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Lawn & Garden


We recently moved back into a home I own which has been a rental property since 2008.  I am trying to get the backyard cleaned up where grass can again grow (it has been covered with a thick carpet of leaves, pine needles, debris, concrete poured by the renters, and dog feces), and I'm wondering what I need to do (if anything) to recondition the soil to help the grass to come back.  I am in the process of raking and bagging the leaves/pine needles/debris and digging up the concrete chunks and brick shards randomly embedded in the dirt.

The problem is I also have a dog who occupies that yard now, as well as three preschoolers who play out there, so I doubt planting grass would do much good and would worry about something I sprayed on the yard causing problems with them.  I'd love to know what my options are.

We are located in south Georgia.
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Posted 2016-05-24T15:14:05+0000  by ashdasher ashdasher

Hi ashdasher.


Thank you for your question.


Once you get your year cleaned up, you will have a better idea as to what its potential can be.  Dogs and children can be very hard on a yard for sure, especially one that is just getting stated.  To give your yard a fighting chance to grow, I think sectioning it off would be a great idea.  Do a plan so you can see where the best play areas will be for your children and for your dog to do his personal business.  Just plant grass or laying sod will not work if you do not give it a chance to get established.


You might want to consider a dog run with pea gravel.  This will be an easy cleanup for you and your dog can be trained to do his business on the pea gravel.  This way it can be easily picked up and washed as well as deodorized if needed. 


When you are considering plants for your back yard, always check for pet and children friendliness.  Many landscape plants can be dangerous for young children and pets.


Do you have a shady and damp back yard or is it more sunny and dry?  The type of environment you have will help you to determine the type of plants that will work well for you.  Have you ever thought of going AU Natural with your plants for your back yard?   It is nice to have a green grassy area though, I can appreciate that.  

South Georgia is warmer than most of your state.  Your planting zone is listed as 8a & 8b.  Be sure to select plants that will do well in your planting zone such as the Virginia Sweetspire.  As long as you have a damp and fertile soil, this bush should do well.  It is best suited for full sun to light shade. 


The Fetterbush / Lyonia lucida, would also do well if you have a wetter more acidic soil in your area. Here is  great link for you to ther UGA Ag Extention for some great native plant ideas:


After you have drawn a plan up for your backyard, visit your local Home Depot Garden Department and see what plants are available for your area.  Consider using a natural landscape approach when you design the back yard.  If you have a large enough area, you can create a play area for the children as well as a social area which could include a fire pit, BBQ and a Gazeebo or Pergola.


Be sure to take come pictures as you backyard progresses and share them with us at:


Be sure to let us know if we can be of further assistance.



Posted 2016-05-24T17:09:05+0000  by Rick_HD_OC
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