Nick and I have been talking lately about giving up on grass entirely in a particularly troublesome area of our backyard, which got me to thinking about what we might put in its place. At first I figured we’d just mulch over it, maybe I’d plant a tree…but then I started thinking about the reason why weeds do better than grass in that spot in the first place–the hard, rocky dirt is just not very conducive to healthy plants. Then I thought, why not turn it into a small outdoor living space? My first inclination was pea gravel, since it seemed easy and inexpensive and I hear rocks are the new sand for little kids these days. But a bit of googling convinced me that pea gravel is more trouble than its worth in the long run. It might be troublesome to create a depth that was shallow enough to be comfortable for us to walk on but deep enough for a toddler to play in, and even then it’s likely to migrate all over the yard or turn into a weed-infested mess if we don’t take the care to prep the site properly. And since we are lazy people with a hard, rocky surface to start from a lot of time and energy spent prepping the site didn’t sound like our cup of tea. I am loving the adirondacks in the photo below, however, and thinking that a pair of those will definitely be necessary.
Then I started thinking about other inexpensive patio materials, and got the idea of using those super-cheap 12″x12″ concrete pavers with crushed gravel inbetween. Since they’re only an inch thick they wouldn’t require as much excavation underneath (maybe just two inches to allow for a layer of sand) and I could probably get all the materials for under $200.
The pavers in the photos above appear to be much larger than the ones I’ve got in mind, but since the area we’re working with is small (about 10′x10′) I think the smaller scale would work. It would be nice, also, to build some sort of simple structure for shade, since not a lick of natural shade is to be found in our backyard. I’m thinking maybe a simple frame with a beamed or lattice roof, which would really be pushing the limits of our technical abilities.
Of course, these are all just hopes and dreams until we get this whole baby thing settled, but Nick is so frustrated with the weeds in that corner of the yard that he’s already trying to talk me into dousing the area with salt. Maybe by late summer I can get him digging with the promise that this will solve the weed problem forever?