Mud indicates a problem area exists in the landscape.

Remedies for Muddy Yards

by Brian Barth

Mud tracked in the house by kids and pets may be the bane of every mother’s existence and a sign that there's an area of the landscape that needs attention. The solutions to muddy places in the yard range from quick, simple fixes to major construction projects, depending on the scope of the problem and your budget. Figuring out the cause of the excessive water and mud is the first step in choosing the right remedy.

1. Drainage

Fixing a muddy yard can be as simple as preventing water from draining to the muddy spot in the first place. Watch the water coming from your downspouts during the rain -- does it go into a drainpipe or does it seem to be flowing over onto the ground and creating a muddy area? If so, a home repair contractor can help you figure out the best drainage options for your property. Ask friends for a referral, but check that the contractor is licensed and insured. An initial consultation and price quote are usually free.

2. Mulch

There can be many reasons that water collects and creates mud when it rains. Whatever the reason, spreading a deep layer of mulch over the bare ground is usually the easiest -- and least expensive -- solution. However, mulch is only a temporary solution because it is a natural product that decomposes over time. It may last a year or more before it needs to be replaced, but if it lies in the path of fast-moving water, it may only last until the next rain.

3. Vegetation

Thick grass or other groundcovers soak up water and act like living mulches that prevent muddy patches from forming. It may be possible to sprinkle grass seed over the muddy area and be done with it. But more than likely, the presence of the mud means growing conditions are poor, which is why the vegetation has disappeared. Loosen the soil with a digging fork or rototiller and mix in equal parts compost or bagged topsoil with the soil that’s there. This will improve the drainage of the mud pit and turn it into a bed ready for planting.

4. Hardscape

Dealing with a muddy area in the yard could be an opportunity to add something new to the landscape. A gravel pad can be a suitable remedy for a muddy spot, especially if you need extra parking space. If the mud is adjacent to the front or back door of your house, you might consider investing in a new patio. Or if the problem is in a path that gets a lot of use, there are many options to turn it into a more substantial walkway -- use gravel, decorative pebbles, flagstone or concrete for a firm, clean surface.

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