Man­ag­ing dif­fi­cult yard sit­u­a­tions

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Many home­own­ers aim for a pic­ture per­fect lawn com­plete with rolling acres of soft, green grass. But Mother Na­ture may have other things in mind, pro­vid­ing home­own­ers with less-than-stel­lar grow­ing con­di­tions for their lawns, plants and other fo­liage. Frus­tra­tion can mount when a yard is muddy, is es­pe­cially shady or has soil that doesn’t seem to grow a thing. In such in­stances, home­own­ers may have to go the ex­tra mile to get the yard they de­sire.

Ir­ri­ga­tion is­sues

Im­proper drainage or low-ly­ing ar­eas in a yard may con­trib­ute to a muddy mess. Soil that is in­hos­pitable for grass also may end up caus­ing muddy patches be­cause the grass sim­ply does not grow. In some cases, rem­e­dy­ing a muddy yard is easy and in­ex­pen­sive. Some home­own­ers find that till­ing the soil and amend­ing it with a fiber mulch helps to ab­sorb ex­tra wa­ter and make the con­di­tions bet­ter for lawn seeds to sprout. This also helps to aer­ate com­pacted soil that can hin­der grass growth. Adding soil fill also may help to level low-ly­ing ar­eas that can be pud­dling.

Some home­own­ers find that they need to do a lit­tle more work and spend some more money to fix ir­ri­ga­tion is­sues. In­stalling a drain­ing sys­tem or hav­ing the prop­erty sloped to draw wa­ter away can some­times be done by a home­owner but is of­ten best left to a pro­fes­sional. You may need to dig trenches, and the prop­erty may need to be re­graded to make a dif­fer­ence.

Sandy soil

Grass and other plants may not grow well with sandy or clay soil. Again, amend­ing the soil is one way to rem­edy the prob­lem. Al­though it will take some work at the out­set, amend­ing the soil can im­prove con­di­tions and re­duce how much main­te­nance the lawn needs. Dig­ging down sev­eral inches and adding nu­tri­ent-rich filler soil will help cre­ate con­di­tions that are bet­ter for grow­ing. Those who are in­ter­ested in plant­ing veg­eta­bles could opt for raised gar­den beds above the chal­leng­ing soil.


Some­times a yard is prob­lem­atic be­cause of the amount of sun­shine it re­ceives. Too much sun­shine can scald cer­tain grasses, while in­ad­e­quate sun­shine may re­sult in bare patches where grass won’t grow. If cost is no ob­ject, re­mov­ing or plant­ing trees to es­tab­lish bet­ter grow­ing con­di­tions could be an op­tion. How­ever, to­day there are many grass blends that are tai­lored to­ward spe­cific sun­light sce­nar­ios. Home­own­ers may find that low-light blends will grow bet­ter in shady ar­eas.

For those who are find­ing no luck with grass blends, it may just be nec­es­sary to think cre­atively. Plant shade-loving plants, such as ferns or ground cover, where the grass won’t take. De­sign the land­scape so it looks in­ten­tional. Flag­stone and slate placed in cer­tain ar­eas also may mask tem­per­a­men­tal grow­ing ar­eas.

There are dif­fer­ent op­tions for man­ag­ing var­i­ous sit­u­a­tions in the yard that can make grow­ing lawn or other plants chal­leng­ing. If projects are dif­fi­cult, it could be smart to call in a pro­fes­sional.


Shady sit­u­a­tions may im­pede grass growth in a yard.

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