gardening.SE
After that, it's off to the sides and back.