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  1. #1
    Bronze Member
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    Mar 2012
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    Nickleville, Pa
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    Mahindra 5035HST

    Default Rough yard, best way to smooth it out?

    My yard is pretty rough and I want to smooth it out and just not sure where or how to begin. I've read that spreading thin layers of dirt and raking it will do it, but I've got a lot of yard, easily 5 acres (at least the part I consider yard and that gets mowed). The rest I consider "field" and it gets the bush hog treatment on my Mahindra 5035HST. That'd take me 2 years to do, lol!

    I've read about using a roller, but short of some monstrous, 10,000lb thing, I don't see those little water filled ones towed behind the riding mower really doing much to help.

    I do have areas where I absolutely just need to drop a load of dirt from the tractor FEL to even out the dips expansive low areas, but the flat areas too are just rough. I don't think a proper yard was ever planted here. My house was built in 1900 and I think they just let whatever grew here become the yard. Lots of different grasses and weeds and I'm pretty sure the yard was never properly smoothed out. It doesn't look bad when mowed, but boy, I take a beating on my riding mower.

    I've even considered taking my box blade and just tearing up the entire yard, smooth it all out and plant all new grass, but that would be pretty pricey and very time consuming.

    Would running a chain harrow over it smooth it? Is the thin layers of dirt the best idea? I dunno what to do. I'm kind of afraid to run the 5035 on the main yard because it is so heavy, it would compact the ground under the tires too much (it does in the field, at least).

  2. #2
    Platinum Member
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    Feb 2012
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    Germanton, NC
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    Kubota MX5100F IH McCormick Farmall 140, Massey Ferguson 135

    Default Re: Rough yard, best way to smooth it out?

    I've had the same problem from various events over the years - a water line and power line buried to the new shop, downspout drains that needed replacing etc. So I have some rough spots.

    I have found that by dumping clean soil free of roots, rocks etc in an area with the FEL then using the box scrape without the teeth to spread the soil works well. That way I don't have to destroy all the existing grass but can fill in the low spots. Over time this method has worked for me. You can do fairly large areas this way if you have a supply of soil.

    You might try this method close to your house then tear up, smooth and replant areas further away from your house
    Beware of the barrenness of a busy life....Socrates

  3. #3
    Platinum Member KYErik's Avatar
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    Dec 2005
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    502
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    Kentucky
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    1963 Ford 4000, 1943 Case SC, Case 530CK backhoe

    Default Re: Rough yard, best way to smooth it out?

    5 acres is a lot of yard to smooth out. I don't think that it will be possible to save your grass- the bumpy sod will have to be broken up.

    If there aren't any trees/bushes and you are in a rural area, you could either borrow/rent a disk or hire a farmer with a large tractor and disk to disk it all up in an hour or two (pay him $75-100 an hour if he lives close by- it shouldn't take over 2 hours if there are no trees)- or let the farmer raise soybeans on it for free for this summer/fall with the stipulation that they must disk/level it all before they plant (if they no till it, that won't really help you). Just keep the tractor off your septic tank/lines.
    "Attitudes are contagious; is yours worth catching?"

  4. #4
    Veteran Member Tig's Avatar
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    Oct 2006
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    The County, Ontario, Canada
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    Kubota, B7100HST-D

    Default Re: Rough yard, best way to smooth it out?

    In my much smaller yard I have been rehabbing it one area at a time. Scrape the high spots with my modified BB
    Grader mod for BB
    And then fill low spots, once again grading with the modified BB.
    I can make an area as flat as a pool table. Unfortunately by the time I'm done fussing, it's as hard as a pool table too.
    Whatever you do, make sure water drains nicely away from the house all year long. I've seen many people top dress lawns to the point of making the house too low. Then the mildew problems start.
    Steve

    The best things in life are not things.

  5. #5
    Veteran Member jeffinsgf's Avatar
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    Springfield, MO
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    JD 4410

    Default Re: Rough yard, best way to smooth it out?

    Your bumps are probably fescue clumps, rather than actual soil unevenness. Five acres is a lot of yard. I landscaped mine down to about an acre next to the house, and then a wildflower meadow between the yard and the road. On the yard, I treated the entire area with glysophate, then used a rented Rockhound to pick the rocks, remove the dead vegetation, and even the grade. Then I seeded and watered like crazy. It was a ton of work, but several years later, I have the nicest yard in the area.

    Watch your timing. You're almost too late for a Spring planting in your area. Fall really is a better time for lawn renovation anywhere in the northern tier. You could start tearing things up in August and shoot for seeding in early September.
    4410 ePR, 3rd SCV, Skid Plates, TuffTop Canopy
    430 FEL, 48 BH, MX-5, Bush Hog Chipper, and more.

    455, 60" deck, MC-519, 3pt hitch

  6. #6
    Platinum Member
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    Nov 2012
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    mansfield,Il
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    john deere

    Default Re: Rough yard, best way to smooth it out?

    Quote Originally Posted by jeffinsgf View Post
    Your bumps are probably fescue clumps, rather than actual soil unevenness. Five acres is a lot of yard. I landscaped mine down to about an acre next to the house, and then a wildflower meadow between the yard and the road. On the yard, I treated the entire area with glysophate, then used a rented Rockhound to pick the rocks, remove the dead vegetation, and even the grade. Then I seeded and watered like crazy. It was a ton of work, but several years later, I have the nicest yard in the area.

    Watch your timing. You're almost too late for a Spring planting in your area. Fall really is a better time for lawn renovation anywhere in the northern tier. You could start tearing things up in August and shoot for seeding in early September.
    Exactly . 90% of the time it is clumps of grass , whatever . The best results will come with a careful overhaul this fall .

  7. #7
    Super Star Member Egon's Avatar
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    Nova Scotia, Canada

    Default Re: Rough yard, best way to smooth it out?

    If you want a smooth level lawn cultivate it, use a levelling drag and then reseed.
    Egon
    50 years behind the times
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    Worn out skin bag filled with rattlin bones

  8. #8
    Bronze Member
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    Nickleville, Pa
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    Mahindra 5035HST

    Default Re: Rough yard, best way to smooth it out?

    Quote Originally Posted by jeffinsgf View Post
    Your bumps are probably fescue clumps, rather than actual soil unevenness. Five acres is a lot of yard. I landscaped mine down to about an acre next to the house, and then a wildflower meadow between the yard and the road. On the yard, I treated the entire area with glysophate, then used a rented Rockhound to pick the rocks, remove the dead vegetation, and even the grade. Then I seeded and watered like crazy. It was a ton of work, but several years later, I have the nicest yard in the area.

    Watch your timing. You're almost too late for a Spring planting in your area. Fall really is a better time for lawn renovation anywhere in the northern tier. You could start tearing things up in August and shoot for seeding in early September.
    Definitely not grass clumps, I've checked. It is the ground underneath. Some of it is animal damage at some point in time, so is long term water run off, some of it just lumping, uneven ground. I have quite the missed bag for sure.

    I dunno, part of me says grade it all smooth and reseed (just do it and be done with it), but no idea what all that seed will cost. I'll have to ponder this one for a while (not in a hurry).

  9. #9
    Elite Member
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    Lee, IL
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    John Deere 1070

    Default Re: Rough yard, best way to smooth it out?

    I have been kicking around ideas for this for the last couple years as well.

    A local seed and turf dealer told me 300 lbs per acre is ideal... The stuff they were selling was around 3 or 4 dollars for general purpose seed, and they would sell "floor sweeping" which would end up being a mix of whatever from broken bags etc. and may include mouse dropping for $1.25 per pound . And I thought scotts was expensive.

    I picked up a 2 bottom plow from an auction a couple years ago, then also a soil pulverizer (gill). I plowed my garden over in the fall last year and intended to rototill it this spring, but I borrow a tiller from a guy at work and never got time to go and pick it up, so I ran over the previously plowed garden with the pulverizer just to experiment. I was actually quite pleased... it made it very flat and level, without the damaging effects of a rototiller, though not the nice "fluffy" soil. Looking at those results made me contemplate doing the whole yard that way and I think going over it with a roller after seeding would actually make for a pretty smooth yard. I tried the pulverizer in the past over the grass and didn't get much from it, but loosening it with the plow first helped. Using a disc beforehand would probably give good results also. I finally found a place in my area that would rent a 3 pt disc and may try that because it would be easier to smooth I think.

  10. #10
    Super Member
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    Deere 110tlb, 4520, x749, L130

    Default Re: Rough yard, best way to smooth it out?

    Quote Originally Posted by Ram4x4 View Post
    Definitely not grass clumps, I've checked. It is the ground underneath. Some of it is animal damage at some point in time, so is long term water run off, some of it just lumping, uneven ground. I have quite the missed bag for sure.

    I dunno, part of me says grade it all smooth and reseed (just do it and be done with it), but no idea what all that seed will cost. I'll have to ponder this one for a while (not in a hurry).
    I have had good success with K31 tall fescue stays green about 10 months of the year, some years have been good all winter long. Just checked it at Tractor Supply for $57.99/50 lbs. I also use Scotts starter fertilizer 24-25-04 which works well for my locale as I need the phosphates. No need for lime in my locale as my ph started out about 7,4 to 8.0 depending on the sample location. Seed @300lbs/acre and the fertilizer 125 lbs/acre cost about $500/acre right now, I have seen the seeds and fertilizer discounted about 25% in the off season so you may be able to cut this down to less than $400/acre. I have started mixing in perrenial rye where the need for four season green is needed and so far it has worked out well. Thinking I will overseed my lawn with the P rye this fall.

    I find that tilling and running a landplane grader scraper help to smooth up most lawn areas the best. I will generally plane the ground untill I can see and feel how smooth it is with the tractor crossing the yard at high speed. I then run a spike tooth harrow, broadcast seeder with multiple trips to insure uniform coverage and run the harrow to cover the seeds. I use a water filled roller to finish the job and then add water.

    Here's a picture of my lawn using the above methods and a customers lawn with before and after results.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails -house-002-jpg   -taylor-seedbed-1-31-2911-a   -taylor-lawn-002-jpg  

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