Dealing with a muddy backyard is the pits! Or should we say the mud pits!
No one should have to look at or walk through a muddy mess everyday, but soggy muddy yards are a common issue for many homeowners and renters.
It can occur after heavy rain or be caused by busted pipes, sprinklers, or a damaged drainage system. Muddy yards are also a common problem in homes where the lawn is patchy or non-existent. Lucky for you, we’re here to show you how to cover up mud in a backyard.
Some of the major complaints that many homeowners share when dealing with muddy spots in their yard include: Constantly cleaning off your shoes, looking at an unusable yard that’s a muddy mess, People and pets bringing mud into the house, and dogs creating permanent trails and bald spots in the lawn.
Some of the best solutions to cover mud in your backyard include:
- Planting creeper plants
- Spreading gravel
- Using mulch or wood chips
- Building a rain garden
- and more!
Keep reading below as we share details about each of these DIY methods for covering up mud in your backyard.
Why Is All This Mud in My Backyard?
Before you start covering mud in your backyard, your best choice is to spend some time discovering the root cause of the flooding in this part of your home.
Typically, water tends to collect on the lowest spot of your yard, which in time will turn into puddles, which of course, end up creating mud.
If this is the case, a long-term effective solution will be to level your backyard to allow water to flow freely, which will minimize mud formation.
If your yard is already level and you’re still dealing with muddy spots, then you’ll want to keep investigating until you discover where the water in your yard is coming from.
A common cause of muddy yards could be the type of soil where you live. Super compacted soils, like hard clay are notorious for causing drainage problems. Basically the ground gets so hard that water can’t be absorbed and you’re left with a mud pit.
After identifying and correcting the underlying causes, it’s time to try the following muddy yard solutions to help you deal with the muddy ground and maybe even improve your yard’s look.
Here are eight methods you can use to cover mud in your backyard:
Muddy Yard Solutions
Use Creeper Plants to Cover the Mud
Creeping plants, most commonly known as “creepers”, are ground-covering plants that grow very fast.
They thrive in soggy areas since they require water in abundance. However, due to their delicate and fragile stems, it’s best to plant them away from the footpath.
They’re affordable, making them an ideal option for anyone operating within a budget. If you’re lucky you might even be able to score some for free from a friend or neighbor.
They also require minimal maintenance, and once they’re fully grown, they can blossom into beautiful and colorful flowers.
Creeping ground cover plants are economical and eco-friendly making them a popular choice when you need to cover large areas. Great examples of creepers include:
- Winter Creeper
- Mini Kenilworth Ivy
- Irish Moss
- Creeping Thyme
- Blue Star Creeper
Fix a Patchy Lawn by Overseeding
Overseeding your lawn is a very effective method for dealing with muddy spots in your yard if the problem is cause by patchy grass.
If you have bald spots in your lawn where grass doesn’t grow, then overseeding will most likely solve your mushy lawn problems.
The process of overseeding consists of prepping the soil, spreading the grass seed and consistent watering. If you want more details, you can read “How to overseed your lawn.”
This is also a great method if you are looking to fix dog trails caused by your pets running through your yard when it’s raining and muddy. It will require that you keep them off the area for a while so they don’t disturb the seed, but once it’s established it’s a long lasting solution.
Lay Gravel to Cover Mud
Gravel is one of the best cover solutions if you’re frequently dealing with mud in your backyard.
Besides being capable of handling heavy foot traffic, pea gravel is good option because it is pleasing to the eye and adds an aesthetic appeal to your backyard.
However, if you have a lot of mud in your backyard, adding gravel alone might not be the best idea since the two will end up mixing and creating more mud.
In this case, you need to lay a “foundation” consisting of crushed rocks first. The rocks will help to separate wet mud and gravel and prevent them from mixing up. The process of laying a foundation of crushed rock followed by pea gravel will help to fill in low spots to prevent water from pooling and mud from forming in the future.
Gravel also protects the soil from eroding or being washed away by water during rainy seasons.
Spread Wood Chips or Mulch
Spreading wood chips or mulch is a great idea to cover mud on your property while still maintaining a beautiful yard.
There is also the benefit of wood chips serving as fertilizer to your soil once they decompose. This helps to add nutrients to the soil, and is usually great if you’re planning to turn a muddy part of your backyard into a garden in the future.
Mulch is a mixture of organic matter that you can use as ground cover. It contains pieces of wood, dried leaves, and other organic matter with a coarse texture. Like wood chips, mulch helps to add nutrients to the soil, which will be beneficial in the long-run.
Using wood chips or mulch is also super budget friendly as it usually costs less than fifty cents per square foot. Spreading mulch is a simple solution since you do not have to prep the area. You can simply open the bag and cover the muddy spot.
The solution can look strange if your muddy spot is in the middle of your yard, so this method is best used if your covering up an area around the perimeter of your yard.
Build a Pathway to Cover Mud
While you may want to create a permanent fix to your mud problem, there are times when you just need a quick fix. One alternative solution to make sure muddy areas in your backyard remain undisturbed is to build a pathway.
This method works best if you just need a simple, mud-free path to walk from one area to another.
Popular materials for building pathways include pea gravel, bricks or prefab pavers.
However before you just start placing them on the bare soil, it’s critical to level the ground first by adding 3 inches of sand. Besides offering support, the sandy soil helps to keep the ground dry by absorbing moisture, which in return helps keep the bricks firmly to the ground.
Create a Patio
Building a patio is a great solution, especially if you are dealing with mud right outside your door.
As with ground cover ideas, you will begin by leveling out the area and applying a layer of sand and crushed rock. This will not only help to absorb any water but also provide a firm, level substrate to place your pavers.
Once you’ve got that done you can lay your pavers then cover with sand and use a broom to sweep it into all of the joints.
Build a Rain Garden
A rain garden is an inexpensive way of utilizing problem spots in your backyard and improving its overall look.
These gardens contain plants such as cardinal flowers that do well on wet soil and consume more water, which helps to dry up muddy soil.
Other plants, such as Bluestar and Swamp Rose Mallow, blossom into beautiful and colorful flowers that give your garden an appealing look. You can put your landscaping ideas and plans to use when designing a rain garden, and creativity is your best friend here.
Building a rain garden is a fun DIY project, perfect for anyone who doesn’t mind a little extra effort. (The process starts by digging a 6-inch shallow depression).
You will also need to till the mud and add garden soil and compost. Let that sit for a few days and see if you have added enough to absorb any water. If needed you can add some more soil along with organic material like peat moss that will help to soak up any remaining moisture.
Be sure to level the area where you want the garden to be. If the area becomes slightly raised you will run into the issue of having water spread to the surrounding soil and creating more mud.
Once finished, the garden will help to trap excess water in your backyard in one place. The water will be used by the plants, thereby eliminating the mud problem. The new flower bed will be aesthetically pleasing, prevent soil erosion and also serve as a great option that can be used in any part of the yard.
Cover the Mud with Concrete
If you have a small backyard that keeps getting muddy whenever it rains, covering it with concrete will help to get rid of this problem permanently.
The reclaimed area can also be put to use, such as converting it into a mini court for kids. You can also turn it into a patio for leisure activities such as reading or a place you can BBQ and have drinks with your friends.
This is also a great time to consider installing a French Drain system that leads water away from the foundation of your home and ensures proper drainage. Make sure not to drain the water into your neighbors’ yards or on the streets.
- Use a wooden frame to mark the area you want to cover with concrete.
- Line the surface of this area with small pieces of rocks and an inch of gravel, which will hold the concrete in place.
- Once the surface is leveled, prepare concrete, pour, and spread it to cover the entire surface. You can even smooth or stamp the concrete slab to increase your home’s value.
A muddy backyard is not something anyone wants to have. Other than leaving undesirable footprints in your house and your yard, a mud pit offers refuge to all sorts of creepy crawlies and slimy critters.
Covering mud in your backyard by growing ground cover plants, building a rain garden, or spreading gravel helps to deal with the mud and improve the landscape. Wood chips and mulch offer a temporary solution but also help to improve soil fertility. For a permanent solution, pouring concrete or building pathways are the way to go.
No matter which solution you choose, remember that your first objective should be to figure out why your yard is muddy in the first place. If there are drainage or grading problems, it won’t matter what you do to attempt to cover the mud in your backyard because it will be a re-occurring issue.
More Lawn Care How-To’s
Muddy Backyard FAQ’s
Will sand help a muddy yard?
Yes, adding sand to your soil or to low spots in your yard is a great first step to take to soak up additional moisture in your lawn that may be causing mud. However, you don’t just want to dump sand into a puddle and think that it will fix your problem. Sand helps to improve soil drainage, but only if it is mixed in so that it creates spaces in the ground for the water to filter through. It is best to aerate or roto-till when adding sand to your yard.