The Five Ugliest Spots In Our Backyard

Monday, May 21, 2012

I recently stumbled upon a picture of our backyard from a few years ago. I almost cried when I saw it.

The grass was so long and green and luscious. So, so, so very long and green and luscious.

I'm sure you can guess from my tears that it doesn't look like that anymore.

Here is the old photo:

I have no idea how our backyard went on such a downward spiral to ugly. I think I'll blame the two dogs. They pee on the grass, trample the grass, and one of 'em likes to dig holes. Sigh.

I figured that if I show you the five ugliest spots in our yard, it will motivate me to fix 'em up and create some good before and after photos. 

Don't forget that up North where we're at, we only really have three months to work on the lawn and garden. I had to wait until this weekend to plant flowers because until now, there was still a chance of frost at night.

So anyway, here are the five ugliest spots in our backyard at the moment. Ick, yuck, boooooooo.

This is a spot along the edge of the yard next to our neighbour's fence. This is the one spot in the yard where the dogs LOVE to stand, lie, and playfight. It's full of dirt and dandelions because grass refuses to grow there. My plan of attack is to remove the dandelions, add some topsoil, add some of the new Scott's Coated Grass Seed for Dense Shade, as well as some starter fertilizer. Any tips on how I can get the dogs off of this area while those tiny blades of grass are popping up???

We have quite a few areas with burnt grass from the dogs, you know, peeing. When we just had Roary I was able to keep up with digging out the grass and planting new grass seed. With two dogs though, the burnt spots have taken over! My first step will be to dig out the dead grass. Then, I'll add some of that insta-grass stuff that I bought last year. It has seed and mulch and fertilizer all in one that you just plop on and water. It works great for little tiny areas.

We had brilliant plans to skirt the deck with vertical planks to make the deck look all finished off and pretty. We haven't gotten around to it yet. That means we have this ugly view. Under the tarp is the wood for the deck stairs that we also haven't gotten around to building yet. Add it to the list. ;) My job will be to do up a little sketch for Alex. Then he'll have to take over this project with his mad wood-working skillz.

Before we fenced in the backyard for the pups there was a row of bricks in the grass separating the lawn from the gravel driveway. The bricks are still there along this section of fence. It looks so ugly. We are leaving it for now because if we take them all out the grass will just spread into the driveway. We need a prettier solution that's for sure. Ideas anyone?

This little section along the house is in between the lower deck and the front fence. There was hardly any grass so I decided that I would dig up what grass was there and plant a little perennial garden. I started off by planting a climbing hydrangea last summer. I'll need to add a trellis for it to climb, rich soil, more flowers, some type of edging, and Alex will eventually replace that crusty basement window.

I used to be all competitive and pretend I was in a contest to have the nicest lawn on the street. I am currently losing that contest. Please tell me I'm not the only one with super ugly spots in their yard. It will make me feel better, mmmkay?


  1. Awe, don't feel back. My backyard looks almost EXACTLY like yours except I have an above ground pool and a HUGE play yard that both have seen better days. I'm thankful that there's a privacy fence around it : (
    ~ Deanna

  2. We have 3 dogs. So, it could be worse for you... like for me. :-)

  3. i'd leave the area the dogs like only cause anything you do to change it will be destroyed again or another spot in your yard will be over taken by them...i'd put my time and $$$'s in rest of yard and let the dogs have there been there done all this!!!

  4. Boy, can I relate. We don't have trouble with our dog, but the neighborhood feral cats are giving us fits. As for keeping the dogs out of the areas where you plant grass seed, we made a little makeshift fence by putting in wooden stakes around the perimeter, and then tying twine around them in four or five rows. Once the grass was established, we took the fence down. Wa-lah!

    (On another note, I think you and I were Pinterest-separated at birth. My Interior and Exterior boards have so much in common with what you pin!) :)

  5. I kind of agree with Chris above that you might want to leave that area to the dogs. It seems like it's a relatively out of the way spot. My dog messes up the yard too and the best solution for me is to take him for walks so that the backyard isn't his full time toilet and play area.

  6. We have a few ugly spots too. Sun out here in the high desert of California is pretty intense and tense to burn the grass if you don't water it excessively. As far as the dogs go, we created a rock area off to on-side of our backyard and spent a week training our dog to only go to the bathroom in the rock area. (for that week, you have to go out with them on a leash every time they need to go out and lead them to the area you want them in and tell them "go potty on the rocks" and reward them with a treat every time they do it right). I still give my dog reminders here and there as he heads out to "go to the rocks", so he won't get lazy. A little work in the beginning, but makes clean up really easy and saves the grass. :) Good luck with beautifying your backyard again! Ps. I can't remember how I found your blog, but I LOVE all your creative ideas - especially what you've done with the nursery! :)

  7. Oh yes, I feel your pain. I too am mourning our grass lawn that once was. For some reason I didn't think about how the lawn would fare once we got a puppy. I have plans to reseed some areas, but like many things, haven't got around to it yet.

  8. I should post a picture of my lawn to make you feel better. It is 50% dead... killed by gallons of dog pee all winter and almost no snow cover. I have a friend who swears by these though...

  9. 40% grass, 50% weeds, 10% dirt. Help me! I have beautiful full green grass in the flower beds. I don't want to use anythong toxic, but I am ready to buy some roind up

  10. Though it would be nice to have both, I think it's mostly impossible. I've had 7 german shepherds at one time and have decided it's way better and more important to have dogs than have a nice lawn! (plus it's one project I don't have to feel guilty about not doing!)

  11. Maybe I'll email you a photo of my backyard and that will make you feel a lot better.

  12. Hi Sarah! I feel your pain with the dogs vs. grass dilemma. I recently bought some doggy treats for my dog that are supposed to have something in them to keep them from burning the grass when they pee. I got them at the pet store, you might check where you're at to see if they have them. They seem to be working! I feed them mainly to my girl dog because girls are the ones who burn the grass and boys leave little fertilized green spots! LOL!

    Good luck!


  13. We have 3 dogs so our lawn is a mine field for humans, I'm so surprised that no-one has broken an ankle yet with all the 'hidden' holes that are everywhere.


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