Renovating your lawn is a drastic step. It is a decision not to be taken lightly and will require substantial amount of planning and work. Renovating your lawn should be the last option if you already have some established turf that is the type of turf you want. However, renovating your lawn may be the best option if you want to completely change turf type or your lawn is uneven or unlevel and the existing turf is not healthy and very thin.
In this short blog post I will explore when you should and should not renovate your lawn; however, in an upcoming how-to article, I will explain the planning process, and the steps to take if you ultimately decide that renovating your lawn is the way you want to go.
Deciding to Renovate Your Lawn
Starting over with your lawn is a serious decision. Renovating your lawn mean that you will kill the existing lawn, remove the dead grass and then re-establish a lawn from either seed or sod. The new turf type usually is a new turf type, but depending on the reason you chose to renovate the lawn it does not have to be.
The first thing you need to do before you decide to renovate your lawn is to evaluate the current condition of your lawn and identify the problems it has. That is exactly what I did. Even though my lawn was covered in weeds and full of bare spots that made the lawn look terrible and sick, what I discovered was the turf type tall fescue I did have was healthy. The soil was sick.
When I fired the commercial lawn care service that destroyed my lawn it was mid-spring and the weather was still relatively cool. But one thing I have learned after living ten years in Huntsville, Alabama is that the weather can turn quickly very fast. It can be cool in the mid to low 60's for a week and then overnight we could have temperatures in the mid 80's. This was concerning to me because since turf type tall fescue is a cool season grass, it loves cool weather and pretty much stops growing when the weather gets hot.
And I was right. For the next week the weather is going to be in the low 90's and not a drop of rain is in the forecast for the next 10 days. Had I sodded, that sod would have died. There wouldn't be enough water in the State of Alabama that would have kept seed alive as well. So, I am sticking to my plan and getting my soil right and killing the weeds in my lawn.
Once I get the soil right and kill all of the weeds, I will start top dressing my yard using compost to level out the yard as best as I can. All plans point to a September aeration (triple pass) with a heavy over seeding. Once that is done, my yard should be a full, healthy lawn. A commercial lawn care service will never touch my lawn again.
But with all that said, renovating your lawn in the Fall is the best way to go if there is no existing lawn from which you want to build on. Renovating your lawn is also almost mandatory if you want to change your turf type. For instance if you want to go from fescue to Bermuda grass because your lawn gets full sun, then a Spring renovation is the way to go since Bermuda does bet when its hot and gets full sun.
You want to renovate just prior to the prime growing season for your turf. It gives you the highest rate of success and gets your lawn established quickly and that will prevent a bunch of headaches and preventative maintenance later.
If you want to watch a YouTube series of videos, I recommend you watch Pete from GCI Turf renovate part of his fescue lawn and convert it into a Kentucky Blue Grass one:
Is starting over the best decision for you? Take a look at your lawn and decide which turf type you want. I would recommend that if you have the turf type you want already in your lawn that you concentrate on getting your soil right and ensure the conditions are optimal for that turf type to thrive. If you want to change turf type, then renovation may be your best option.