Our backyard is mostly muddy, especially in the spring after the snow melts and most of the grass is dead. I was looking for a muddy yard fix since we have a German Shepherd.
Each spring, when the rains stop, my small backyard resembles a pitcher’s mound of hard compacted dirt since the soil is mainly builder’s soil (no nutrients in the soil.) I tried all kinds of things to fix our muddy backyard.
I couldn’t keep grass strong and healthy in our backyard and our German Shepherd always had muddy paws. I needed a solution for the muddy backyard problem that was costing me money and time every year, just for the same muddy backyard problem to appear again in the spring.
Cleaning muddy dog paws is a hassle
Each spring in Chicago, we get a lot of rain, which turns backyards with dogs into mud. Dogs come in from the yard with muddy paws after walking or running through our mud swamp yard. If you have dogs, you know the stress a muddy yard brings.
I thought of using astro turf in the backyard, like what they use on soccer fields. This is a great idea but I didn’t want patches of astro turf along with real grass.
Even though I was determined to have a nice, lush, green backyard, it just wasn’t working. A friend of mine converted his small backyard, about the size of mine, into astro turf. His astro turf backyard was professionally-done and it works great for him. His backyard is no longer muddy and his dog’s paws are always clean.
I looked into the astro turf backyard. The backyard needs to be leveled, sand poured as a base, with pvc pipe used to irrigate water and urine away so it doesn’t collect in areas over time. The cheapest price I found to convert my yard to astro turf was $7,000. That wasn’t happening.
I needed a fix for the muddy backyard for the dogs that wouldn’t take much time or money to implement. What to do for a muddy yard with dogs, especially if you have a large dog like a German Shepherd?
Ideas to fix the muddy backyard for the dogs
- Tried fencing in the area with garden fence netting. Our German Shepherd either ran through the fence or jumped over it (4 feet high.)
- Bought an electric roto tiller. Tilled the backyard, adding sand and cow manure to build up the poor excuse for soil (construction dirt.)
- aerated the soil.
- Re-seeded the backyard 2 or 3 times a year. The lawn looked great until end of winter.
Nothing worked and the end of each spring was the same thing….muddy backyard! The grass didn’t stay because the soil is garbage. I was wasting money and time every year on this stupid backyard.
What fixed my muddy backyard problem for the dogs
I came across Pine flakes and this is what worked for me. It’s used as horse bedding and you can get it the flakes in pine or cedar. I got the idea from hamster cages and came across this hoarse bedding on Amazon. Although it sounds silly, the pine (or cedar) flakes did the trick.
Pine or cedar flakes are a great muddy backyard solution for muddy dog paws and they also keep ticks away, which is a bonus.
To solve the muddy dog paw issue, I poured pine flakes in the yard, covering muddy areas, making it 4″ inches deep in most areas of the yard.
Pine / cedar flakes last around 9 months. One package that is 8 cubic feet will cover a 20′ x 20′ area about 2 inches deep. I used 14 bags to cover my 800 square foot yard with an average of 3″- 4″ depth.
Pine / cedar flakes soak up water on the bottom level with enough to fluff on the top. Dog paws never touch water or mud. The dogs also don’t go after the pine…they aren’t interested in eating it.
- Ideal for DOG/CAT BEDS, HOUSES and RUNS
- Pets stay ODOR-FREE, WARM and DRY
- Cedar chips are kiln dried for BETTER ABSORPTION and to REMOVE HARMFUL BACTERIA
- TRIPLE SCEENED to REMOVE irritating dust
- WORRY-FREE to CLEAN up when soiled
Pine / cedar flakes decompose over time (8 months) and are very good for soil and grass. I have sprinkled grass on top of the mud, covered with pine or cedar flakes (so the birds don’t eat the grass seed) and the grass comes back more full! As the pine or cedar shavings break down, they help to build nutrients in the soil.
A lot of people use pine /cedar flakes when planting grass seed in their yards. A layer of pine flakes placed on top of grass seed protect from the elements and prevent birds from eating the seed. Over time, the decomposing pine flakes will feed the soil, and in turn, help the grass seed you planted.
I’m very happy with the cedar flakes for solving the mud issue in the backyard and it only took about an hour to complete.
The dogs now enter the house with clean feet. Pine flakes are soft, flexible and thin; they will not hurt your dog’s paws.
Cleaning the yard of dog waste is actually easier with these pine flakes as bedding. The dog waste doesn’t get caught in the grass…it simply lays on top of the flakes.
If you have any questions let me know. I really recommend pine or cedar flakes as a fix to your muddy backyard issue, especially if you have dogs. It may sound silly with a backyard full of pine flakes but they smell great and no more mud issues or muddy dog paws to clean!
Another product my blog readers have used that works well, also from Amazon.
Pennington SUN and SHADE grass seed I use under the pine flakes. Also from Amazon.
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