I have an area just at the end of my current patio that I have tried to grow grass in for a few years with no luck. The area is heavily shaded, it is between two large maples. Plus I have two large dogs that don't help matters. No matter what it always reverts back to a few bits of grass and very sandy/dry soil...yes I have put topsoil down when seeding. If I could grow crab grass there I would. I just want something to make it less muddy when it rains.

The area is fairly large so using normal pavers would cost a fortune. Money I don't have. Does any one have any other idea's? Spaced pavers with something inbetween? poured concrete sections? Crab grass seeds?

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    I have lots of crab grass (previous owners must have liked weeds), I could sell you some. – Tester101 Sep 8 '10 at 21:25
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    As you mention ground cover as an option, have you considered clover? I know it does well in shade, and there are varieties that like sandy soil (although maybe not full sand) – Joe Sep 9 '10 at 21:27

Courtesy of This Old House magazine, pour a concrete pad, carve patterns in it and paint it.

  • I thought about this, or getting one of those stamp things to texture it. – nportelli Sep 9 '10 at 11:48
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    I wouldn't call this inexpensive. – aphoria Sep 9 '10 at 19:05

What about putting down sod to give the area a jump start?

  • Actually I didn't think along those lines. Could do that. – nportelli Sep 9 '10 at 11:49

You could make a path with crushed rock or stones (maybe crushed rock in between) and surround the path with a cheaper ground cover like pine straw/mulch where you could eventually put plants. This way you allow access to where the area leads and avoid having to cover everything with the expensive stuff.


You could make your own pavers.

  • Thought about this too, but seems like an awful pain for the amount I'd need. – nportelli Sep 9 '10 at 11:50

The problem is, if you just add an extension to the patio, it just becomes more paved ground. I suppose you could just pave your entire yard... Hey, that would eliminate the mowing!

I'd also point out that many dogs seem not to love crushed rock under their feet. I know ours does not, and our last dog also seemed to shy away from those areas too. And smaller crushed stone seems to get dragged into the house too easily, scratching up floors.

So my thoughts would go to mulch, if the area is too shady to grow anything. Yes, there are plants that thrive in shady areas, so that is an option. It depends on your goals for the area, and how large are your dogs. Large dogs can be an issue with plants, as large quantities of urine tends to burn plants.

In the end, I'd be looking to put down a thick bed of mulch there. Mulch is inexpensive and easy to put down. You might choose to put a ground cloth under the mulch, to inhibit weeds coming through.

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