Monday, November 18, 2013

I Grew Some Great Grass

The house painting project made me neglect the yard pretty much all summer. It was on its own, like an unsupervised wild child. We mowed. Kinda. I was glad for the perennial border.

So I didn't really appreciate the gas company deciding this was the year to dig up my street easement to monkey with the gas line. My property was already looking shabby enough without their extra help, thank-you-very-much.

Last year, my street was torn up while the city replaced the curbs. Then they tore up the street again to resurface the asphalt. It all looked very nice when (finally) done.

This spring, the gas company decided, after all that earthwork had been put back in place and the street resurfaced, that they really needed to dig it all back up again to bury the gas line deeper. Because they didn't check that while they had the ground open last year. Of course.

It's sorta why I'd like to hand the gas utility the 2013 Ass Backwards Award. Keep your acceptance speech under 30 seconds, and in keeping with the theme please come to the podium before I've opened the big white envelope. 

When they were done, sometime in late April, they threw some rye grass seed down on the fresh dirt and promised me sod. Fine. That sounded more than fair, and so I expected some-- soon. Grass growing season is early spring, when the temperature is still cool and there is some rain. 

Weeks later, in June, at the beginning of what was a long jag of super-hot, super-dry weather, I come home to find that someone has slapped down already-half-dead sod on my easement, and had also inexplicably tilled up a square in my front yard and sodded that too, for no reason anyone could explain to me. 

While I watered with a good will, it already wasn't healthy, the ground wasn't prepared properly, and I wasn't home to babysit it through 90+ degree weather. Pretty soon it looked like this: 


Things were already looking pretty down-market with patchy bare siding and ladder scaffolding

So, ah, no. It didn't help. But with a droughty summer, doing anything about it was pointless. I cringed every time I drove up to my own house, but ignored it until the weather got cooler. 

In late September I tore up the dead sod, threw a couple of bags of purchased topsoil on the area to make it even with the rest of the turf, raked it smooth, and seeded it. It wasn't hard, but I was grouchy. If it had been filmed it would have been 30 minutes of me grumbling under my breath and pitching yard tools about. 

It only took a couple of weeks and some regular appointments with garden hose to have lovely little grass babies sprouting up all over. 

Right now, the same patch looks like this: 

The line between old turf and new is roughly diagonal through the photo from upper left to lower right, and also shows how nicely (thank goodness) everything recovered from the drought conditions this summer. 

I left the easement strip undone however, and it will be waiting for me next spring. Since it is next to the driveway where I put my garbage can, I'm considering some pavers and gravel bedding instead of grass to make it better for high traffic. 

Unless of course, we have more trenching to be done. It's always possible. 


  1. Wow, that sod looked awful :-) Good for you for fixing it.

    1. Yep. It was totally crispy. And I feel so much less---lawn pun coming--- crabby-- now that it's looking better. :)