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To mulch or not to mulch, that is the question.

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To mulch or not to mulch, that is the question.

Postby lee1001 » Jun 04, 2013 2:21 pm


Hello Everyone,

First time home (and backyard) owner here.

As you can see from the picture I have attached, I have my work cutout in deciding what to do with my backyard. The previous owners did nothing to maintaining the yard. I filled in the pond at the back (you can see the semi-circle edge top right) after cleaning out 1 foot of gunk and weeds. There was no grass, just 2-3ft high random weeds and thistles in the mud which I removed a month or go back. I also overturned the soil removing as much greenery as possible (which I think has made things worse!).

What you can see now is an open expanse of mud with thousands of weeds coming up through the soil. The filled in pond seems to be a real hotbed for weeds, as they are growing much faster.

The way I see it, I have two options:

#1. Mulch. Put down landscaping fabric, and then cover with at least 5" inches of wood chips or mulch covering the entire backyard with the goal of stopping the weeds from growing. However we would like to let our dog roam in the backyard without him rolling around and digging up all the wood chips/mulch. So If I could, I would like grass instead.

#2. Grass. It is too late to seed (in any case, there are too many weeds. The grass seeds wouldn't stand a chance) So maybe we could buy sod and lay that down. But wouldn't the weeds grow straight through the sod giving us a lawn full of weeds?

Are either of these two ideas possible? Or is there another option to consider?

One of our neighbors has gone with option #1. The other side has grass.

Id appreciate any help. Thank you!
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Re: To mulch or not to mulch, that is the question.

Postby conniepr » Jun 05, 2013 7:49 am

Apparently, a good quality grass well maintained won't let the weeds come thru. If you can afford it, I would do grass (sod). Unless the area is small, in which case a flower bed with bark mulch might be the option. It would depend on the setting. The picture you added didn't give much view of the surrounding areas.
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Re: To mulch or not to mulch, that is the question.

Postby Knitwitch » Jun 05, 2013 8:16 am

If you want grass then go with a good layer of topsoil or garden soil and then sod. Its the faster option. Mulch will get tracked into the house and become a major pain. You will probably have to water a fair bit to get the sod established and keep it healthy for the first season and then after that treat it as normal lawn with the usual feeding and mowing. Good luck.
Alison, in zone 5b Nova Scotia
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