Help for the mud pit in my yard.
March 3, 2022 10:55 AM   Subscribe

Our new dog, Dixie, is quite active, running around our fenced yard and has worn a number of paths into the grass. Now that things are warming up, the paths are a muddy mess. What can we put over the muddy patches until we can get the grass to regrow.?

We've had this issue with previous doggos - we tried spreading straw down on the paths, which helped, but were left with weird weeds in the lawn. The next time, we ponied up for special straw landscaping mats, but the monofilament threads holding them together left a mess in the yard and got tangled up in the lawnmower.
posted by sarajane to Home & Garden (11 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
You could try mulch. Cocoa bean shells will break down quickly, cedar mulch will take longer.
posted by mezzanayne at 11:10 AM on March 3, 2022

This may be avant-garde, but my old dog used to run a specific path and the solution was to give up the idea of there being grass there and just create little windy paths with flower beds between them. I know that there are 10,000 reasons why that might not work for you and your dog, but I figured I'd suggest it in case it just hadn't occurred to you.
posted by branca at 11:58 AM on March 3, 2022 [6 favorites]

Best answer: I was researching this yesterday and will be trying cedar shavings (a la pet bedding). Found this YT video with lots of info that looked promising
posted by vespertinism at 12:04 PM on March 3, 2022

I have given up on hoping anything will grow along my dog's backyard network of paths. He travels the same route multiple times a day. If your dog is similarly inclined, it may be impossible to get the grass growing again.

My solution was to dump and spread a layer of mulch and then a thick layer of river rock. If you do this, make sure you don't use gravel. Gravel is rough on dog paws. Spread it all along the paths that humans use. It looks beautiful and it's easy to pick up poop if he does his business on the path. I left the paths in the "back backyard" to allow him some happy muddy places.
posted by RobinofFrocksley at 12:05 PM on March 3, 2022 [1 favorite]

Instead of river rock, I'd try for natural flagstone-type rocks (but not cut into rectangles; left in their shapes with space in between, maybe on paver base), if you can do it. It's like a little natural but paved path that can be moved in the future if you want.
posted by amtho at 12:12 PM on March 3, 2022

Response by poster: We do have a paver pathway along the fence where she likes to run and bark at passers-by. We just need something temporary, for the inner paths, until we can get the grass to grow. We're fortunate in that we have large amounts of time in the summer when she's at our other house and the grass has a chance to take hold. Right now, not so much.
posted by sarajane at 12:29 PM on March 3, 2022

Cocoa bean shells will break down quickly, cedar mulch will take longer.

Do not use cocoa bean mulch around dogs. It may not kill your dog but can cause them unnecessary distress if eaten. And then you need to remove it anyway.
posted by oneirodynia at 1:13 PM on March 3, 2022 [1 favorite]

This may just be the cost of having a dog. If you're just trying to keep grass cover, perhaps lay turf in those areas so it's already established?
posted by dg at 1:24 PM on March 3, 2022

Best answer: I made some frames that have chicken wire on them, that we lay out to redirect the dogs for periods of time to let the grass grow back, and if we want to use the yard for something we just pick them up.

We're lucky to have a good grass seed provider in our ag zone, that has a 'dog park' grass blend that is nigh indestructible; the areas where we have overseeded with it have faired much better than the areas we have yet to do. Much to the chagrin of 'lawn dudes' it has clover in it, but we don't mind the polinators, or the flowers they produce. Overall, a much heartier lawn.
posted by furnace.heart at 4:02 PM on March 3, 2022 [3 favorites]

Thanks for asking this question, I am in the same situation with an awesome new pup and a yard that has turned into a mud pit!
posted by kittensofthenight at 4:18 PM on March 4, 2022 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Follow up for future readers: the Horse bedding/Pine Chips have been just great to help with the mud. We are still waiting for the weather to get warmer to see how this impacts the grass seed.
posted by sarajane at 9:21 AM on March 29, 2022

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