Ask a Question forum: Help with my Ugly Lawn - Las Vegas, NV

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Las Vegas, NV (Zone 9a)
PugMom17
Apr 28, 2017 3:23 PM CST
Greetings from Las Vegas, NV!

I better start by telling you that I don't have a green thumb. My husband and I have been trying to get our lawn to green up for over a year. We had it beautiful in March of 2012 but that was the last time it looked nice. We plant near the front pillar but everything we put there dies. I believe there must be poison underground there. For now, I've given up trying to put something there and just want a beautiful lawn. Could someone tell me exactly what we need to do to have a green lawn? What products and tools I need to use? I sure would appreciate it. I'm sorry the photo was taken with the sun in the wrong place but I think you can still see the lawn. Thank you!
Thumb of 2017-04-28/PugMom17/6007a4

Name: Daisy I
Reno, Nv (Zone 6b)
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DaisyI
Apr 28, 2017 6:28 PM CST
I tip my hat to you. Welcome!

Lawn takes a lot of everything - lots of water, lots of nutrients, lots of time... Did you start by putting in a good base? Dig the soil down about 12 inches and mix in a lot of good organic mulch.

I'm surprised you are even trying to make lawn grow in Las Vegas as it is now regulated in so many desert areas. Reno is not regulated but most of us have given up trying because of the difficulties and water needed. Grass is not a desert friendly plant.

You might want to read this:

https://www.lvvwd.com/conserva...
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and proclaiming...."WOW What a Ride!!" -Mark Frost

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Name: Elaine
Sarasota, Fl
The one constant in life is change
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dyzzypyxxy
Apr 28, 2017 6:32 PM CST
Hi and welcome. I wonder if you could please give us some closer views of the grass? It looks like you have a couple of types of grass growing there.

Have you given it any fertilizer in the past few years? What else have you done besides obviously watering it?

Have you had your water tested for pH and other issues? Do other neighbors around you have good looking lawns?

Elaine

"Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm." โ€“Winston Churchill
Name: Karen
NM (Zone 7b)
Region: New Mexico Region: Arizona Cactus and Succulents Greenhouse Sempervivums Bromeliad
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plantmanager
Apr 28, 2017 7:05 PM CST
Our daughter lives in Vegas. She doesn't have a lawn. They have palms and rocks, but her neighbor has an astro turf lawn that looks so real that it fooled me for a while. Leaves drop on it, and it looks totally realistic with no mowing, watering or chemicals.
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Name: Daisy I
Reno, Nv (Zone 6b)
Not all who wander are lost
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DaisyI
Apr 28, 2017 7:56 PM CST
People in our area are also putting in the Astro-Turf lawns. They really do look like the real deal - I was fooled also.
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and proclaiming...."WOW What a Ride!!" -Mark Frost

Webmaster: osnnv.org
Name: Karen
NM (Zone 7b)
Region: New Mexico Region: Arizona Cactus and Succulents Greenhouse Sempervivums Bromeliad
Adeniums Garden Ideas: Level 1 Tropicals Xeriscape Garden Art Plumerias
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plantmanager
Apr 28, 2017 9:31 PM CST
I used to hate them, but with water rationing and bad droughts it makes more sense. We had lawns in Phx for years, but finally got rid of all of them. Now one of our daughters is moving in and making noises like she wants a lawn! They've been warned!
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Las Vegas, NV (Zone 9a)
PugMom17
Apr 29, 2017 12:08 AM CST
Thanks to everyone who replied! DaisyL, twice I've wasted the LVVW District's time having them come out to measure for a lawn conversion. When it comes right down to it, we love the look of grass - especially in this desert where everything is beige. We just haven't been able to go through with it. The lawn was in already when we bought the house. When we've planted, I've noticed a lot of rock underneath. I don't think the soil is great and I am not 100% sure that sod wasn't laid over desert landscaping at some point before we purchased the house. I haven't put any more soil down except fertilizer.
Dyzzy, I will post closer photos tomorrow. I believe I do have more than one type of grass growing because my husband put down some Rye seed a few years ago. When trying to aerate it, my husband said it felt like cement in some places. We haven't had our water tested for pH. The homes all around mine have desert landscaping but there are several homes on the street with lush green grass so I know it can be done. There are many astro-turf lawns here too. I had one guy out and it was real expensive - but I didn't want to go with the minigolf type someone has down the street - I wanted the kind that fools you. I'm hoping we can somehow get this lawn to look nice again. Thank you all for your answers. I will post more photos tomorrow.
Name: Abbey
Eastern New York State (Zone 6a)
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Garden10
Apr 29, 2017 6:41 AM CST
Welcome! PugMom, this is the part of our show where I make more new friends, but you'll understand, you're from Vegas, you MUST know all the words to I Gotta Be Me!! Big Grin

I personally don't care for fake grass, but it's not my lawn, so if you really want that look at all cost, please go that route. Perhaps Karen's daughter can get a recommendation from her neighbor with the nice one. Having said that, it is my planet too, and let me echo some of what has been said here: the concept of "the lawn," the monocultural fitted carpet, is a destructive one, it is unnatural, it eats up resources, people pour tons of toxic chemicals into the groundwater to maintain it, and then blame God when someone is diagnosed with cancer, dementia, autism...too much to unpack there, but the desert is a beautiful ecosystem, and I ask that you think outside the box and consider all the marvelous things you can do with your space, and without going "beige!" :biggrin:

There are marvelous people all over this board, but the folks in the cactus and succulents forum are particularly knowledgeable and helpful, you've already heard from some of them here, and they could give you so many ideas and show you so many possibilities that would give you a glorious desert property with color and texture and variety, one that would be a home to native wildlife, that would be easy to maintain, cost-effective, an absolute showpiece, and one that wouldn't waste water, which is a very precious and not unlimited natural resource. Or break your back or pocketbook. I can't imagine you want to be a slave to your property, or that you don't have better things to spend money on!

People I bought my house from put a couple of inches of top soil on top of rock and planted garbage for "curb appeal" -- I hope to go outside soon and check the progress of The Tulip out front! So I'm sure they just rolled something that didn't belong there out on top of your native soil to sell an image of the house. So FWIW, I'm asking you to at least explore the possibilities of playing the cards the desert dealt -- you might find it very liberating and exciting, taking you to a place you didn't know you wanted to go because you were so focused on one single idea. That happens to us all so often, I wish it at least came with a cash dividend! Big Grin
"Every now and then I leave the book on the seat and go and have a refreshing potter among my flower beds from which I return greatly benefited, and with a more just conception of what is worth bothering about, and what is not." The Solitary Summer -- Elizabeth von Arnim
Name: Steve Claggett
Portland Orygun (Zone 8a)
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madcratebuilder
Apr 29, 2017 8:47 AM CST
I landscaped my SIL's yard in LV with sand, gravel, rock and native cactus. Very low maintenance, little water needed.
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Name: Tiffany purpleinopp
Opp, AL ๐ŸŒต๐ŸŒทโš˜๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒป (Zone 8b)
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purpleinopp
Apr 29, 2017 9:03 AM CST
A desert landscape can be as colorful as you want, and you never have to mow, or water established plants. It looks like a perfect amount of space for some very colorful plants that love your climate. You could choose green plants or any other colors:
https://www.google.com/search?...

In another direction, a "living green carpet" does not need to be grass. What about Sedums & other genera with creeping/ground-cover, climate-suitable members?
๐Ÿ‘€๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ˜‚ - SMILE! -โ˜บ๐Ÿ˜Žโ˜ปโ˜ฎ๐Ÿ‘ŒโœŒโˆžโ˜ฏ๐Ÿฃ๐Ÿฆ๐Ÿ”๐Ÿ๐Ÿฏ๐Ÿพ
The less I interfere, the more balance mother nature provides.
๐Ÿ‘’๐ŸŽ„๐Ÿ‘ฃ๐Ÿก๐Ÿƒ๐Ÿ‚๐ŸŒพ๐ŸŒฟ๐Ÿโฆโง ๐Ÿƒ๐Ÿ๐Ÿ‚๐ŸŒพ๐ŸŒป๐ŸŒธ๐ŸŒผ๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒฝโ€โ˜€๐ŸŒบ
โ˜•๐Ÿ‘“ The only way to succeed is to try.
Name: Elaine
Sarasota, Fl
The one constant in life is change
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dyzzypyxxy
Apr 29, 2017 9:14 AM CST
I have an idea that might help you grow enough grass to satisfy your needs. Although may I say, I do agree with what everyone is saying above, it's not a great idea to try for a "lush green lawn" if you live in LV. Here in FL homeowners are discouraged from growing lawns. It's just expensive, work intensive and everything you have to do to grow a nice lawn is really bad for the environment. Mowing, trimming, pesticides, herbicides, fertilizer and most of all the amount of water - all costly and bad stuff.

How about planting a row of small deciduous trees along the west side of the area you want your lawn to grow? If you're willing to water that much, you can also grow trees and they will shade the lawn area from the worst of the hot sun through summer, then lose their leaves so the grass will have sun in the winter.

While you're out taking more pictures, could you possibly snap a few shots of the other houses near you that have nice lawns? Maybe we can get a clue as to how they're managing it.

Also, you should consider this if you haven't already got one: in-ground lawn soaker system so that the water is delivered under the sod and not sprayed up in the air by sprinklers, where a large percentage of it evaporates before getting to your grass's roots. https://www.youtube.com/watch?...
Elaine

"Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm." โ€“Winston Churchill
Las Vegas, NV (Zone 9a)
PugMom17
Apr 29, 2017 1:56 PM CST
Thank you to everyone who has posted replies to me. I really appreciate all of your thoughts. I'm really going to have to think about them. As promised, here is a closer look at the lawn.
Thumb of 2017-04-29/PugMom17/0220be

Name: tarev
San Joaquin County, CA (Zone 9b)
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tarev
Apr 29, 2017 2:06 PM CST
As much as having a lawn is beautiful I would reconsider and instead find plants more adaptable to desert conditions. There are alternatives not just cacti. If that area is mine I will research on dry gardens. There are drought/heat tolerant plants you can grow there. But it will be your preference what we suggest may not be what you like. Try to search for caudiciforms like Adeniums, Beaucarnea recurvata, Euphorbias, Pachypodiums then do a dry rockery set up๐Ÿ˜€
Name: Sue
Ontario, Canada (Zone 4a)
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sooby
Apr 29, 2017 3:36 PM CST
I would agree that trying to grow a lawn in similar climates can be a challenge in many ways, but PugMom said she has planted other things there and they have not survived (and is thinking the ground is poisoned). That there actually is a lawn suggests it probably isn't poisoned but perhaps we need to be helping figure out why the other plants put there died.

PugMom can you tell us what you have tried there?
Las Vegas, NV (Zone 9a)
PugMom17
Apr 29, 2017 3:52 PM CST
I have trouble with anything planted near my one stucco pillar and also under our address plaque on the house. I've planted sage, then lavender, euonymus, a small Italian cypress and a foxtail fern - which grows well against the wall leading to my porch, but died here. Each time, we prepared the soil according to the directions for that particular plant.
Name: Rj
Just S of the twin cities of M (Zone 4b)
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crawgarden
Apr 29, 2017 5:34 PM CST
You may want to consider The University of Nevada Las Vegas extension program

Good info from people that live there.

https://www.unce.unr.edu/publi...

https://www.unce.unr.edu/publi...
Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed.
Name: Elaine
Sarasota, Fl
The one constant in life is change
Cat Lover Master Gardener: Florida Tropicals Multi-Region Gardener Vegetable Grower Region: Florida
Herbs Orchids Birds Garden Ideas: Level 2 Garden Sages Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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dyzzypyxxy
Apr 29, 2017 6:06 PM CST
I think she was talking about the base of the one pillar, Sue. It may be leaching stuff from the stucco when there's watering happening, or there might be overspill from the concrete walkway - lots of possible explanations. I'd dig out and completely replace the soil with something good before trying to plant anything there again.
Elaine

"Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm." โ€“Winston Churchill
Name: Carol
Santa Ana, ca
Sunset zone 22, USDA zone 10 A.
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ctcarol
Apr 29, 2017 6:49 PM CST
I agree with dizzypixy
Name: tarev
San Joaquin County, CA (Zone 9b)
Always count your blessings in life
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tarev
Apr 30, 2017 4:33 PM CST
If it will be too much frustration to plant in ground, I would then consider planting in containers and find drought/heat tolerant plants. Careful positioning and creating like a zen garden appearance, will be nice.

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