11:16AM | 04/11/07
Member Since: 04/10/07
1 lifetime posts
I live in a rental space, so I’m not willing to spend a lot of time or money making my yard nice. However, we’re lucky enough to have a decent sized back yard in the middle of Manhattan. So, I want to get as much use out of the space as possible. Half of the yard is covered in concrete. The other half is basically dirt/wood chips and a few trees.

I’ve planted plants in the one corner that gets enough light. The rest of the non-concrete part of the lawn is, like I said, uneven dirt and wood chips. The problem is that people really don’t like walking around on the dirt, so I was trying to figure out an EASY and relatively cheap way to extend the deck. I’ll have no use for the materials after I leave the apartment, so I’m not really worried about longevity or adding value.

I’ve thought about buying pavers, and just laying those on the dirt. But, I gather that this is really not going to work without laying a concrete foundation, and I think that the pavers will be too expensive for what I’m looking for. My other thought is some sort of very, very basic artificial turf. Does anyone have any recommendations on how to install basic, cheap artificial turf?

Thanks for any thoughts or suggestions.


06:17PM | 04/17/07
Member Since: 04/13/07
4 lifetime posts
Why not use real turf? You could just sow grass seed on the dirt area. It's pretty easy to do if you do it now in the Spring, and much cheaper than pavers or anything else. First rake up the wood chips and throw them away. Then sprinkle the seed thickly. Rake it in about a half inch deep. Water with gentle hose spray daily for about a week or 10 days. You should see some green sprouts. Let it get about 3" tall before you mow the first time. Course this would require you to purchase a mower--a push mower would be good enough for such a small yard.

Another idea: cover the whole area with an inch thick pad of newspapers to kill weeds and prevent their growth, then pour wood mulch or pebbles or white marble chips over all to a depth of about 3"-4". (The rocks will cost you a lot more.) You can even use black garbage bags instead of the newspapers, but they are not as enviro-friendly. Landscaping fabric actually doesn't work as well IMHO.

You could also plant shade-loving plants (hosta, astilbe, violets, monkshood, ferns, etc.) in there, surrounded by some mulch, to give a 'woodland retreat'. With all that concrete, guests may prefer more green stuff to look at. And plants breathe, helping reduce carbon dioxide pollution. They smell good, too.

If you still want a hardscape setup, I hear you can use something called decomposed granite to make a hard surface. First you clear off the wood chips, level the surface of the dirt, sprinkle the granite powder on, then water it. It hardens to a firm surface for walking on.

Hope this helps!


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