Growing up, we always had a spot in our backyard that was muddy. I think my parents tried to fix it, but we would always tear it up again.
If you have kids or pets that are constantly destroying the grass, leaving an area where water can pool and become muddy, then the only solution maybe to keep them out of the yard.
But, if you want to fix an existing mud problem in your backyard that the natural outdoor elements are causing, then this article if for you.
There are solutions to cover up that mud in your backyard.
Use sand for muddy backyard.
Sand is a practical choice for covering mud in the backyard because it’s both cheap and accessible. It also does an excellent job at absorbing water to keep your backyard dry.
The only downside is that sand can sometimes clog your drainage system causing more problems in the long run. That’s why this material is more ideal when you’re just laying out your backyard. It is more of a prevention than a solution to an existing problem.
If you prefer to use sand for covering up mud in your backyard, you can mix it with soil to keep it from being washed away easily.
Use gravel to cover up mud
Now if sand isn’t working on your property or you don’t have easy access to it, gravel would be a smart alternative.
In fact, most gardeners and landscapers prefer to use gravel because it lasts longer than sand. It insulates the soil and it helps keep fungi and pests away. But in order for gravel to be effective in covering up a muddy backyard, you need to prepare your backyard properly. You need to create a retaining wall that will keep the gravel in place.
Like sand, erosion can be a problem when using gravel to cover up your muddy backyard. It’s very important to dig a shallow depression or create an edging to keep the gravel from being eroded into your drainage system and clogging it.
Use crushed limestone
Limestone is another popular option for covering up mud because lime is known to absorb water well. It can also be compacted to keep your backyard dry for a long time. This is why limestone is used a lot on construction sites to keep the area dry and safe.
Crushed limestone is also very accessible. You can buy it from contractors or garden supply stores in your area. It also contains a lot of nutrients. It helps regulate your soil’s pH levels by neutralizing its acidity or alkalinity.
When you have it delivered, you can ask the driver to have the crushed limestone dumped slowly into your backyard so it’s easier for you to spread it out evenly with a rake.
Lay down sod
Sod is an excellent option if you want to cover up mud and improve the aesthetics of your backyard at the same time. Also called turf, sod is basically grass with some soil underneath. It looks like a carpet that you lay down on the mud in your backyard.
It’s not the cheapest, however, because you can expect to pay up to 35 cents per square foot or around $400 for a 1,000 square-foot backyard.
You’ll also need to test your soil to see if sod will thrive in it. You need to prepare your backyard by tilling, leveling, and moistening it before you can lay down your sod.
Cover your muddy backyard with a tarp
If you live in an area where it constantly rains, you could use a tarp to not only cover your backyard and prevent water from pouring directly on the soil, but also provide some shade. This would allow you to still enjoy it even when it’s raining.
Installing a tarp is actually very easy. You can buy pre-made tarps or have them customized according to your liking.
First, you need to measure the area where you’ll be installing the tarp. Then purchase a tarp that closely matches the size of your area. If you can't find one the right size, you can custom fit one yourself or have a professional do it for you.
Once you have the tarp in hand, you need a way to secure it. If you have existing trees or walls that your can attach it to, then you can tie ropes to them and then to the tarp.
If you don't have any existing trees or structures to tie secure your tarp, then you will need to build a frame to support it. You can use PVC pipe or metal pipe. PVC is cheaper and will not rust. You will need straight pieces of pipe, couplings, tee fittings, and four 3-way elbows.
After you've built the frame, you’ll need to install the tarp making sure that the tension is distributed evenly throughout the tarp. You can secure the frame to the ground by burying the poles in the ground or encasing them in cement.
How to prevent mud in your backyard
Of course, prevention is still the best way to ensure that your backyard doesn’t turn into a swamp all year-round. Here are some tips to help you do just that:
Check your drainage system
Poor drainage is the most common cause of a muddy backyard. If you want to prevent that problem, you need to make sure that your drainage is working properly. After a heavy downpour, try to observe the amount of water that comes out of the downspout to make sure it drains properly in a drainage pipe. If you’re having problems with drainage, you have to get it fixed right away or you will continue to have unwanted mud in your backyard.
Install an underwater diversion
A French drain is a very popular option for moving excess water to a storm drain. You can install it underground so that it doesn’t affect the look of your backyard. By creating an underwater diversion, you can keep water from pooling in your own backyard. This is a good solution, especially if you don’t have natural drainage.
Create a slope in your yard
Ideally, your yard should have a slope of two feet for every 100 linear feet to ensure adequate drainage. But if you don’t have that naturally, you can always improve your yard’s grading by adding top soil along your foundation and in lower areas to prevent water from pooling in your backyard.
Create a rain garden
If there are parts of your backyard that gets constantly soaked in water after a storm, you can turn that area into a rain garden. A rain garden is basically a plant bed that you fill with porous soil and put plants in it that grow well in standing water. Aside from covering that muddy area in your backyard, you also get to create something that will add to its value.
Invest in a dry well
If you’re living in an area that constantly floods, you can invest in a dry well. It will collect water and store it in underground tanks. Then it will slowly be released into the soil to avoid a muddy mess. This will not only help you keep your backyard dry, but also protect your home’s foundation from being infiltrated by water.
Don't let mud ruin your yard. Take control of it by covering it up with sand, gravel, or limestone. Covering it up won't solve your problems. You have to get to the root cause and fix it.
Improper drainage is usually the problem. Make a way for water to effectively and efficiently evacuate your yard, and the mud will disappear.