Help! Worst backyard ever

I desperately need help with my backyard. This one is the worst. Can anyone help? It's pretty big and it's swallowing my house!
q help worst backyard ever, gardening, landscape, lawn care, outdoor living, Worst Backyard Ever
Worst Backyard Ever
q help worst backyard ever, gardening, landscape, lawn care, outdoor living, Worst Backyard Ever
Worst Backyard Ever
  25 answers
  • Tomc60025 Tomc60025 on Jul 18, 2016
    I could see expanding the seating/cooking area with a pergola/canopy type structure growing kiwi, grape or some other type of vine for shade. Then start doing some sort of geometrical pattern of raised bed planting beds with mulch or crushed gravel in between the beds. you can leave as much space as wanted in between beds, also maybe start adding large plant containers that you can move around to suit your mood.
  • Tomc60025 Tomc60025 on Jul 18, 2016
    I could also see trellising a bunch of cucumbers, tomotoes or other fruiting vines along the fence, inter spaced with some ornamental trees or shrubs. Maybe even blueberry bushes or goji berry bushes. I could also see where you could make a really cool herb garden or rock garden section, then there's also just doing sections of ground cover.
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    • Tomc60025 Tomc60025 on Jul 24, 2016
      glad my ideas helped some. GOOD FOR YOU!!!!! just keep plugging away as you can. I know it's too expensive to do all at once, but you may want to consider starting with just a small section of yard and just put low maintanance crushed gravel down in the yard. put down something for weed supression and cover with crushed gravel. you can then plant native plants that will need less watering amongst the gravel. you will still get some weeds but they should be few enough that you could keep up with them. I would also visit a local garden nursery & see if they could recommend any hardy native ground cover plants. if the ground cover is thick enough you would not have to pull up weeds but just clip then below the height of the ground cover.
  • Annette Annette on Jul 18, 2016
    If you have young kids, how about paying them to pull weeds? Or if you have high school kids in your neighborhood, they might like to work for community service hours. Perhaps a church youth group could help? I like Tomc60025's idea of growing veggies along the fence. Maybe do that in a border planter along the fence? I see you are in a residential area...are you allowed to have chickens? Just 3-5 chicken in a moveable/portable coop will take care of those weeds, provide rich manure for your plants and you can have fresh eggs, too.
    • Mbr8263436 Mbr8263436 on Jul 24, 2016
      Thanks for the ideas. I don't think we are zoned for chickens. I think I will put in planter boxes. They are easier to tend. There is an easement ditch all along the back fence so I don't think I can plant there but I have to work on the weeds first. I appreciate your ideas. Thanks again.
  • Bobbie Bobbie on Jul 18, 2016
    You can contact a landscaper and do a 5 yr plan on redoing your yard.
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    • Dfm Dfm on Apr 20, 2017
      Do the landscape plan...well worth it. At the time a had plan done by pro's my lawn was a blank slate with drainage issues. See if you can get a master gardener to do soil testing, and suggest what types of plantings would do well in your space. Then talk to 3 or more landscaping companies for bids.
  • Kayo Frazier Kayo Frazier on Jul 18, 2016
    Here's my 2 cents...1 ~ I would repair & paint the fence white. This will brighten up the backyard, provide more light for grass & plants. 2 ~ In front of the fence I would make 4 raised beds. Then make sure there are paths around & between each raised bed. One for fruits and vegetables w/ trellises for cucmbers, tomatoes, squash, or beans. One for culinary herbs. 2 for edible flowers, bee pollinators & butterflies. I would add trellises for vine climbing flowers. 3 ~ For the rest of the yard on one side I would make an outdoor kitchen & table w/ shade. 4 ~ Other side could be an open seating area w/ a fire pit. 5 ~ The rest of the yard needs to stripped of weeds, new soil, & new sod. 6- I would add container pots of lemongrass, marigolds, peppermint, lemon thyme, basil, rosemary, lavender, bee balm around the yard to keep mosquitoes, gnats & other bugs.
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    • Mbr8263436 Mbr8263436 on Jul 19, 2016
      I just figured out how to see your whole post. I like your ideas of raised planting beds. I don't know how to get rid of the weeds. My arthritis is too bad now and I can't do that kind of work anymore. I'm just lost. Thanks for your response.
  • That is a huge space and a huge undertaking. How much time do you have? Do you plan on doing it yourself? What would you like the backyard to accomplish for you (dining, gardening, landscape, patio, bbq, etc)? And most important, How much money do you have to spend?? You really need to address these questions before asking for advice. You could spend 500 dollars or 100K, depending on what you want. Narrow it down for us. The first thing you have to do is kill off those weeds. If you just pull them, they will just grow again into your new sod (or whatever you plan on laying back there). So get a few gallons of Round-Up or Total grass and week killer, and spray it all over the weeds and grass. Spray it well. Wait two weeks and then pull up everything. If you see anything that still looks alive, spray it again. Now you have a clean slate to work with. That's something that you can do first to get you going. Then rent a rotor-tiller and till up the soil and add amendments to it. Of course you could always pay someone to do this as well. power wash the wood fence, shore it up so it doesn't lean, and apply a wood sealer, stain or paint. It will look brand new again. That should get you going for now.
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    • Mbr8263436 Mbr8263436 on Jul 24, 2016
      Thanks for the ideas. I will probably put down some rock areas. I'd like to cement most of it but I can't afford that. I'm going to try to power wash the fence for a start.
  • A. Barnette A. Barnette on Jul 18, 2016
    Well, just feel fortunate to have such a large sun filled space. I see a gorgeous garden, complete with water features, lawn and patio.
    • Mbr8263436 Mbr8263436 on Jul 19, 2016
      That's what I'd like to see but somehow I just can't see it. Thanks for responding.
  • Kay Kay on Jul 19, 2016
    Invest some money and get some help. Make a definite plan of what you want i.e. seating area, raised beds, area to hang washing maybe a shed, dustbins etc. Then plan to work in stages. Use membrane and cover with chippings for some areas. You can plant into it later. Use wood for raised beds (a good cheap alternative). Re-purpose containers for plants . One of the most important things is to add some height. Again, you can do this with clever trellis to create 'outdoor' rooms. You don't want to see the entire garden all at once. Have an overall idea of what you want it to look like i.e. modern, country, med - if hot and dry med is a good idea. The sun will dictate where you would like a seating area. The sun will dictate what plans i.e. if you have a shady nook, or all the garden is full sun most of the time. Beg, steal and borrow plants, seeds from other gardening folk, visit summer fates for cheap cuttings, and old garden implements. Remember a garden evolves. Read up on plants and go for easy care, self seeding ones and look at other gardens in your area and see what is thriving in theres.
  • Pet5437441 Pet5437441 on Jul 19, 2016
    move house :-) ?
  • Michelle Michelle on Jul 19, 2016
    I have a horrible yard too! It would take $20,000 to fix the fence,remove invasive gnarled twisted trees,bring in good dirt for sod,enclose the patio so it isnt swirling with debris daily. So its a fantasy! If you are limited by arthritis why not remove most the grass/weeds and go with a no maintence yard? You could go rocks,pebbles,mulch,pavers or make little areas of each. I only plant in containers due to a bad back, hanging plants too. Make a little sitting area and a bird feeding area.
    • Mbr8263436 Mbr8263436 on Jul 24, 2016
      That is what I'd like to do. Right now I'm fighting weeds. Can't wait to get to the point where I can plant something. Thanks.
  • Kayo Frazier Kayo Frazier on Jul 19, 2016
    Mbraun1160...I would take pictures of the backyard, take close up pics of the different types of weeds. Then take them to Lowe's or Home Depot, get the supplies needed. Then if you have grandchildren have them do the grunt work for you. This might take several different steps to recover your backyard from the weeds. If you are unable to do these things then I would turn this project over to a landscaping company.
  • Shelli Dall Lindenfeld Shelli Dall Lindenfeld on Jul 19, 2016
    my back yard was pure pebble rock when we moved in. Posted it free on craigslist, and sectioned it off. one part for veggie garden, another for pic nik table (bark in that area) grass area, and a pergola that is covered and cemented for sitting-bbq area. we used trellis around the pergola and planted potato vines and wisteria to create a natural shade
  • Lynn Lynn on Jul 19, 2016
    Remove all the debris. Railroad ties and anything else. Mow it as close to the ground as you can and rake or use a bagging mower. Cover the entire area with tarps, black plastic, etc and weigh them down well. Throw some hay on top to help weigh the tarps down. Allow the tarps to remain on the lawn through the heat of the summer and into the fall. In the late spring, remove the tarps and throw them away.What you end up with is a lawn that is void of all vegetation. Now, bring in a couple large truckloads of top-soil and have it spread out over the area. I hired two high school kids to do the tarps and the top-soil. Cost me a couple hundred bucks. Now for the fun part! While you are waiting for your lawn to cook it's way to perfection, begin a folder of all the ideas you like. Break it into a three year project and remember to think about how much time you want to spend caring for your yard. Opt for smooth pebbles instead of grass in some areas, plant shrubs that are low maintenance, hostas, day lillies, throw in a few large boulders and some bird feeders on shepherds hooks and a few large pots of pretty flowers. Voila!
    • Mbr8263436 Mbr8263436 on Jul 24, 2016
      Thanks Lynn for the info. How long should I leave the plastic down over the weeds/ground? Did you spray with anything before laying the plastic? How big is your yard and how much plastic did you use? Thanks again.
  • Sue Kiene Sue Kiene on Jul 19, 2016
    I have said this before and I am going to say it again. I am sure that you have a high school nearby. For kids to belong to the National Honor Society they have to put in so many hours of voluntary work (no pay) per year. Most of them are always looking for ways to get hours. Call and ask for the schools director for the NHS and get some help. Many times you can also get help again free from 4H groups, FFA groups, Boy Scouts, Cub Scouts etc.
    • Mbr8263436 Mbr8263436 on Jul 20, 2016
      Thank you for the information. I didn't realize that about the NHS. I will look into that.
  • Sue Kiene Sue Kiene on Jul 20, 2016
    Yes they do. It is quite a few hours that they have to work. Cannot be for a relative. A friend of mine asked me if I wanted help in my yard so that her nieces and their friends could get in hours. Definitely worth it. Who knows maybe you will hit it off with a couple of the kids for ongoing work on the project. Who knows one of them might be into horticulture or design or the like and help you make an inexpensive plan of action for after you get the weeds gone.
    • Mbr8263436 Mbr8263436 on Jul 20, 2016
      Great idea. I will check into that. I really appreciate your input. Thanks so much.
  • Galen W. Yoder Galen W. Yoder on Jul 22, 2016
    For starters, If the fence is going to stay, get the grass cut away atleast a couple feet away and remove any dirt and debris preferably a couple inches below the bottom of the boards. Removing this material will give your wood fence a chance to breath and Not wick the moisture from the plant life or soil into the bottom of the boards. Bark dust, plantlife, dirt touching the bottom of the fence boards, ( true for wire fences too), will shorten the life of your fence. If you have voids that you would like blocked off-Animal poof- consider using a piece of composite decking even if you have to make a shallow trench to fit the deck board in on edge. You can do a nice trench with a Straight claw hammer in a short amount of time. a couple stakes to hold it in place until the back fill settles in to hold it in place. The composite decking comes in different colors but if you can find some used pieces it will hold paint. If your fence has been effected by wicking , you can see the discoloration in the wood any place it has been saturated at one time or more, and the colors will actually vary because of what types of materials are in contact with the bottom of the fence boards. It's a start! I agree with Lynns idea of mowing this area down to bear ground, ( I prefer a HD weed eater, with heavy string line, (don't forget the dust mask & eye protection--a little extra shin protection doesn't hurt either!!) Once you have it raked and cleaned, you might be surprised how your ideas begin to pop! Some times starting with one corner and doing something simple, or adding a nice garden shed or play area might help begin to fill the mass of the over-all project--Rome wasn't built in a day!
    • Mbr8263436 Mbr8263436 on Jul 22, 2016
      Good ideas and a way to get me started. I'll have to go inspect the fence. I didn't know about wicking. Thanks for all your help. I appreciate it.
  • CK CK on Jul 23, 2016
    Lots of good ideas here to help you but first and foremost remember this: It all takes time. Plants, grass, bushes, flowers, etc. are all living things and like a human, they start out small and get larger as they grow :-) Unless your budget allows for full-sized plants immediately, you'll be buying little ones and you won't get that 'wow' factor right off. But what you will get is the chance to make a difference in the landscape and watch your 'plant babies' grow. This may take years until you see the yard of your dreams...but it'll be worth it. :-) It took me over 20 years to make a plain jane lawn-only yard into a beautiful English cottage garden. When you take on things that involve Nature, patience will be your virtue.
    • Mbr8263436 Mbr8263436 on Jul 24, 2016
      Thanks Connie. That is important to keep in mind. It definitely won't happen overnight. Looking forward to the next 20 years!!
  • Michelle Michelle on Jul 24, 2016
    I have been at the point if the weeds are green I am happy. And when its cut who cares!! I let it grow in front when these cute flowers bloom across the whole yard! But one day it will be nice again! Good luck!
  • Cindy Curtis Cindy Curtis on Jul 31, 2016
    If you get on pinterest it's free and you can find everything you will ever need on fixing up your back yard.
  • Eroque022810 Eroque022810 on Sep 05, 2016
    I guess it's important to know where you live I'm in a 5 state that way you know what will grow don't purchase just because it's beautiful it may not last more than one season that's wasted money. Make sure you don't have slugs by cutting a piece of lawn and looking under it because nothing you you will matter until deal with them. Make sure you don't have water line or cable or anything like that under that area before you dig you need to get root. It looks pretty tall I would use a weed wake first then continue by hand. Yes it will take time but it will be worth your effort. Maybe if neighbors see you worker they will help. Ask what's the worst thing that they say no. It's their neighborhood too. But don't dig without making sure that it is safe to do so. And get roots just cause they look dead doesn't mean that they are. Good luck.
  • Ginny Ginny on Jan 09, 2017
    Hire a landscaper. Some colleges/universities have landscaping courses, and students might work cheaper than a professional company. Call - you never know what you'll find for a reasonable price
  • Mbr8263436 Mbr8263436 on Jan 10, 2017
    That is s good thought. I'll give it a try. Thanks for your suggestion.
  • Dfm Dfm on Jan 30, 2017
    I had a hill side eroding - had a landscape person draw up plans, and i implemented them over the course of 3 yrs. you don't need to do it all at once. a pro knows what will be invasive, poisonous, or just obnoxious. they will also point you to plantings that certain critters like as in butterflies, hummers.

  • Tkh23974795 Tkh23974795 on Jul 10, 2017
    I saw your picture and it looks like my yard, only my weeds are taller. And add a broken trampoline and a few trees that need trimmed with branches that are all knarled from some huge storms that hit us. We have no money to sink into it, either. I would love someone to come out and totally transform it into the yard of my dreams but I guess I'll be waiting for a few years until medical bills are paid. Sigh....
  • Kayla wilkinson Kayla wilkinson on Feb 02, 2018
    Sit down with pencil and paper and create a list of what you think you would like. Go through several DIY websites to see if any ideas are feasible in your case. Don't get discouraged this is a BIG project.
    Think pathways, a small year round lily pond, an area for seating and maybe a firepit. If you can afford it a Gazebo or pergola. Hunt your local Lowes or Home Depot for discount trees and plants that grow well in your area.
    Look on Craigslist or other local sites for people giving away Dirt, Rock, Pavers, Wood any thing that can be repurposed. Think out of the box. Remember, Rome wasn't built in a day. Good luck and it will be beautiful.
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