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Another moan about my lawn thread

(20 Posts)
TwinSetAndPearls Sat 23-Apr-05 14:36:11

On Auntyquated advice I called out green thumb to look at our lawns. Our back garden is very shady and slopes towards the house so the drainage is awful. To top it we have a dog, a cat and a toddler who all damage the lawn in their own way. Even the green thumb rep agreed that although she could improve the lawn it would never be great.

I love gardening but want to spend my time growing fruit and veg, and cultivating pretty flowers not endless mowing, searching for dog poo before I let the kids out and just feeling depressed about the state of our lawn which is very soggy, has mud patches and weeds.

I need a softish land surface as we have a climbing frame and my dd loves to potter about in the garden. Dp wants to put the bark down, read in Kim Wildes gardening for kids ( which is full of fab ideas BTW!) that this was about best for kids. However my mum laid some about four years ago and when it rained it stunk. Does anyone else have the bark, doe sit always smell or is there something odd about mums garden? Is the bark just a complete no no with a dog and cat? Will the cat ( and all the neighbours cats) treat it as a huge litter tray? Any other ideas?

Mud Sat 23-Apr-05 14:37:47

get play bark its totally different from bark which stinks

hate cats so cannot comment on what it'll do but you can always get rid of it

TracyK Sat 23-Apr-05 14:38:42

what about the rubber type stuff that you get in playgrounds. We have some at our village hall called Wicksteed - I don't know if thats a national company or not.

TwinSetAndPearls Sat 23-Apr-05 14:40:52

We did think abou the rubber stuff but I find it a bit ugly, not very natural looking and we the foundations for a lovely garden that I do not want to ruin.

I want dd to have room to play but I don't want it to look like a council playground. Unless anyone knows of an attractive version?

TwinSetAndPearls Sat 23-Apr-05 14:42:14

will look into play bark?

Get rid of the cat, she is so pampered we would have to send her abroad so she wouldn't come back. dd also loves her and most of the others on the street, they all seem to wander in and out of our house. So if we got rid of our one I donb't think it would make much difference!!

TwinSetAndPearls Sat 23-Apr-05 15:05:29

Tracy K Found the wicksteed website which does the play bark, the complant are based in Kettering, will look into if they deliver nationwide as I in Lancashire.

suedonim Sat 23-Apr-05 15:14:43

What about putting that anti-cat stuff (lion poo?) down just in the area of the bark? You could also make a loo area specifically for the cat to use, which you could clean up regularly.

I'm just wondering how to keep our dog off a bed I want to plant up. Any ideas?

TwinSetAndPearls Sat 23-Apr-05 15:24:00

I have a springer who is bonkers whenver I see him doing something he shouldn't I squirt him with cold water and he ahs become conditioned to my way of thinking!

TracyK Sat 23-Apr-05 15:25:41

Couldn't you put a little picket fence around the rubber stuff to disguise it a bit - or raised beds - or just taller plant pots?

Fran1 Sat 23-Apr-05 15:32:52

You can get rubber type matting with large holes in it which allow grass to grow through but stops mud, makes poo picking up easy and would help with your soggy problem too!

They are starting to use this in schools and playground to save the grass which is used in all weathers by zillions of children.

I saw something like it in Homebase the other day, only at a glance, so don't know what i was called or how much it cost.

You could cover an area big enough to put your climbing frame on. Once the grass grows through the matting isn't and eye sore at all.

And with the rest of your lawn you can become obsessed like me! We moved into a new house last year, garden is mainly patio, but have a small lawn which is all weed and also very uneven.
I'm working on it.
So far i have dug every weed in sight then filled the holes with compost and also spread compost all over in attempt to level it a bit. Then prong all over with a fork for some scientific reason.
Sprinkle with grass seed (i bought super duper canadian grass in homebase about £7.99) and 14 days later it started to sprout! Now i'm obsesses and have to inspect every morning to see how much its grown.
My plan is, once new grass has grown long enough to cut, i will repeat all of above again to get a lush level lawn .
Oh and i have to keep diggin dandelions as soon as they come.

ionesmum Sat 23-Apr-05 15:37:29

Re the dog, we had a labrador (of the stupid variety rather than the guide dog kind) and we trained her to go to the toilet in one place. First, dig out an area about 1m sq. You need to go down about two feet, more if you have heavy clay. Fill with gravel. When dog needs to pee/poo, take to gravel, with a v. tasty treat, and then when he/she performs, give loads of parise and said treat. (Not a million miles from potty training IMO!) The poo styas on the top and can be cleared away, the wee sinks in. Every now and then you may need to buy the stuff used for treating 'dog loos' if wee builds up a bit.

IME cats will use bark as a litter tray. The only remedy is to get yourself a big huge tom cat who will chase them all off. The disadvantage is he'll probably chase off your own cat too.

Also have seen somewhere artificial grass for play areas at nurseries.

Or you could try looking at your lawn differently. After all, those aren't weeds, they're wild flowers. Did you know that the dandelion is the only flower that is food for both the long-tongued and short-tongued bumble-bees? Just think what you are doing for the ecosystem. Don't mow - you have a wild flower meadow! And all those insects will help your veggie patch with polination and in keeping down the aphids. And moss and mud are essential for nesting birds.

hub2dee Sat 23-Apr-05 17:36:23

If the lawn is fugly, and you have different / evolved needs from your garden, I'd consider re-doing that area entirely. Create a potager, or vegetable garden / a greenhouse / flower beds / secret sitting space etc.

I've got a tiny lawn (big enough for a few people to lay down flat / dd to be to toddle around chasing frogs ) but kept it small so more space can be devoted to patio / deck / pond / plants etc.

There was a bark thread just a week ago with pluses and minuses discussed. Get PLAY BARK not barkchip.

Alternatively, plants plugs of wildflowers you love (poppies / foxgloves etc.) into your lawn to create a wildflower area.

suedonim Sat 23-Apr-05 21:29:53

Twinsetandpearls, I saw this mentioned in a newspaper today and it seems perfect for your needs! Dunweedin

I dug over part of the border this pm and planted a climbing rose and a shrub rose that has been kicking about the garden in its packaging for about a year so I hope the dog keeps off, grrrr. Mind you, as I was digging away, the bl%dy cat calmly dug a hole elsewhere and peed in it. Honestly, I don't know why I have pets. Oh and there was another dead bird to clear away. Sigh.

TwinSetAndPearls Sun 24-Apr-05 17:36:40

I am also wondering why we have pets at the moment!

The Dunweedin looks good alhtough is it soft for kids to land on as I am also about to become a childminder and while I am not too concerned about my own daughter falling of our climbing frame it would worry me if a mindee did.

The daisies and odd weed don't really bother me, but the mud patches do. I was watching the dog run about in the garden today and he just wrecks the grass running and sliding on it. The dog rarely fouls the garden as he is well walked every day.

Hub2dee we are planning a multi purpose garden, have as patio which will be suuronded by scented flowers and a herb area. Am going to put in raised beds for growing flowers and a few veggies. Just by the door, we are puuting a decked area for dd to sit and play with a blacboard on the wall.

Then the area in question is for dd climbing frame, slide etc which will lead to her little wendy house. So child safety is paramount there although I also want it to look nice which is why I am avoiding the rubber mat root. We are also emigrating in a few years and I am not sure if putting down a rubber surface would put off buyers.

I will look at the other bark thread in a mo.

suedonim Sun 24-Apr-05 22:01:03

I imagine the Dunweedin would be safe, Twinsetetc, as they use rubber matting in palyparks. You could email them to ask. If you come to sell your house then it wouldn't take much effort to replace with bark, if necessary.

More pet-strife here! Dh and I dug and planted loads today and the pesky cats saw all that nice newly turned soil as an ideal lav. I shall get some of that Lion Dung stuff, I think. And then I had to clear up the dead creatures lying about. Mind you, dd was fascinated by a dead mouse!

hatsoff Sun 24-Apr-05 22:08:21

twinset - we had bark under our climbing frame and it was a mistake. To be fair tehre was no drainage but it just ended up a soggy 'orrible mess. And had LARGE amounts of cat poo in it. We threw it away and covered teh area with dark green rubber tiles - it looks fine. the rubber tiles are a lot less intrusive than the climbing frame!

TwinSetAndPearls Sun 24-Apr-05 22:12:57

I think we are going to combine the bark with the rubber surfacing. I am leaning to all rubber surfacing but dp is saying no way!

ionesmum Mon 25-Apr-05 10:01:00

Twinset, Fran mentioned the rubber stuff that grass grows through. They have used that in our local play area and once the grass grows you can't see it, but it stops the area under the swing turning into a mudbath. V effective.

TracyK Mon 25-Apr-05 11:05:10

I think Wicksteed do this stuff too - as it's around the basketball hoop at our village hall too.

TwinSetAndPearls Mon 25-Apr-05 18:33:33

WE have decided to go for the rubber surfacing as it is the most prcatical, our garden is always full of cats and I just can't face doing a poo hunt every morning. As I will be using thr garden for my childminding I can't take the risk that a child is going to pick up cat poo and I want the safest surface possible.

I have emailed a few complanies about wet pour rubber surafcing to see if they wil take on a domestic job and the costs involved. If possibel I would like something with a design to kazz it up a bit. But if it costs too much I may just go for the rubber tiles as suggested by hatsoff and as pseudonim said when we come to sell the house we can cover it with bark, although as we have excellent primary schools locally our road is very much a family road so it may not put off buyers.

ionesmum we did think of the rubber mats that the grass grows through but our grass is awaful anyway due to it being on a slope with poor drainage and quite shady so we just want to get rid of it.

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