We have a new house with several patches of lawn in varying conditions.
This is our first house, so neither of us have a lot of experience. We are wondering what you would suggest for rehabbing these patches with drought-resistant varieties.
1) There is a patch of grass that greened up well last fall when we started watering it. If we seed with a different type of drought-resistant grass, will the two varieties coexist well? We have no idea what type of grass is there.
2) There is another patch of what used to be lawn but is now just weedy ground cover (and particularly ugly). Can we rototill this and then seed? How would you go about getting rid of those weeds?
3) The backyard never greened up last year and has some wimpy patches of grass and patches of dirt. If we put down seed, can we just hope that a new variety takes over?
It is good that you are thinking about rejuvenating your lawn at this time of year so you can educate yourself, consider the choices and make a plan now.
Some of the factors you will want to consider are: your type of soil (sandy or clay), water availability and cost, amount of sun the lawn will get, and the amount of traffic the lawn will receive (i.e., pets, children, etc.).
From your description of how the lawn greened up after watering last fall I suspect you probably have Kentucky Blue Grass. Normally it goes dormant (turns yellow or brown) during the winter or times of drought but will bounce back when watered.
Because of your description of patches of lawn and weed patches, it sounds like the best place to start would be to kill the existing lawn and weeds using a broad spectrum herbicide with glyphosate. Roundup is one brand, but there are others and one brand isn't recommended over another. You will need to wait until the weeds are growing vigorously and then apply the herbicide to kill everything. At that point you can start over with seeding.
I would not recommend rototilling at this point if you are planning to seed because the action of stirring up the soil will cause more weed seeds to come to the surface. When they are exposed to sunlight and water, they will also grow and you may have lots of weeds competing with your new lawn seed as it germinates.
Below are several links to some detailed information about how to rejuvenate or renovate your home lawn.
If you are possibly considering sodding, this is a link to a YouTube video on renewing your lawn by sodding. Just scroll down to the video on lawns.
This a great reference for basic lawn care once you get your lawn established.
This should be a good amount of information to get you started on your way to having a great looking lawn. Please don't hesitate to contact us with any questions you have that may not have been addressed in these links.