Lawn alternatives - solutions for mud pit

Hi,
I was wondering if someone could offer any advice on the best solutio for the problem described below.
The problem is that my lawn is degenerating in a muddy swamp. I liv in Warrington and it never snows and never freezes, but it alway rains, so in the past, when everyone else has been building snowmen we've been getting trench foot.
My problem is particularly acute as there is a small stream or broo running along the bottom of the garden. As across most of Cheshire the soil is mostly clay, so drainage is a foreign concept to us. Ove the last few years it was a regular thing to have the bottom of th garden awash with 3 feet of water after a few weeks of heavy rainfall
Two years ago a I tried to fix the problem permanently by diggin drainage ditches filled with gravel running to a pipe which emptie back into the brook. I then covered the entire lawn area with thre tonnes of sand and sprinkled grass seed over it. A combination o continuous rain since then (the brief heat wave killed some of it off and my three dogs, means that only patches of rather pathetic gras have returned and while the garden doesn't flood anymore (success!) i remains a muddy pit for most of the time.
I'm now considering alternatives. I don't care about having a lawn. It's more hassle than it's worth and I don't do that kind of gardenin anyway. I'm more interested in growing tomatoes and I grow those i pots on the patio, which is nearly 2 metres above the level of th lawn. I'm happy to grow bushes, shrubs, small trees etc. on and aroun the lawn area instead.
My current idea is to fill up with another few tonnes of sand and la some kind of bark mulch over the top in a thick layer. This way th top surface will hopefully remain dry and the dogs can run abou without coming back inside with feet caked in wet mud!
I'd be very grateful for any comments or alternative ideas.
Thank
-- MSR
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

well, grass can't grow on sand...

sounds sensible to work with what you have rather than against it.

i don't think that will work. you'll end up with muddy bark mulch, which will be even more of a annoyance when the dogs drag it in. if it were my yard, i would plant willows & keep them pruned as shrubs (maybe take up basket making with the prunings<g>). willows suck up a *lot* of water & may help dry things out. you can plant a few different decorative types including pussy willows & the Japanese types with colored or varigated leaves. lee
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
MSR wrote:

You might want to google "rain garden".
--
--
--John
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
I don't know the average low temperatures in your area, but lotus do very well in swamp mud, so do elephant ears and any number of plants which do well in muck.
On Sat, 19 Jan 2008 13:59:05 +0000, MSR

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

We've used raw wood chips from private arborists and half composted wood chips from the city at our dogpark with great success. Even after a substantial rain, a 4"-6" layer of chips has proved durable and clean. The arborists are happy to dump it for free so they don't have to pay for disposal. We do have a well draining substrate underneath, as the land is mostly limestone rock and sand. Good luck...
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Your dogs are the problem. We have a similar issue with the soil here. We have a large field next door owned by the school that's used as a dog park by the folks in the neighborhood. A few years ago the school decided they had enough of the field of mud and on advice of some of the neighbors they fenced off one section of the field for 4 months and threw down grass seed. The mud disappeared and the grass grew lush and full, both the original grass and the new seed, bare spots disappeared, etc. The contrast between the unfenced part of the field and the fenced section was like night and day. Then they moved the fenced section from the good field to the mud section. By the time the grass had come back and the sod had gotten strong, the section that was previously lush strong grass had been beaten back into the mud and weak grass that the field originally started off as.
There was then talk of banning off-leash dogs but the neighborood dog owners threw a fit.
Ted
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here. All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.