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Creative and Inexpensive Ideas For Backyard That has No Grass

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      Help!!! I just moved into a rental home that has a backyard full of dirt. It is a sloping yard that is full of trees and pretty large. Grass will not grow and the owner of the home is not willing to have that yard sodded. Anyone have some ideas of how to landscape it? I have three dogs and everytime it rains they are full of mud when they just go out to go potty. They(the dogs) are not the reason for no grass and never in any other place we have lived did they make it a problem to have a yard with grass in it.
      Ohter than put rocks in the whole yard, I need some more creative ideas.


        First of all – spread the word among your family/freinds that you're taking up potted gardening. You'd be amazed at how many people are willing to propogate off hteir own plants or keep an eye out for large pots for you.

        Then, now this may sound odd – but you can “mock” grass by installing fake turf. This can be professionally done for around $.25 sq foot, which can be very expensive
        but if it's only a rental, use a lesser grade material purchased at a hardware store.
        Lay a bed of pea gravel (the pros use crushed granite) for drainage. Lay the “grass”
        and stake it down every 8″ or so. Be sure to poke holes where any liquid can drain
        through into the ground.

        Now the reason I said to start the pots, is because you're only going to put
        the “grass”  where you need it, not all over the yard. This way, you can create
        walkways, seating areas, which might be deisrable with a BBQ, and even a sandpit
        or two where your animals may prefer to mess. Anywhere you have a “bald” spot,
        add a pot. If finances don't alow for the entire yard to be compelted at once, put up
        some of that reed fencing to hid parts until you can get to it. Or fence in the portion you want to enjoy for yourself right out the backdoor, and hide the rest of the

        Hope this is a reasonable solution for you.


          Why not landscape with natives?  You'll find wild areas that are about to be developed that you can rescue plants from and move them to your property.  They're used to rugged conditions so they survive. 

          We did this for a bank we had down front by the mailbox.  It was too steep to hold mulch and we didn't want grass, so we moved a bunch of plants from a field before it was leveled and turned it into a Butterfly Garden.  Then we certified it with to be a Monarch Waystation.  A really fun and rewarding project.

          You could also do a rock garden if rocks are plentiful in your area and planting there will be maintenance free.  More info on rock gardening:

          Here's a tutorial with photos:


            Thank you! That is an awesome idea. I will start looking around and seeing where I can get some plants.  I already  have some cool weeds that grow like ivy and have yellow blloms that are going crazy and I am thinking of allowing to take over, as long as they will not harm anything I put in the yard.
            Any more ideas and tips would be appreciated.
            Thanks again.


              It's always a great idea to let something grow that is growing there … until you figure out if you like it and that it's not invasive.  After all, it's obviously in a spot it loves to be hardy enough to grow.  We've had some really pretty flowers and trees by letting things grow until we could ID them.  Your extension agent for the county should have a way for you to get ID of plants … or if there's a Master Gardener program in the county.

              Here's what ours looked like in Spring.  This area used to be look so ugly when we moved in.  Right now it's in bloom with coneflowers and goldenrod.  I plan to take a photo tomorrow since this reminded me to do so.

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