I took this photo back in March, and since then the ground was seemingly more uneven, the grass was wild with dandelions, the two shrubs at the front had grown into the shrubbiest shrubs possible, the tall hedges at the right had grown about 10 feet high, and well, it looked like even more of a mess than this sorry sight:
We were thinking about laying sod ourselves, but in the end decided to hire someone to even out the ground, dig out the bushes, and plant grass seed.
I think they did a much better job than whatever we would have done. Even ground, new topsoil, no bushes, trimmed hedges. They even put a sweet layer of hay over the top to protect the budding seed. It was worth every penny!