Asked on May 10, 2017

Back yard renovation

Ginger the farm galSusanne Abler MaciejewskiWan9326452
+20

Answered

We dug our back yard up 2 yrs ago. Took up all the old sod and now all we have is a backyard full of weeds. It's very overwhelming. We want to have a beautiful back yard this summer. Our main goal is not to have a lot of grass. How to have a beautiful backyard with very little grass. I have 4 large flower beds that outline the backyard now (not in bloom yet) and I'm not looking for anymore to maintain. We are open to any suggestions you can offer. Thanks for having a peek at the yard.
19 answers
  • Janet Pizaro
    on May 10, 2017

    Unfortunately you must remove all of the weeds. Rent a tiller and turn the soil over.Next rake out the unwanted weeds.Put topsoil a few inches covering the entire lawn then apply pelletized lime.Next step is grass seed for your localtion and lighting topped with starter fertilizer.Lastly you must cover the seed with peat moss and keep moist until that seed germinated.
  • Janet Harden
    on May 10, 2017

    it will not be fast but it is beautiful when done. if you have areas that are always shady plant a couple of different mosses, in the sunnier locations plant 'stepables' things like thyme, and other low growing ground covers. i suggest that you stay away from creeping jenny as it can overtake a yard quickly.
    also you should decide where the paths are and how you will delineate them. then ad succulents in the beds for added interest and blooming color.
  • Pascale Nguyen
    on May 11, 2017

    It depends on where you live but I planted these in my garden: irises, peonies, lavender, black eye susan, echinacea, daisies, dianthus, yarrow. For ground cover there are endless choices. I have a succulent garden and an herb garden. Just look up your zone and soil conditions. These all all low maintenance and the blooms are at different times. Unfortunately we have a lot of deer so I had to experiment over the years but so far I recommend those.
    Good luck
  • Rach Bould
    on May 11, 2017

    if you don't want lawn then what are your main aims for use of your yard? your list could include entertaining/dining out, somewhere for kids to play, exercise (yoga, pool, putting green etc), pond ... my next step would be to measure up and draw out your yard as accurately as you can, draw in permanent objects such as flower beds, and then get creative! NB. a patio/deck area for 6 people round a large table takes more space than you'd think so check it out first...
  • Joan
    on May 11, 2017

    I have a large backyard and honestly--- just hire a professional to do the back breaking work of tilling your yard for a new lawn which is what I did (especially a yard this size). Yards are a work in progress. Do one additional thing at a time. You may change your mind as time goes on once you actually see it. I also have a lawn company put 5 applications on a year to keep my lawn beautiful and weed free. It's so worth it. I don't have to do anything but mow and I come home to a beautiful lawn every day.
  • Mfbandit769
    on May 11, 2017

    Your post is very confusing. You said you want little grass. You dug up your sod. There you go! Now you have very little grass. What is your question?
  • Jennifer
    on May 11, 2017

    You don't need to till. Get a ton of cardboard/newspaper and lay it flat all over the yard where you don't want grass/weed. Spray it down/soak heavily with the hose. Lay stones or rocks down over the cardboard/newspaper to weigh it down. After about a month, the weeds/grass should be suffocated/dead. Lay a few inches of soil over the cardboard/newspaper and landscape however you'd like. Where you do not want plants, lay plastic down and then a layer of mulch or rock or whatever (to hide the plastic). Where you want plants, install landscape fabric, and then cut through in places to plant drought tolerant natives that require the least amount of care. Lay mulch around your plants to help retain moisture.
    • Karen Dunnam
      on May 13, 2017

      Good advice. I don't like a lawn -- mowing and care is a waste of time, IMHO.
      To remove my lawn, I placed a triple layer of newspaper, topped with woodchips (free from my city's yard refuse facility). Filled in with flower beds and crops.
  • June Stoller Wolfberg
    on May 11, 2017

    The time-honored approach to a low-maintenance garden is to plant shrubs that do well in your area. In the Northeast we go with azaleas, rhododendrons, euonymus, boxwood, aucuba, and the many needle evergreens that throw off shades of blue, green and yellow. Slightly higher maintenance in that they need pruning would include lilacs, spirea and bridal veil, hydrangea. The new Knock Out roses purport to be very low maintenanc. Consider laying paths of stepping stones. But by all means, follow the advice of Rach Buld above. Determine your needs and make a plan. You probably should have delayed clearing the land until you had replacements for the grass that was there. Mother Nature fills in, and not usually in the ways we want.
  • Charly
    on May 11, 2017

    Why do you not want grass? Are you trying to plant an English garden where there is nothing but flowers? The Google it!
  • Wyldecent
    on May 11, 2017

    You could use a lot of hardscaping -- pavers, pebble paths, etc. No grass. You could add a pergola or gazebo or cute shed. Raised plant beds surrounded by hardscaping would also work.
  • Joanie
    on May 11, 2017

    If you talk to someone in your area, maybe they can give you some tips and hints. Our neighbor just put in a full front yard and it looks beautiful.......NO, he isn't a landscaper.
  • Vickie
    on May 11, 2017

    Gee whiz, some of these folks are downright mean and ugly! She doesn't want grass and maintenance, I totally get it why do folks have to say such hurtful things! My Daddy taught me "If you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all!" Guess lots of folks missed out on that lesson!
    We visited a friend in Arizona where very little grass grows so they made a rock yard as did most of the folks in town. You can google it and find all sorts of inspiration that will include your existing flower beds, you can use some of the flat rock you have in one of the pictures to make a walkway and area for chairs and a fire pit and continue it out a ways for maybe a bird bath. If you feed the birds, put them way back so the seeds won't sprout, we've had wheat sprout in SE Texas from our birds, not a usual coastal plant! They opted for large white rock to cover the entire backyard without walkways. They had a great outside fireplace but getting to it and finding a slightly even spot for a chair was difficult. Also, they had pets that used the backyard and without a grassy potty spot, there was just little piles in many places and of course they had to do regular cleanups. They could have used some flat rocks and a small grassy area in the backyard but other than that honestly, I loved it! They had no plants only a few small trees in the backyard and in the front they had cactus, some wild and some planted, along with a dry riverbed of different colored rocks from the rest of the yard and I think some native tall grass planted by the driveway. It was just beautiful, they didn't spend time mowing and weeding, they are busy with careers, runners and great participants in everything going on in town over the weekend so their no maintenance yard was perfect for them. I am planning on doing some rock work in our yard to cut down on maintenance myself. Only problem of course is the weight of the rocks, do you buy it by the bag or the truck load and if by truck, who in the world is going to shovel it to the needed area, I know this 59 year old lady can't do it so it's convince the kids to do it or hire it done! Hope this helps a little bit!
    • Wan9326452
      on May 11, 2017

      thanks Vicki. I appreciate your comment and we are going to goggle rock yard. Sounds what we may be interested in. We thought about a fire pit, gazebo and bird baths. And this 61 yr old won't be hauling any heavy loads. Thanks again for understanding Vicki.
  • Pat
    on May 11, 2017

    I agree with Vicki and know that grass takes a lot of maintenance. You do not say where you are from......could you build a big patio coming off your back door....Lay a rock path around your flower beds. Put some black landscaping fabric down and cover your yard with white rock or even mulch. Maybe lay another patio under a tree with some chairs for lounging in the shade. Maybe build a pergola for shade and that will take up some space in your yard. With your flowers around, and the rock or mulch, your lawn will look nice, I am sure.
  • M
    on May 11, 2017

    i have the same ideas that pat has, but i also thought of a waterfall or at least a nice fountain.
  • M
    on May 11, 2017

    you could also make a bbq pit!
  • Wan9326452
    on May 11, 2017

    thanks for the great ideas.
  • Wan9326452
    on May 11, 2017

    thanks Pat. appreciate the feedback.
  • Susanne Abler Maciejewski
    on May 11, 2017

    In my opinion nothing is easier than grass. Just fertilize 4 times a year and cut it once a week and your done. Flower beds are nothing but maintenance. Constant weeding, constant mulching and having to replace plants that don't make it with something new. If they are not kept up frankly they start to look like crap. If mowing isn't your thing then invest in a rider. It makes cutting grass fun. My grandsons argue over who gets to mow. Your current lawn needs reseeding, fertilizing and watering. You can't throw down seed and expect it to grow. You need to be diligent with it at first but once the grass is established it gets easier. Also remember to set your mower on the highest setting. I learned over the years that the professionals are right. When you leave the grass a little taller it becomes more lush and squeezes out the weeds.
  • Ginger the farm gal
    on May 12, 2017

    I am narrowing down my grass area too, lawnmowers are getting outrageous in price and to maintain. I like green but something to eat, (especially tomatoes) so I am slowly going with paths, rock, some mulch, dry creek beds, lots of setting areas, hammocks, swings with double landscape cloth under it all (added moth balls and Diatomaceous Earth for varmints ) and lots of raised beds ( up to my waist level ). Being 64 and 74 and not wanting to hire help, it's the only way to go. Less work = more time to enjoy our space, even tho I love cutting the grass and the smell. Oh and don't forget...horseshoes for the kids when they visit in a shady area where nothing grows and a fire pit in the middle away from the trees. Enjoy your space and add what you love, don't worry, be happy.
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