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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So a few months back I bought a house out in the country. Just shy of 4 acres. I had to remove a few trees on my property, one of which was massive at around 6.5 feet across at the base when cut down. I am planning on having the stumps ground out. I am attaching a few pictures to help understand my thinking.

This is a picture of my overall property. the backside of the property is pasture field and then obviously a large pond its there. I am not one that cares about having a luxurious green lawn but I also don't want my lawn to look like I don't care. I would like to work on getting rid of the weeds and have a decent lawn.
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This picture shows a few things. the Green X's are where there were trees on the property that I recently cut down. there are 5 trees that I cut down including the beast which was in that area where the red and pink lines are. The pink lines represent where there is sidewalk currently. The sidewalk stinks something fierce. its small narrow sidewalks that are slanted and not worth a darn in my opinion and is going to be getting ripped out soon. The red line is where I would like to add sidewalk. I want to put sidewalk straight out from my 2nd side door as you can see just to the right in this pic is another sidewalk that runs straight out to the driveway. thats my 1st side door. we don't use this door and am contemplating removing the sidewalk to it so that the delivery drivers will quit dropping packages at that door. I should also note that there is a concrete slab that connects the two side doors together so it wouldn't be a doorway without a walk way to get to it. but this would clean up things I think and simplify things like mowing and edging and the likes.

Question #1: how should I go about preparing this ground for a new sidewalk as the sidewalk will be going over top of the hole left behind from grinding out the beast. I am thinking I want to have a wide enough sidewalk that I can use Lil John and my bucket to clear snow in the winter. Is there a procedure I should be doing to make sure I dont have any issues from the beast after grinding?

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This picture helps visualize the side of the house. It is difficult to see the 2nd side door but when you pull up to the garage you can see it clear as day and if there was a nice wide sidewalk leading up to it, that would be helpful too.

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This is a slightly different angle and you can see a tree stump in the bottom right corner of this picture. This tree stump doesn't exist. what does exist is a bunch of holes... I believed for a long time that their dog just dug holes in the yard but after seeing this picture think it might have been holes left over after they ground the stump or dug the stump out and just left them. if you can imagine mowing this STINKS. The yard was not taken care of at all. nothings landscaped well. its all mulched around the house but its not edged and contained. Their dog dug a lot of the mulch out into the yard. I am contemplating just hooking the tractor to everything and yanking it out and digging the mulch beds out and starting over. possibly putting rock in its place with nice edging that is easy to mow and trim.

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Which leads me to the last picture here. I am wanting to start over with the lawn in the area marked out in green. I have access to a 3pt tiller for lil john that a buddy will let me borrow as well as a 3pt landscape rake. I also have access to a boom sprayer and have a large spot sprayer as well.

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Question #2: How do I go about doing this. I'm sure I dont want to just drop the tiller and go do I? Probably want to spray the yard with round up to kill off the grass and then come in with the tiller and till it up and then rake it up. Do I need a box blade or anything like that to level the yard afterwards? Will it be more trouble than its worth and should I just focus on the several spots that are troublesome where trees have been taken out and that type of thing. The yard around the house is bad in soooo many spots. plus ripping out sidewalks and putting new ones in, stumps being ground out. holes in the yard. the one area in the back closest to the pond is covered by a large tree that was hugely over grown and not trimmed in many years. I have trimmed it back and hope to give life to the earth under it again as the grass doesn't grow well under that tree. that happens to be the area around my back patio so it just looks completely unappealing when you sit out there and just see a bunch of dirt and spotty grass.

any advice is welcome here. I plan on having the occasional help for this project but also want to make sure I am not under thinking the issues of doing this.
 

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I would strongly recommend that you hire a landscape architect to develop a plan for you. Advice here on GTT can be overwhelming and varied. But short of a GTT member coming out to lay eyes on your place, it’s all pretty much “what I did at my place based.”

Hiring a professional for my plan was a few hundred dollars, and worth every bit. Particularly with your big pond, you don’t want to run afoul of any regulations. And I mean a licensed landscape architect, not a landscape designer. The two are frequently close in hourly fees, but a designer is basically a “plant this there” advisor while the architect does a broader scope. Once you get a plan, you can stage the work, decide what you can handle, and avoid things like a new sidewalk collapsing as a ground down stump decays under it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I would strongly recommend that you hire a landscape architect to develop a plan for you. Advice here on GTT can be overwhelming and varied. But short of a GTT member coming out to lay eyes on your place, it’s all pretty much “what I did at my place based.”

Hiring a professional for my plan was a few hundred dollars, and worth every bit. Particularly with your big pond, you don’t want to run afoul of any regulations. And I mean a licensed landscape architect, not a landscape designer. The two are frequently close in hourly fees, but a designer is basically a “plant this there” advisor while the architect does a broader scope. Once you get a plan, you can stage the work, decide what you can handle, and avoid things like a new sidewalk collapsing as a ground down stump decays under it.
I have a cousin and a friend who are both in the landscaping world. One owes his own landscaping business and the other has been in the landscaping business since he was a kid. I plan on getting both of them to come out and advise and even help in some instances. I am borrowing the tiller and rake from the one. I was looking for some general ideas from people on here so I am not going to those guys ill prepared and not monopolizing their time by not having my ducks in a row ahead of time. I am one of those that like to gather ideas and research and make an informed decision. I don't take advice from everyone on a message board as gospel because i know I am going to get those "this is what I did" and worked for them but wouldn't work for me because of geo location and such.
 

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Listing your location would help with more relevant advice.
Before filling up an existing lawn I’d try to renovate what you have and see where that gets you. Growing new grass in a large area is a ton of work and you’ll need some cooperation with the weather.
 

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My thoughts! I wouldn't use roundup as I don't know how long before it breaks down and is totally harmless to your new lawn. It could take a month or a year, don't know. I would mow lawn as short as you can and till...twice, once, then 90º to the first pass. Depending how firm your roots are, you may have to do this again. You'll want the soil chopped up about 3"-4" deep...deeper is OK. I would then take a soil sample and drop of at Agricultural Center that does that. Tell them your plans and ask about WHEN you should add fertilizer .
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I think you're going to find that tilling chops and/or buries any remaining grass, weeds etc. so raking won't be necessary. You'll also find the leveling plate on the tiler does a good job of creating a flat surface...especially if multiple passes... and a back blade, box blade, or whatever.

I'd wait 3-5 weeks and till again in both directions. I'd also leave the leveling plate up to create a rougher surface. After tilling, seed, roll...to smooth the rougher surface from tilling..., water, and cover with straw...water again!

No clue on sidewalk over stump! The stump WILL decay, as grinding will not remove all of it, and you'll have a void under the walkway. Bob
 
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Unless you are going to do the sidewalk yourself I’d let who ever is going to pour it do all the prep work.

The lawn? I agree, it’s a bunch of work to start over. I’d try and work with what you have or just do a few small areas that are the worst. I retired a year ago and my yard has never looked better. I’ve sprayed weeds and fertilized it. I’ll see what it looks like in August. It’s also expensive. I suspect I will spend $500 this year probably on roughly 2 acres of lawn.

Looks like a nice place, enjoy.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Listing your location would help with more relevant advice.
Before filling up an existing lawn I’d try to renovate what you have and see where that gets you. Growing new grass in a large area is a ton of work and you’ll need some cooperation with the weather.
I'm in the northwest ohio area. I know that it's a huge under taking that's why I'm asking if it's worth doing the entire thing so I can start over and get holes filled in and grade things out and that kind of thing. Or would I be better off just focusing on the half dozen to dozen troublesome spots and leave all the area that the grass is doing okay alone.

The entire area where the beast was at and and around the sidewalk area is a mess. It's needing redone. Then the area where the stump was that's now all holes. Then the area around back by the patio is a mess. All of the area surrounding the house where they landscaped is a mess. The side yard has sidewalk that needs removed and redone and the yard is a mess. So there are so many places that need fixed and redone I didn't know if it was just going to be easier to strip it all and start fresh or just do those troubled spots knowing they take up about half of the area I'm thinking about doing.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Unless you are going to do the sidewalk yourself I’d let who ever is going to pour it do all the prep work.

The lawn? I agree, it’s a bunch of work to start over. I’d try and work with what you have or just do a few small areas that are the worst. I retired a year ago and my yard has never looked better. I’ve sprayed weeds and fertilized it. I’ll see what it looks like in August. It’s also expensive. I suspect I will spend $500 this year probably on roughly 2 acres of lawn.

Looks like a nice place, enjoy.
Yeah I am planning on doing the concrete work myself unless I find someone whose willing to do it for a good price. I hate paying to have things done when I can do the work myself. I know it won't be perfect like hiring it out but I also think that's what makes a home a home.

There's a lot of projects to get done around this place and the missed would love to do them all right now and hire them all out to get them done. But she also doesn't have a concept of what things cost versus doing things ourselves.
 

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Have you decided where on the property you will be grazing the cows you plan on having? Is image #1 the full extent of your 4 acres, or is there more grazing land outside the borders of the picture? Maybe if the plan is still 4 cows, rethink what you plan as yard, and fence it off closer to the house so that your cows will have more room to graze.

Where on your property is the neighbor's easement that he will be driving his tractor-trailer rigs on? Is that an ironclad legal easement, or can you reclaim that portion of land for your own use?

And the pond? What are your desires for it? Are you going to stock it with fish for enjoyment, or is eliminating the pond a possibility? Nice to look at I'm sure, but it takes up a sizeable chunk of your land.

Also, despite the size of the trees you cut down, I would give serious thought to removing the stumps rather than just grinding them down. Stump grinding was done in my area 5-15 years ago, and now the remaining roots are at the point of decay where some serious holes are developing. A lot of them only appear as you step on or drive over the site. And a cow's leg has a lot more weight on it than yours. And if you have a concrete sidewalk poured over decaying roots you are setting up a future repair job.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Have you decided where on the property you will be grazing the cows you plan on having? Is image #1 the full extent of your 4 acres, or is there more grazing land outside the borders of the picture? Maybe if the plan is still 4 cows, rethink what you plan as yard, and fence it off closer to the house so that your cows will have more room to graze.

Where on your property is the neighbor's easement that he will be driving his tractor-trailer rigs on? Is that an ironclad legal easement, or can you reclaim that portion of land for your own use?

And the pond? What are your desires for it? Are you going to stock it with fish for enjoyment, or is eliminating the pond a possibility? Nice to look at I'm sure, but it takes up a sizeable chunk of your land.

Also, despite the size of the trees you cut down, I would give serious thought to removing the stumps rather than just grinding them down. Stump grinding was done in my area 5-15 years ago, and now the remaining roots are at the point of decay where some serious holes are developing. A lot of them only appear as you step on or drive over the site. And a cow's leg has a lot more weight on it than yours. And if you have a concrete sidewalk poured over decaying roots you are setting up a future repair job.
So In the picture you can see the pasture field that exists already. It's outlined in blue here. The plan is 2 cows but we are looking at probably not getting any until late this year or early next year.

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The red area is the easement to his property as he has a large barn just to the south of this picture that's not shown where he parks his trucks in the barn to the south using that area in red. There is a driveway to the south of my property between his big barn but he turns right into that red area and backs into his barn from there. It's not a big area and my burn pile Is back in that general area along with a large dirt pile that the last owner used as a backstop for shooting. So it's not really all that useful land other than maybe able to plant a garden or something back there if I really wanted to get into that.

The pond is already stocked with fish and has a beach area on one end. The plan is to put a deck that hangs over the water. I see the pond being a huge amount of fun for parties. It does take up a large chunk of land but if it wasn't a pond it would just be more yard id be mowing. I like to fish and have a bunch of friends and family that like to ask well that have already been over fishing.

The tree is quite a ways away from the pasture so I'm not worried about a cow having issues from the decayed root but obviously having a sidewalk and driving the tractor on and over the area is a concern. It's a big maple so I fear the roots go far and wide. My driveway is near the tree as well so I'm sure the roots go under that as well.
 

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I agree with Clyde Logan on the tree stump issue. Dig it out and then repack the earth before you do the sidewalk. I still have roots decaying after 6+ years.
 
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