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Small garden with big dogs -- Help!

This is my sister in law's garden, not mine. She has 3 large dogs and they have destroyed the lawn. Any suggestions on what they can do? I think it might be good to astroturf the front part but the back part is shaded and not sure if it would be good to astroturf the whole thing. Any ideas?


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  • Pete.8Pete.8 Posts: 11,287
    If 3 big dogs are going to be scratching away at astroturf it'll be in shreds in no time, and the dogs probably love it a it is.
    They have different views to us as to what is nice 😁

    Billericay - Essex

    Knowledge is knowing that a tomato is a fruit.
    Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.
  • nick615nick615 Posts: 1,479
    My diagnosis from afar is that the dogs are under-exercised?  Two, if not three, walks per day with one being a 'main' one will sap their energy.  Ours were never on the lead, but we only had one at a time.  A single dog will relate to the human family, whereas multiples will view the others as their family.  Ours were all German Shepherds and fabulous.
  • PosyPosy Posts: 3,601
    I would leave the part under the tree but pave the rest and use attractive containers for planting. I'd certainly run the dogs off their legs twice a day to reduce playing at home.
  • FairygirlFairygirl Posts: 54,808
    I think your SIL has a choice- a lawn or dogs, but not both. The space is just too small.
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....



    I live in west central Scotland - not where that photo is...
  • So we're thinking paving is the way to go?
  • PlantmindedPlantminded Posts: 3,467
    Paving would probably be the best option - it will make cleaning up the debris from the surrounding trees easier too.  Try to be creative with the paving to avoid the prison yard look!  A good paving contractor should be able to suggest suitable options and designs, incorporating an area for planting if desired or for displaying pots.  It all depends on budget and future plans.
    Wirral. Sandy, free draining soil.


  • FairygirlFairygirl Posts: 54,808
    The only problem with paving in a shady area is - it becomes very, very slippery when it's wet, as moss and algae will build up on it.
    I would factor that in, depending on how much you'd use it in wet conditions.  :)
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....



    I live in west central Scotland - not where that photo is...
  • JennyJJennyJ Posts: 10,426
    With the trees, building and fences casting shade and the tree roots probably taking up a lot of moisture, grass probably wouldn't be particularly happy there even without the dogs.
    If you go for paving, make sure to leave the tree root zones reasonably clear so that they can get enough moisture (the roots might also lift paving as they grow, making it uneven). Maybe just leave that back corner as earth for the dogs to enjoy digging, scratching around etc (or put down bark, but it'd probably get kicked around).
    Doncaster, South Yorkshire. Soil type: sandy, well-drained
  • UffUff Posts: 3,199
    I'd use heavy gravel in the design to stop the walls being splashed with mud and to allow plenty of drainage. 
    SW SCOTLAND but born in Derbyshire
  • PlantmindedPlantminded Posts: 3,467
    Keeping the area clear around the tree roots is important as @JennyJ says so bark or a soil border would be better there.  If any paving you use has a riven texture it shouldn’t get slippery when wet.  I have paving in a shady area under a messy acer and Rowan but use patio cleaner to avoid moss and algae building up. There are environmentally and dog friendly products available.
    Wirral. Sandy, free draining soil.


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