Proper male gardening advice on turning overgrown brambles into a lawn?

Discussion in 'DIY' started by P-Ride, Aug 2, 2010.

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  1. Hey,

    One of my best friend's girlfriends lives in a shared house with a patio area and a big chunk of garden at the back that is literally wilderness. It is thick with brambles, nettles and the suchlike - and I'd like to turn it into functional lawn.

    I arrived at her house after a few beers with her boyfriend; and their housemate had brought round a scythe, which I started with, hacking back the tallest stuff. She then produced a strimmer with which I drunkenly strode through the wilderness slashing away, which did a reasonable job.

    Then I found an old flymo at the back of their shed which was great. I plugged it in and drove it right across the lawn scalping it all - occassionally having to lift it more like a chainsaw on rough land.

    After a good raking we have nicely scalped the first part of the wilderness and have a big pile of plant material. Next stage is to get gloves and clear out all rubble/broken stuff.

    We're going to bonfire the plant material we already have, but I have some questions that lame flower-orientated garden-taming sites did not help me with.

    - We were thinking of spraying petrol over the undergrowth and burning it all to get rid of it easily and save using the green bin. Is this going to work - will it poison the earth?

    - Once we have a bald, scalped lawn which will basically be dirt and the stems of nettles/brambles with what appears to be quite a lot of gravel around, how do we turn this into a functional lawn at little cost?

    I'm convinced the clearing stage can be done in a day or two of hard work, but am not sure how to make sure grass instead of brambles come back. It would be really nice to turn this into lawn for their house.

    Their landlord has suggested he would be happy to pay to turf the lawn if we get it cleared, but someone suggested this has to be done at a certain time of year?

    Thanks for your advice - proper hardcore male advice would be appreciated so we can get this job done properly and quickly!
  2. Personally, I wouldn't just pour petrol on and set light, even if it doesn't poison the ground, it's a bit irresponsible. Get one of these for the day

    HSS Hire - Flame Gun Hire and Rent

    That'll sort it all out in no time.
  3. Get a pig for a week: it'll rout out your bramble roots and dig over the area, manuring it at the same time. After it;s done, have it butchered and prepped for your first barbie.
    Get turf layed, then invest in about 20 Guinea pigs: let them live wild in the garden and they'll keep the lawn perfectly manicured and manured. You get the added bonus of nocturnal whistling, the occassional entertainment when some bird of prey grabs one, and, barbie again, "Cuy" is supposed to tast good. Spit roasted and presented to your guests it'll be a novel icebreaker at dinner parties too.
  4. Dig!

    Burning won’t ‘poison’ the ground, it’s beneficial – even essential – for some plants, though generally not what you can expect to find in your garden. However, most of the roots will bounce back next season. You need to either dig them out or spray them out. Either way you won’t get them all.

    Many, including pro gardeners, say various chemicals aren’t as effective as they used to be – something to do with H&S and/or Euro regs, ‘if a kiddie drinks 5 gallons it might make them fart’. Round-Up remains popular, and it’s still possible to get the original Root Out (DAX), though now-a-days it has to be sold as a ‘compost acelerator’ - formula hasn’t changed though. Then there’s the ‘acceptable’ and cheaper Deep Root, which is no doubt wonderful but didn’t work for me.

    Reasonable to predict you’ll spend a lot on repeat chemical application – no silver bullet. Roots are usually dug and pulled with spade/fork, and stout gloves. On gloves, plenty of evil prices around, but if you’re a skinflint like me you can go to Screwfix and buy 6 pairs of Riggers Gloves for a fiver. ^~

    If buying tools consider an Azada or a Mattock. The Azada appears the more popular except for the heaviest going.

    Example of types (but not price - google): Get Digging - Tools for the Allotment and Garden

    If you’re digging and pulling, which I would do, they’ll still be a small amount of spot spraying to do next season when some die-hards appear.

    As you’re getting free turf, why not go for that? Level your Somme (rake or plank etc), and ensure the turf is wet, wet, wet. When delivered, when stacked and for several weeks regularly after laying. I would also water the soil it's to be laid on just before laying. Google up how to lay turf - allow overlap and don’t walk on it.

    Fun. :-D

  5. Lastly, no garden is complete without a wooden outdoor recreation & study centre cum workshop/ male retreat. Get a shed, you know it makes sense.
  6. P-ride.... dont do it... making a lawn is 1 job.. work done crack open a tinny .. looks good innit etc etc... BUT MOWING THE ****** IS A NEVERENDING JOB which she will expect you to do every 7 days, I know I made the same mistake. Like that guy in greek myth who has to roll a stone up a hill only to having it roll down again for eternity.. trust me you will be battling the green god forever.
  7. Concrete followed by astro turf - the lazy mans garden!
  8. OldSnowy

    OldSnowy LE Moderator Book Reviewer

    It's true about modern weedkillers - unless you are licensed, it is impossible to buy decent ones nowadays due to elfin safety laws. Red Diesel is the stuff - it kills everything, and is the poison of choice for many, such as some contractors for Network Rail, as it's one of the few things that'll take out Japanese Knotweed (Brambles? Hah! They are nothing compared to JK).

    As for flameguns - my old man had a Sheen-ex type for years, and he was a professional gardener. An ideal toy for a young lad, I can recommend it thoroughly. A couple of pints of paraffin, ten mins to heat up, and it will kill anything - not by burning (though it can) but by dehydrating the plants instantly; it kills both plants and seeds, so is very thorough. Added benefit - when you switch it off, for about five minutes afterwards it will produce highly heated paraffin vapour in large amounts - ideal for removing rats, mice, or anything else in tunnels. Apply nozzle to hole, turn on, wait until vapour appears through other holes - then apply match. Makes moles go Woof, very effective.

    Either that, or buy thick leggings, and pick blackberries once a year.
  9. ******* JK and brambles - and soddin horsetial weed... have just doewn the same to my back garden - overrun with everytype of weed bramble, rose and other gree stuff - some trees too but don't know what they were... spent the last 4 weekends digging the shit out as it's all being grassed. actually what's the best way to get a rather stubbon tree stump out of the ground - i've been hacking at the deges with a pickaxe for days....?

    agree the Roundup stuff seems to be the only stuff with any decent type of weed control.
  10. OldSnowy

    OldSnowy LE Moderator Book Reviewer

    Removing treestumps - hire a stump grinder (ooh err Missus!). Either that, or drill a hole and inset either a proprietory stump 'dissolver' (they are not that good, and take years) or a suitable quantity of black powder and an ISFE. Remember, only tamp with wood :)
  11. You could always get a Tirfor (often misspelt 'turfer) winch to pull out stumps.

    Attached Files:

  12. Was his girlfriend very grateful ?
  13. Grownup_Rafbrat

    Grownup_Rafbrat LE Book Reviewer Good Egg (charities)

    Farm suppliers sell a better range of more effective weedkillers than garden centres/supermarkets.