How can I turn a muddy patch into a safe walkway?

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To exit our deck you have to walk out onto a muddy slope. The area gets very little sunlight so it stays messy and slick. Even our dog hates to walk on the area to go potty (so she often uses the deck as her potty, Eww Gross). The area is about 5 ft x 8 ft so it is impossible to jump over it... we have tried it, with hilarious results. Things we have tried thus far: grass seed, equine sawdust pellets, artificial turf, cornmeal "tea", concrete blocks, and outdoor area rugs that sunk into the ground and are now a permanent part of the yard.

Help! How do we make an inexpensive walkway that covers the mud!

q how can i turn a muddy patch into a safe walkway

Step straight into mud or take a 2 ft drop off the side, into mud!

q how can i turn a muddy patch into a safe walkway

Buried rugs & concrete block "balance beam"

  13 answers
  • I would try to make a gravel or stone walkway. You could also try to grow moss or something that grows well in the shade

  • Jeremy Hoffpauir Jeremy Hoffpauir on Apr 27, 2019

    Level it and put down a layer of sand then gravel. Finally, add a few pavers.

    • Emma Emma on Apr 29, 2019

      Thanks! The sand will definitely help filter the moisture.

  • Ken Erickson Ken Erickson on Apr 27, 2019

    I would ensure roof drains and yard is sloped away from the house. Then put in a gravel pathway. DO NOT USE PEA GRAVEL. It is hard to walk on because it never compacts. Use a gravel like 5/8" minus (5/8" size down to sand).

    • Emma Emma on Apr 29, 2019

      Thanks for the info on types of gravel. I will stay away from pea gravel!

  • Shore grandmom Shore grandmom on Apr 27, 2019

    You could remove some of the dirt and build another step and put steps beside the deck (second picture) where the cinderblocks are. (Make the steps on two sides). You can also extend the step making it a second deck over top of the muddy area.

    • Emma Emma on Apr 29, 2019

      Thanks for the idea! We definitely will look at adding steps to both sides of the little platform attached to the deck.

  • Pamela Pamela on Apr 28, 2019

    I would try gravel or make a stone walkway . Get concrete molds , they come in different styles , brick or cobblestones patterns , then mix quickcrete , a fast drying concrete to fill the molds and ma k a pathway over the gravel , that will be easier to walk on .

    • Emma Emma on Apr 29, 2019

      Thanks! I like the idea of brick or stone set in concrete.

  • Karen Brunck Karen Brunck on Apr 28, 2019

    Hi Emma. Has that downspout been checked for a clog? Is it draining right there? That could be why the area never dries as it is over saturated. After that, you could dig out the area and add a small deck or steps with a short retaining wall around the sloped sides. Add drainage pipe and gravel around the outside to help divert the water. Good luck!😊

    • Emma Emma on Apr 29, 2019

      Thanks Karen! That downspout has NOT been checked - I didn't even think of that! I know the opening of the other end of that drain pipe (n the yard) is mangled and filled with grass. I will put a new drain pipe around the outside of the area, as you suggest! That will be a great start!

  • TERESA CALDWELL TERESA CALDWELL on Apr 28, 2019


    We had the same problem and the dog would come in with muddy feet, my husband put down rock and have not had the problem since.

    • Emma Emma on Apr 29, 2019

      Thanks! A rock path is a good idea. I am really tired of having to use baby wipes on our dog's paws when she comes back inside from the muddy yard!

  • Richard Richard on Apr 28, 2019

    In state parks they mix dirt and cement (not sakrete) together then allow to dry. It matches surrounding dirt and is hard. You'll have to remove the shaving now showing. The dirt and concrete mix (what they use to set bricks) can be done in place no mixing tub required.

    • Emma Emma on Apr 29, 2019

      Wow, I didn't know about the dirt/cement process! That sounds very cool! And I didn't know we had to remove the sawdust. We will be sure to remove it when we dig up the embedded area rugs!

  • Lannie Lannie on Apr 28, 2019

    I've seen really cool boardwalks that you might like, in various places around the country, including up in Healy, Alaska. For your slope, you might need it to be stepped down from one landing to another to make it work and be safe. I agree the drainage for that area needs to be evaluated,before starting work. I would also add that leaves get into rock which makes it messy to maintain. Whatever you choose, best of luck!

    • Emma Emma on Apr 29, 2019

      Thanks! I think you are right about the need for different levels of landings, maybe like tiers. The area has a pretty big slope.

  • Sharon Sharon on Apr 28, 2019

    If you are looking for a cheap way out. Pick up some pallets (Usually free in my area) and level out the ground and lay them down like a boardwalk.

    • See 2 previous
    • Emma Emma on Apr 29, 2019

      Thanks Sharon! I have seen large, sturdy, wood pallets stacked behind our local farm supply store. I will beg for some free ones, or even buy them if the store agrees.

  • Karen Karen on Apr 29, 2019

    Emma, my husband and I have dealt with the EXACT problem for quite sometime! We finally ordered a load of 1&1/2” crusher run gravel and put down a thick layer. My husband has a power wheelchair and it was getting stuck in the thick gravel (oops) We then sprinkled a sack of dry quick set concrete over the area and watered it down good with the water hose. That did the trick perfectly. It’s almost like a cement walkway!

    Good luck to you!

    • See 2 previous
    • Charlene Rich Randall Charlene Rich Randall on May 25, 2020

      I would love to see the results. Post a picture if possible

  • Darlene Williman Darlene Williman on Apr 29, 2019

    We did the same as Emma and her husband. We had a front walkway that was nothing but red clay and was a mess when it rained. We dug out what little grass that was there as well as about 2 inches down for the run of the walkway then filled it with quick set concrete and watered it down. We watered it sparingly several times so that it didn't dry out to quickly in our hot southern location. It is now 25 years latter and still holding up well.

  • Pamela Pamela on Apr 29, 2019

    Please make sure the ground is higher at your house foundation and slopes away. You don't want a cracked foundation added to your other problem!

    • Emma Emma on Apr 29, 2019

      Thanks Pamela! We have a finished basement so you're right, water leaking into the house would be terrible! Thankfully, the ground does slope away from our house, and we hope to install the walkway (somehow) so water doesn't run toward the foundation.