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Reclaiming Your Backyard: How To Replace a Lawn

by Brett Freeman, All About Lawns Columnist

If you feel like you do everything right year after year, but your lawn still turns out wrong, then it's time to consider starting over. Replacing your lawn might seem a daunting task, but, done right, the time and aggravation saved will make it well worth the effort.

How would you like to improve your lawn?
  • Make it greener
  • Eliminate patches
  • Less weeds
  • Make it thicker
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Destroy the Enemy!
The first step in replacing your lawn involves getting revenge. You get to kill all that grass that never grew worth a darn in the first place and all the weeds that did. Spray the lawn area with a grass and weed killer, being careful not to use an extended release product. The last thing you want to do is replace a lawn that grew badly with one that won't grow at all.

Break It Up
After spraying, wait a week or so to allow the herbicide to do its job. Thoroughly till your lawn--tiller rental is around $50 in most areas--then remove as much of the dead grass and weeds as possible.

Preparation is Key
The best way to determine what your soil needs is to do a soil test. Testing kits are available at most garden stores for about $20 and will tell you exactly what to add to your soil. Work your recommended fertilizer and amendments deep into the soil with the tiller, and then rake to the soil to get it smooth and level.

Seed or Sod
It's easier and less expensive to seed than sod, and you can have a healthy looking lawn within a few weeks. Seeding works best in fall but can also be effective in early spring. From mid-spring on, planting sod is the better choice. By summer, you want your lawn to be thick enough to choke out weeds, with a deep root network that will enable it to withstand hotter and drier weather.

About the Author
Brett Freeman is a freelance journalist. He also owns a landscaping and irrigation company in North Carolina. Previously he has worked as a beat reporter, a teacher, and for a home improvement company, and he used to own a bar/live music venue.

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