Ideas to Repair or Cover Bare Spots in Yard
When attempting to create a lush, green lawn, it can be incredibly frustrating when certain areas of the front, side or backyard simply will not grow grass. Don’t lose hope, however. Most of the time, there is an easy explanation for these bare spots and a number of ways to correct it. In the event that you’re unable to repair bare spots in your yard, we’ve included other grass alternative ideas to repair or cover bare spots in the yard.
Causes of Bare Spots in Lawn
Grass, like any plant will need water, sunlight and nutrients to grow and thrive. The type of grass you have will determine the amount of water and sunlight it will need. For specific information about the water, sunlight and nutrient requirements for your grass, see our blog post: Benefits of Lawn Aeration.
One of the most common causes of bare spots in a lawn is lack of required sunlight. If your bare spots can be found under the canopy of a mature tree or in a side yard area, lack of sunlight is almost definitely the culprit. To resolve this under a mature tree, you can attempt to let more sunlight in by pruning back some of the major tree branches to allow more sunlight to reach the grass. If pruning will still not allow for the sunlight to penetrate or if the shaded area is in an area that simply receives limited sun, you might consider installing a different variety of grass.
Lawns with extreme slopes can prevent needed water from getting to your grass. If this is the case, regrading your lawn might be an option. You can bring in soil to backfill areas and attempt to minimize the sloping. This will slow down the water runoff and allow more of the water to be absorbed by grass.
Grass can also develop thatch over time. Thatch is a layer of organic material that builds up on top of the soil and prevents water, sunlight and fertilizer from reaching your soil. You should have your lawn aerated once each year to prevent thatch.
St. Augustine and Zoysia are both more shade tolerant grasses. If you currently have Bermuda grass installed, consider a thin-blade variety of Zoysia grass such as Zorro to blend with your existing sod. We have seen great success with Zoysia in shady areas. St. Augustine is also a great option for shady areas, but is a very distinctive, wide-blade grass and may not blend well if you have another type currently.
If none of these suggestions will correct your bare spots, it’s time to consider a more creative grass alternative solution. One of the most common alternatives to remedy bare patches (and one that adds value to your home) would be to create a garden bed, or planting bed. Perhaps there is a nearby garden bed already and you can easily extend the garden bed to include the bare spots. Make sure to consider the reasons why grass isn’t growing and address them with your plants. For instance, if shade is the reason for the bare spots, make sure to plant shade-tolerant plants as well.
Another popular remedy for larger bare spots would be to convert the areas to a rock bed. Side yard utility areas that see little traffic can easily be converted to a beautiful pathway area with river rock or something sturdier such as decomposed granite. Consider installing flagstone or large pavers to serve as stepping stones to make higher traffic areas navigable. Rock is also a perfect choice when there are water drainage problems. The rock promotes natural drainage, preventing pooling and stagnant water.
Replace Grass with River Rock
To convert a grassy area to rock, you will start by removing any remaining grass in the area. After the grass has been cleared, we recommend installing landscaping fabric in the area to prevent any grass from penetrating the rock area. To fully separate the rock from neighboring grassy areas, you can install metal edging or other retaining material. This will prevent rock from escaping into a grassy area and will allow for a clean edge to trim your grass. Before installing the rock, consider your current irrigation needs. If there are sprinkler heads in this area that will no longer be needed, be sure to cap them off before installing the rock. Finally, install your rock at a depth of approximately 3 inches for full coverage.
Depending on the location and size of the bare spots in your yard, there are many creative ways to address these areas while also adding value and function to your home. Some additional ideas for converting small bare spots would be adding planters or water features. For larger areas, consider installing concrete or paver patios or more elaborate stone pathways.
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