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need to revitalize my lawn (1 Viewer)

Jeremy Illingworth

Supporting Actor
Nov 12, 2000
The previous owners didn't take very good care of the lawn and I would like to make it look nice. The back is the worst. They had a dog and the whole back yard is very patchy and covered with dandelions. I weed and feeded last year but with little improvement. How can I get grass growing and weeds dying?

The front is better and the only real problem is the well worn area that leads up to the side door, which is the only one I use. I've got some grass growing into a flower bed in the front. Can I transplant it into thin of bald patches?


Carl Miller

Mar 17, 2002

I had pretty much the same problem in the house we just bought. Looked into sod, too expensive. Learned this from my days working for a landscaper as a teenager.

If you don't have sod, this might be a good and inexpensive way to get the lawn looking nice. Basically cut out a patch of grass larger than the spot(s) to fill in. Till to get rid of weeds, then seed, then water, cover with straw and then cover with chicken wire.

The straw keeps the area damp which helps the seed to grow and grow quicker. It also helps keep weeds from growing and dandelions from seeding. Leave the straw and wire cover on for about a week, water every third day if necessary, remove the straw and wire, and you should have some good looking grass growing underneath that will fill out as it grows in.

Sounds like a lot work, especially with the new spray on seeding you can buy from a decent nursery, but it's really not much work at all. Best part about it is that it's inexpensive, and if you have a good nursery nearby, they can find a good seed match for the grass you have if you bring in a sample.

Hope this helps!

Greg Z

Stunt Coordinator
Sep 3, 1998
I use Scott's turf builder every 1 1/2 months. Not overnight but If you keep up with it it does help. I saw improvement the second year of using it. For the bare patches go to your local garden center and pick up "patch filler". I'm not sure who makes it. It looks like blue-green fluff. Follow the instructions, In about a month you should see new grass filling in.

Joseph DeMartino

Senior HTF Member
Jun 30, 1997
Real Name
Joseph DeMartino
You might consider putting in some paving stones in the area leading up to your side door, and transplanting the worn-but-growing sections of sod onto the bare spots.
My major lawn problem is the guys who live on either side of me. :) They do zero maintenance, aside from cutting the grass from time to time, and both lawns are infested with weeds. (One also has a tree in his backyard that he hasn't trimmed once since I moved here in December of 1999. It now looks like a 20-foot tall bush, with branches hanging down almost to the ground, and it covers a good part of what passes for his back yard. I have a similar tree behind my house and have to prune it at least once a month to keep the branches from creating an insect highway onto the roof, and to prevent it from interfering with my satellite dish - which was installed when it was a much smaller tree. The damn thing grows like a weed. Never saw a tree that grows this fast.)
I have to do three times as much work on my lawn to keep their problems from gaining a foot-hold. The biggest problem, being in Florida, is that the lawn is St. Augustine "grass" (which is basically a weed :) anyway - it is genetically related to a number of common weeds.) You can't use ordinary weed'n'feed on it, or commercial weed-killers for spot spraying, you always have to buy special products specifically formulated to kill the weeds without wiping out your lawn.
I've spent the past two days doing yard work, a good half of which wouldn't be necessary if these two would get off their butts once in awhile. Scott's Bonus S or Sta-Green St. Augustine weed and feed (which I prefer) are not that expensive, and don't take much time to apply to the postage-stamp-sized lots we have around here. The first day I was working out back I noticed a rectangular area in the yard of the guy with the incredible growing tree where the grass looked much thicker and greener, and which was almost free of dollar weed (which covered the entire rest of the yard.) I couldn't understand why that part looked so good until I realized that this was the spot where I probably crossed the property line to turn the spreader around the last time I was laying down the Sta-Green. :)
This time around I deliberately encroached on the property line, hoping to create a cordon sanitaire between his mess and my lawn. The weird thing is that he has dollar weed behind his house, but a tall, flowering weed all over his front lawn, the seeds of which blow across the driveway and create problems on mine. The guy on the other side of me is all dollar weed, without which there would be precious little green on his lawn at all. :)
BTW, brown and bare patches can be caused by insect activity or by various lawn diseases, including funguses. Part of my recent maintenance routine was spreading insecticide and anti-fungal products on the lawn as well. You might try doing some of this as well, and using a good weed and feed a couple of times a year (depending on the growing season where you live) according to the manufacturer's instructions.

Scott Merryfield

Senior HTF Member
Dec 16, 1998
Mich. & S. Carolina
Real Name
Scott Merryfield
Unless you decide to start your lawn over with completely new sod or seed, it will take some time to renew a poorly maintained lawn. Break up the soil in the bare patches, and also add soil to the patches if necessary before seeding.

As for weed control, I use Scott's Halts in the early spring for fertilizing and crabgrass control, then Scott's Turf Builder Plus 2 later on for fertilizing and normal weed control. In between, I use a weed puller to yank the rouge weeds out by the roots. I try to avoid fertilizing once the weather turns hot and dry in July/August to avoid burning out the lawn. It may take a couple of seasons to get everything looking nice again.

Another good product for weed control in your shrub/flower beds is Preen. It works similar to the Scott's Halts, in that it does not harm growth that is established, but keeps new seeds from germinating. I try to apply this a couple of times a year.

Luckily, all our neighbors also maintain their lawns, so I do not get a lot of weed creep. I had to battle this constantly at our last house, though. I used to use a weed killer spray, and would also spray part of the neighbor's lawn near us to create a buffer zone.


Stunt Coordinator
Sep 1, 2001
Jeremy, have a pro come out and dethatch your lawn. It will leave only the healthiest grass in the ground. Then, have the same guy aeurate(spell?)the lawn. This machine will pull thousands of plugs of soil out of the ground to allow your weed and feed(next step) to reach down into the soil and the remaining healthy grass roots. Then in a few months, seed the lawn. Dont forget to water too.....;)

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