TheSwede's 2019 KBG Reno

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TheSwede
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TheSwede's 2019 KBG Reno

Post by TheSwede »

OK, so I have now passed the point of no return for the two stage lawn reno I want to do. If I'd had the money to spend and no kids I would have done the whole yard, but the kids needs a space to play on and I have another project already going that takes time and cost money so I decided to start with the front yard and do the bigger back yard next spring.

So, my reno-thread starts in my storage/utility room where my water meter is located. A big part of the reno is to get an irrigation system installed. Where I live, plumbing is expensive, so I decided to do this part myself rather than getting a contractor in. Instead I spent the money on hiring a bunch of guys to fix the uneaven stone paving in the front yard and to dig the trenches for the irrigation system. Got a lead from my neighbor for some Polish guys that did his retaining walls and couldn't be happier -they are cheap, work hard and efficient and got the work done in just a few days.

The only thing was that I had to do the copper pipe work for the irrigation system before they finished the stone paving because the pipes would have to go under the new stone paving. And they wanted to start right after the weekend, or they would not have time until mid August... :o So, I said "yes, start monday!" and then realized that there are no rental pipe pressing tools available in my area.

OK, so i just said :censored: and then went ol' school, soldering the pipes together. Day 1 I didn't have the proper tools so I went full McGyver and used my wifes creme brulé torch and silver solder used for soldering copper roofs that was like 1/2" thick. When the store opened at 9 I managed to get hold of some more suitable solder to finish of the rest of the pipework without it looking like a five year old did the soldering....

Naturally, after a day of insanely slow progress, I felt the urge to Facebook that I had gone ol' school and soldered some pipes together, fishing for som sympathy, but naturally the first reply was from one of my neighbors that basically posted "Oh, you should have asked me, I have an electric pressing tool lying around that I havn't used for three years -press fittings are just so much easier...". Gah!

Anyway, what I did was to remove the old valve and underdimensioned backflow valve, as well as keeping the pipe dimension consistent (28mm outer diameter) compared to what the crackhead plumber that had done the original pipework had installed which was really restricting water flow... Preliminary testing (it was difficult to get all the water into the bucket because the flow was so high!) I am in the +20 gpm region, which is good.

The bottle neck right now is the water meter, which is exactly how I want it to be...

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Last edited by TheSwede on Sun Sep 08, 2019 3:08 pm, edited 5 times in total.

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SNOWBOB11
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Re: And so it begins... (reno)

Post by SNOWBOB11 »

Cool, what grass type you going with?

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TheSwede
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Re: And so it begins... (reno)

Post by TheSwede »

SNOWBOB11 wrote:
Mon Jun 24, 2019 4:57 pm
Cool, what grass type you going with?
I'm going for KBG. Up here in the Nordics it is difficult to get anything else than KBG, red fescue and rye-mixes of various proportions. The only reason I can get pure KBG is because I had the good fortune to hire the right person on my team last year. Turned out that her husband is a nutcase level lawn nerd and maintains a 6mm golf green in his garden! So through his connections I can get pure KBG mixes and even pure cultivars... I'll go for a Nordic KBG mix for my reno....

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Re: And so it begins... (reno)

Post by Wolverine »

Copper piping looks good. I’m an electrician by trade and now into controls, but anything with water I’ve ever touched seems to leak. I keep my plumber buddy’s close.

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Re: And so it begins... (reno)

Post by TheSwede »

The project is inching its way forward but now I finally have some time off (quite a lot actually!) and can finish the irrigation system. One thing that sucked is that the trenches for the irrigation has caved in a little due to the soft sandy soil (I have about 5-7" of good soil on top and underneath it is about 12 ft of moraine before bedrock). Since the guys that did the digging for me won't be available for another three weeks, I'll have to do some digging as well, to lay them at the proper OCD-approved depth :).

I am still waiting for a few parts to arrive before I can do the final decision if I can go with just one zone for the front yard. I fixed my test setup for static pressure and max flow. I have 67 PSI static pressure, which is consistent with what should be expected when comparing the minimum water level they guarantee and the elevation difference between the water tower supplying my area and my house, that is located on top of a hill, basically. So minimum 64PSI and normally about 70PSI. It is not great, but I think it is sufficient, even if I would have liked some safety margin.

For the flow measurement I measured at the end of approximately 65ft of 1" poly tubing (20m of 32mm poly tubing, but I believe you guys measure inner diameter where as in europe it is outer diameter, so 32mm outer and 3mm thick walls equals about 1" inner diameter). At the end of that pipe I measured 27 GPM. To cover the front yard I will use 5 heads that require about 12 GPM so think I should be OK with just one zone for the front yard, even with some pressure loss in the valves and pipes etc.

Apart from the yard looking like crap right now and there's a ton of work left before I can seed, it feels great to *finally* get this project moving...

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Last edited by TheSwede on Tue Aug 27, 2019 2:27 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: And so it begins... (reno)

Post by TheSwede »

Wolverine wrote:
Mon Jun 24, 2019 6:03 pm
Copper piping looks good. I’m an electrician by trade and now into controls, but anything with water I’ve ever touched seems to leak. I keep my plumber buddy’s close.
Thanks, it is just that I know how perfect it can look if done by a plumber that knows how to solder...but while it was fairly time consuming and frustrating at times, I also find these kinds of things very satisfying -at least if the end result is somewhere near what I had imagined before I started :) . Personally I need to do DIY projects on my house, boat, car, stereo etc. to balance my professional life. I mean, I absolutely *love* my work - i have the best job I can imagine, but being able to shift from power points, executive briefings, quarterly reports and what not and just focusing on something else for a while, fuels my batteries and gives me new perspectives on things.

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Re: And so it begins... (reno)

Post by pennstater2005 »

TheSwede wrote:
Mon Jun 24, 2019 4:44 pm
If I'd had the money to spend and no kids I would have done the whole yard, but the kids needs a space to play on
Amen to this :thumbup:


Looking forward to the progress!
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Re: And so it begins... (reno)

Post by TheSwede »

Bussy few days getting the irrigation system in the ground, planting a few new trees and shrubs that my wife found on 70% sale. Oh, and naturally the dishwasher broke down yesterday so I had to go buy a new one and install it. The new one is wifi-connected so it has the added ability to annoy me not just when I am home with noise and beeps, but this one can annoy me wherever I am in the world, sending toasts to my phone when it starts, finishes, need me to refill rinse-aid and what not.

The irrigation system is coming along nicely. Pretty much all the pipes are in the ground -the only poly pipes that are available here are obviously specially engineered to suck the will to live right out of whoever tries to handle them, let alone trying to lay them in the ground -It has the flexibility of a 1" rebar, yet wants to spring back to its original shape. I had to roll them out and weigh them down with large rocks for a day in the sun before I could even attempt putting them in the ground and I had to use large rocks to keep them in place!

Before covering the trenches I thought I'd test the front yard zone to make absolutely sure I have enough flow to it so I hooked all parts up and with great anticipation and with the mental image of sprinklers proudly rising from underground, perfectly orchestrated and synchronized, decisively shooting out perfectly formed water droplets the 35 ft necessary for head-to-head cover, I turned on the water. Frist there was nothing. Then, sloooooowly the sprinklers rose to like half the way up and just drizzled water perhaps 5 feet out. After a moment of experiencing the not so pleasant feeling of shock, utter defeat and general misery, I realized that I did not remember that I had plugged the end of the pipe going to the other valve box. Note to self: one layer of Gaffa tape is not enough to hold back the water pressure of an irrigation system... With that end plugged properly I turned on the water again and this time it worked flawlessly. Very happy with the result so far.

The only thing left before I can fill in the trenches and valve box is that I need to get a few fittings. I will have three drip irrigation zones and I did not realize that the low flow valves I ordered are not 1" but 3/4" so I probably don't have the fittings to put the manifold together properly until monday.

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Last edited by TheSwede on Tue Aug 27, 2019 2:28 pm, edited 3 times in total.

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Re: And so it begins... (reno)

Post by TheSwede »

...so I kind of just figured I'd extend the irrigation project with an additional zone. Because it felt right. :ugeek: The digging was a breeze down to about 6". Then there was clay and rocks...large rocks. Lets just say I don't have to go to the gym tonight...it was hard work. Hard Work.

One of our Siberian forrest cats, Stormborn, that usually follows me wherever I go, rain, deep snow, mud, whatever, has obviously had enough of being soaked with cold water from the irrigation system 5 times a day the last week, so he decided to spend yesterday "helping" my wife wrapping birthday gifts instead of watching me break my back in the garden... Hopefully he'll be back on track and ready for some water tomorrow!

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Last edited by TheSwede on Tue Aug 27, 2019 2:30 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: And so it begins... (reno)

Post by Jconnelly6b »

How much do you pay for water there? That beautiful system you are putting down will certainty throw out some water!

Does that cat follow you around outside too? That’s so cool.

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Re: And so it begins... (reno)

Post by TheSwede »

Well, I think we have a similar system to you guys where we pay a fixed charge per year depending on the size of the water meter, the size of the property and a buch of other parameters, but here, the fixed part is fairly small. Since my property is hooked up to both city water and sewage the volume charge for my property is around $2 per m3 which equals around $5.7 per CCF (if google is correct). I estimate I'll spend around $100-$700 for the irrigation depending on how the summer turns out. The summer so far has been absolute crap -so far it is the coldest summer in 40 years, but still not that much rain.

Regarding our Siberians, yes, they like hanging out with you and follow you when you work in the garden, take a walk around the block or take a run around the lake. My wife absolutely loves cats but since I am allergic to cats I have just tried to stay away from them for as long as I can remember -keep them on a distance and you'll be good, kind of tactic... So, after hooking up with me, turns out she did a *lot* of research (we're talking years of research here, folks) to find cat breeds that people claim to be hypoallergenic. Most of the breeds suggested where just ugly looking cats with no hair at all, or cats that looked like they had been beamed down to earth from a UFO, naked, and in some cases, a it looked like mold had suddenly started growing on them (but I was ensured it was in fact fur, according to the breeders). But I still got the itchty eyes and the sneeze, no matter how much mold or how naked the cats where...

Fast forward a few years and my beloved Ms suddenly have this "I have this totally figured out" look on her face and then forced me into the car and drives me to a small house with at least 20 extremely large, fluffy, furry cats inside. I thought that if I just stand in the door, I will be a sneasing, snoddy, red-eyed wreck within seconds. But it did not happen. Siberieans do not trigger any allergic reaction whatsoever on me! The breed produces very low amounts of the allergen Fel-D1, which I am allergic to. So, now we have a bunch of them, and I love them -except for the fur. Gdamn, it like they shed at least one fur per day in the house! It is insane, the amount of hair you need to remove from your clothes every morning before going to work, but still I would not want to be without them. The last two years I have had three robot vaccum cleaners driving themselves to the recycling station begging to be recycled... :)

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Re: And so it begins... (reno)

Post by Jconnelly6b »

Haha that’s wild about the vaccine but thanks for sharing the story. I think it would be fun to have a large cat follow you around!

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Re: And so it begins... (reno)

Post by TheSwede »

Jconnelly6b wrote:
Wed Jul 10, 2019 3:26 pm
Haha that’s wild about the vaccine but thanks for sharing the story. I think it would be fun to have a large cat follow you around!
Siberians are like the cat-version of a dog, if that makes sense.

Today I have pretty much finished this years goal of the the irrigation system install and continued to do some cleaning up of the front yard and the side strip. I now have 4 zones in the ground -the front yard, the awkwardly shaped side strip and two drip irrgation zones.

I've fallen a bit behind schedule, but tonight I let the irrigation put down 1". I noticed some puddles so I might have to do something about that... Tomorrow the plan is to put down some fast acting nitro and continue to irrigate to get the weeds growing vigorously. First glyphsate app will be when I see some real activity from the grass and weeds. which hopefully will be in a couple of days...

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Last edited by TheSwede on Tue Aug 27, 2019 2:32 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: And so it begins... (reno)

Post by TheSwede »

Today I applied a little fast acting calcium nitrate fert to get the grass and the weeds growing. I let the irrigation system water it in with about 3/4” of water. I’ll make a second application in a few days (I usually do several small apps of calcium nitrate since it dosn’t take much to fry the grass with this stuff).

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Re: TheSwede's lawn reno 2019

Post by TheSwede »

The irrigation on my "south strip" puts down way to much water compared to what I had anticipated. I use Rain Bird R-VANs in a square pattern and it lays down 1/2" in just 15 minutes, which is about 3-4 times more than the charts state. I have adjusted the flow through the valve to have 45 PSI at the head (used a Hunter T-coupling borrowed from my neighbor to measure pressure at the head -a really good little gadget to make sure the pressure is correct!) , but it still lays out way to much compared to my 5004 with MPR nozzles I use on the front lawn. Not sure what to do about it.

The good thing is that the grass and the weeds are starting to pick up pace with the irrigation going and some fast acting nitro so I can probably do the first app of Glypho in a couple days.

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Last edited by TheSwede on Tue Aug 27, 2019 2:33 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: TheSwede's lawn reno 2019

Post by TheSwede »

Tried to tweak the side strip irrigation with little success. Still puts out way more water than the spec. Maybe the R-VANs will go in the bin. Not that impressed with the performance compared to my neighbor's MP-heads.The 5004 with MPR nozzles works beautifully, though.

To get the weeds growing I did a second app of calcium nitrate (granular) and watered it in. Starting to see good growth so first Glypho app is just days away, I think. Only problem is the weather -forecast says about 1" rain monday, and on and off drizzle tuesday, wednesday, but the last few weeks they've changed the forecast drastically from day to day so it seems the weather is hard to predict right now. Guess I just have to bide my time before I go for the kill...

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Re: TheSwede's lawn reno 2019

Post by TheSwede »

I'm fallig further behind...At least for the next three days it will rain -going in for the kill will have to wait until stable weather... The last few days've just been amazing, spending 24/7 with my beloved 4-year old while my wife has been away since friday, helping her best friend deliver a baby (the father passed away a couple months ago). and the delivery has not been a smooth ride so far, so Mom will be gone at least two more days, so lawn renovation wise, I am at idle right now...

So, for distraction, today me and little guy went to dad's work to bring home one of the ol' drones I have been working with the last couple years, and naturally, the frustration of little guy went nuclear level when the rain started to pour down just as the battery indicated it was fully charged. Even more frustrating was that the brand new battery daddy had ordered released a puff of magic smoke when it was turned on. Another battery had to be charged, which installed whithout smoke, so we got a 6 minute flight before my phone, used for control and video, signalled low battery. It's just one of those days...
Last edited by TheSwede on Mon Jul 15, 2019 4:27 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: TheSwede's lawn reno 2019

Post by TheSwede »

Ordered seeds today. The market for lawn enthusiasts up here is pretty much non-existent so if you want something else than what is offered to the ignorant masses you need to put in some serious effort. I was originally looking for someone that could provide a KBG monostrand, or 100%KBG mix, so during the last year I have contacted at least 15 seed distributors but in 14 cases of 15 I've gotten the "interesting project, but we only sell to the professionals" reject.

Until a few weeks ago, when I got a "interesting project, tell me more!". So, after the mail conversation we've had he will send me a 55 pound bag (smallest bag they offer...) of the highest grade SOD quality KBG mix (my top three strands that I had selected, as it turnes out), but only charge me for 20 pounds (which is less than $190 including freight!) ,"since you won't need more than say 20 pounds for your project".

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Re: TheSwede's lawn reno 2019

Post by Severin »

TheSwede wrote:
Tue Jul 16, 2019 3:33 pm
Ordered seeds today. The market for lawn enthusiasts up here is pretty much non-existent so if you want something else than what is offered to the ignorant masses you need to put in some serious effort. I was originally looking for someone that could provide a KBG monostrand, or 100%KBG mix, so during the last year I have contacted at least 15 seed distributors but in 14 cases of 15 I've gotten the "interesting project, but we only sell to the professionals" reject.

Until a few weeks ago, when I got a "interesting project, tell me more!". So, after the mail conversation we've had he will send me a 55 pound bag (smallest bag they offer...) of the highest grade SOD quality KBG mix (my top three strands that I had selected, as it turnes out), but only charge me for 20 pounds (which is less than $190 including freight!) ,"since you won't need more than say 20 pounds for your project".
Nice that you have found someone that can deliver, seeds are good to have when you're doing your lawn reno. :D
What stands does the mix include?

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Re: TheSwede's lawn reno 2019

Post by TheSwede »

Severin wrote:
Wed Jul 17, 2019 3:49 am
Nice that you have found someone that can deliver, seeds are good to have when you're doing your lawn reno. :D
What stands does the mix include?
Thanks, Severin. We have very different strands herre in the EU than you guys have. Grass is under *extreme* export regulations so what we have here is different strands than what you guys have. The strands I have in my mix are all KBG; "Miracle", "Yvette", and "Princeton". They all have similar dark green color and width and can be cut short (sub 1/2") but handle sun and shade differently. This mix was developed especially for soccer fields, fairways and tees, so I think it will work perfectly in my garden with a bunch of kids running around tearing it up.

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