Landscape, Lawn & Yard

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Growing grass from seed

  • Level of difficulty: Hard
  • Estimated time taken: 30 minutes
  • Tools required:
  1. Grass seed
  2. Fertilizer
  3. Soil
  4. Water

How to: Step 1: Prepare area

  1. Grass needs to be touching soil or it will not germinate
  2. Remove any large rocks or debris from the area

Step 2: Apply the seed

  • Shoot for around 10-15 seeds per square inch

Step 3: Fertilize

  • Follow instructions that come with fertilizer

Step 4: Cover up

  • Apply a thin layer of dirt over the seed and fertilizer

Step 5: Water Water Water

  • Don't let all your hard work go to waste. Water at least two or three times a day with a mist, ensuring the soil stays moist through out the day

Step 6: Continue watering until seeds are well established

  • Once seeds have sprouted through the soil, you should be able to return to watering your lawn as normal

Example Video:

Growing grass with sod

  • Level of difficulty: Hard
  • Estimated time taken: 30 minutes
  • Tools required:
  1. Tiller
  2. Shovel
  3. Rake

How to: Step 1: Till your lawn

  1. These can be rented from your local hardware store
  2. Till the entire area that will have sod laid over it
  3. Tilling loosens the dirt up to allow the new grass' roots to bond easier with the existing soil

Step 2: Level the area

  1. Using a shovel and rake, level the area to your liking so your grass is not uneven

Step 3: Sprinklers/Irrigation

  • Now would be the time to install any sprinklers or irrigation

Step 4: Apply fertilizer throughout

  • This stimulates root growth in the new sod

Step 5: Lay sod

  1. Cover entire area with sod
  2. Trim any edges

Step 6: Water sod

  • Continue to water about 3 times a day to keep roots moist

Example video:

Maintain grass

  • Level of difficulty: Easy
  • Estimated time taken: 30 minutes
  • Tools required:
  1. Water
  2. Lawn mower
  3. Weed puller

How to: Step 1: Water regularly

  • Lawns need 1 inch of water a week

Step 2: Mow regularly

  1. Mow at a high level
  2. Mowing at a high level produces tall grass which provides more shade for your soil, keeps your lawn cooler, and prevents weeds from germinating

Step 3: Weed regularly

  • Weeds are the cancer of your lawn and can spread like the plague. Remove weeds as soon as you see them.

Step 4: Aerating

  • This allows water and fertilizer to reach the roots

Example Video:

Stamped Concrete

Stamped concrete is concrete that is patterned and/or textured or embossed to resemble brick, slate, flagstone, stone, tile, wood, and various other patterns and textures. Stamped concrete is commonly used for patios, sidewalks, driveways, pool decks, and interior flooring.

For cost refer to

Planting trees

When you dig and see the cable line underneath call 811 to get help. The minimum depth for water, power and gas lines is 2’. Power lines can easily traced all the way to the meter with a metal detector. It doesn't work for water lines because there is no metal in the pipe to trace.

Privacy Trees

Arborvitae are very easy to maintain in the Pacific Northwest.

Some trees may grow very big in a few years potentially interfering with power lines, roofs, foundations, and other structures. The tree roots could also ruthlessly aggressive, and mess up drainage (like sewer pipes).


Artificial Lawn

Artificial lawns have a few pros as below.

  • Looks nice
  • No maintenance - no watering or mowing is required.
  • Money on buying mower, fertilizer, weedkiller and so on is saved
  • Good drainage
  • Playing sports will not damage the grass

Artificial lawns have a few cons as below.

  • The upfront cost is very high.
  • It is not real grass so you can't get the smell of freshly cut grass
  • It has a lifespan of 10-25 years

Irrigation System

You might need to do a backflow testing for irrigation system since the non potable water may backflow and mix with the public potable water supply. There is a RPPB (Reduced Pressure Principle Backlog) assembly installed between the clean and non potable system – e.g. between the domestic water and the sprinkler system. The RPPB component has to be tested once a year to make sure that they are still effective. Otherwise the public water supply may be shut off. The testing can be done by a local contractor for tens of dollars.

Backyard Play Set

Make sure to contact your HOA or city about the safety codes. e.g. it may require the woodchips to be 1 foot deep (compacted) and the woodchip area must extend 2x the height of the swings in all directions.

Weed Control

  • crabgrass

If it is not too many you can pull them by hand or use a weeder. Using chemicals to treat it regularly is another way to control that.


Experiences shared by trusted users

Landscape design for front and back yard including almost everything, good work costing about 27K, in Oct, 2014 (a private review worthy of login to see)

An interesting story of DIY moving trees and repairing damaged Comcast cable (call811 somehow didn't work), in May, 2015