Monday, August 26, 2013

7-foot tall weeds

Ever since spring 2013 started, the grass in our backyard slowly transitioned to weeds and began taking over the entire back yard.  With every sunny day and occasional rainfall, the weeds quickly shot up and over the course of a few months, turned into 7 foot weeds!
Now, it wasn't a few whispy tall weeds here and there.  No, it was a dense, thick, jungle full of different types of weeds, tumbling and intertwining each other, with thick stems and roots going down deep into the soil. Not to mention, the dense weeds were the home of a ton of spiders and grasshoppers.

Yao was so nice to visit us from SF to spend July 4th with us this year (starting to seem like an annual tradition!) and help us with our weeds.
Jeff and I thought over a gameplan for how to tackle the weeds.  Jeff suggested simply attacking the jungle with a lawn mower, but I thought that would simply knock the weeds over sideways but wouldn't actually cut and kill the weeds.  We thought of other options like weed whackers and garden shears but that would be too labor intensive.  We needed something that is fast and efficient.  We read some internet forums about weed removal and someone suggested using a scythe, which is very effective but requires a lot of skill.  Then I thought about how one would penetrate a jungle, like if we were hiking through the amazon rainforest...... I got it!!  a MACHETE!!
Where in the world would we even get a machete from?

A quick search on the Home Depot website yielded a $15 machete so we hopped in the car to the local Home Depot and purchased our very own machete.
The boys got to work the following day (I intended on helping after I fed Caitlin lunch and put her down for her nap but apparently the boys finished before I was done!) and found that the machete was so efficient and perfect for the task.

7 foot tall weeds!

maybe the weeds were closer to 7.5 feet tall

ready for action!

We weren't exaggerating. It was a tumbling mess.  The weeds consumed my veggie garden!

Weeds are noticably shorter. Good job Yao!

oh good. I can actually see the back of the yard now.

once the weeds were short and manageable, the boys mowed and snipped

trash pile


a job well done!

They finished the entire job in about 1.5 hours.  There was more weeds than we couple dispose of in our trash cans so it took us about 3 weeks to finally get all the weeds hauled away by the trash company. 

Now what. 
We have an entire yard full of prickly dead weeds that easily pierces through the skin.  Not safe to wear sandals in our yard and definitely not safe for Caitlin to be running through!  We also don't want to put in brand new sod because the upkeep and maintenance of grass is ridiculous (what a waste of water and money towards a gardener).  We considered options like drought tolerant plants like dymonidia, but we didnt want to hire a landscaper to flatten the ground, remove the pipes, prepare the soil, and plant the plants.  And dymondia still needs the occasional watering.  After several weeks of going back and forth on ideas, we finally decided that installing artificial turf would be the best option for us.  Requires no water, no mowing, and lasts up to 20 years.
I found that Costco sold artificial turf on their website at a great price (under $3 per sq foot) but turned out, the contracted company that Costco worked with (Pregra) were incredibly unprofessional (stood us up on 2 scheduled appointments) and their turf installation prices weren't competitive.
After looking on Yelp, we decided to get an estimate with Hunny Do Grass since they had raving Yelp reviews.  The sales guy came over, right on time, measured our lot, and gave us an estimate right then and there.  The price came out to a grand total of $4735 ($1K cheaper than the quote from Pregra) for the turf + weed and pipe removal + turf installation for our backyard, with a 10 year warranty.  We signed the contract today and we scheduled the turf installation for Sept 19.  Can't wait!  They are so popular since their install guys are booked for weeks.  With Pregra, the install guys were available for install within 2-3 days... guess that shows that nobody wants to work with them!

Will update you all when the turf is in!