Sunday, April 28, 2019

Time to Stop Mowing the Lawn

Twenty-eight years ago, when we bought our first house in Arizona, I jumped on a chance to buy a used McLane reel lawnmower with an electric motor. It has served use well all these years, but it does require that someone guide it which makes one more thing on our list when we're gone for our summer travels. While our friends at Glory Farm were installing a sprinkler system for their yard, I was cutting and capping the line to our lawn sprinklers.

We did a bunch of research, leveraging direct experience and a friend in the business before deciding to install artificial turf using a new 'cool touch' technology.

The crew to remove the old turf were "headed our way today." Eventually, on the fourth 'today' the sod crew arrived and made quick work of removal.

The old turf was folded up and hauled out to their truck.

I was really impressed. As always, having the right tool makes the job much easier. The heavy knife behind the roller vibrates rapidly and easily cuts the turf into strips. It also cuts the heads off of sprinklers that might be in the way.

It took longer to clean up the edges than it did to remove the bulk of the turf.
I couldn't resist a picture of one of their shovels. No, it's not stuck in the dirt. They just get their money's worth out of their equipment!

Less than 90 minutes after their arrival, the crew of four, and the old grass was gone.

The next morning two other guys showed up. They stacked up bags of "stuff," hauled in some fine sand, and got to work doing some final leveling.

It took at least twice as long to do the prep and compaction of the base as it did to cut out and remove the old sod.

The new turf was laid out and nailed in place before the edges were trimmed.

At last the mysterious bags went into the spreader and were thickly spread over the turf. After applying the first material, it was power swept into the turf and then the second material was spread and swept into the turf. The first layer was an anti-urine material because of the dog, while the second material was crushed copper slag which makes the turf stand up.

I suppose I should have taken the lawn mower pictures on the old sod, but... Some time soon I should put together a Craigs List ad to find this one a new home. It's served us very well.


  1. With the high cost of water in SoCal we've thought of going 'native' or 'artificial' in the front yard for some time. But the St. Augustine grass there now is well established and I like to watch the birds love to hunt the bugs call it home.
    The new lawn looks awesome, now I'm thinking of starting over ... again. :)

  2. Wish that would work for us, but after the first rain weeds of some kind would be taking root in the artificial turf. it looks really good.

    1. Around here folks don't seem to be bothered with much weed growth through the artificial turf, but I suppose if you had a lot of tree cover, the pollen and stuff could build up a layer of soil in/on top of the turf that would make weeds smile.

  3. Interesting post! I’ve just removed a section of turf for a brick walkway and it was backbreaking due to the tenacious grass root system.
    I will definitely look to rent a sod cutter in future path making endeavors!

    1. I'd never seen one before. Well worth the hassle of renting, even for a small job.

  4. Wow, for artificial it looks (from here) like real!

  5. Sprinklers here at Glory Farm are running well! There will be plenty of weeding available for anyone who misses it, when you are here! Save travels!