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I just bought a house that has a backyard, but much of it is taken up by a concrete pad that connects the driveway to the garage. I was thinking about having the pad removed because I want to put some sort of grass or soft foliage there so my dog has more space to play, but I want to know if it is possible to put down dirt/grass on top of the pad so that I don't have to dig it up and possibly replace it when I sell down the line.

Also, since the garage comes up to the side of the pad, what would be the best strategy to keep soil/dirt away from getting everywhere inside the garage.

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4 Answers

They sell artificial turf at Lowes, Home Depot, and online. Check the carpet section of your local big box store. Then you won't have to worry about getting dirt in the garage, or house. The newer stuff is far more realistic than the old "Brady Bunch" style artificial grass.

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You could add six inches of topsoil on top of concrete and add sod on top but this may not work as well as you would like. The key question is where does the water go when it rains? After you have raised the grade six inches the results could be unpredictable.

I think artificial turf is the best option.

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I'd go for the artificial turf option - even if you put six inches of topsoil down, the drainage will be very poor, and any turf laid will start to look very sad indeed within a few months, and particularly after/during winter. I've given a point to Tester's answer because he's right when he says there's been a dramatic improvement in the appearance and quality of artificial turf, so much so that some was even used at the RHS Chelsea flower show this year, and the garden got a silver medal. I certainly had trouble distinguishing it from turf without very close inspection. Using this product will also solve the problem of dirt getting into/around the garage, but you will need to be careful about dropping hot things on it (like barbecue coals) and, as with real turf, will also need to clean it up regularly if your dog uses it as a toilet.

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You only need about 4 inches of topsoil for grass to grow - with probably 6 being the optimal. You could easily backfill dirt on the pad and taper off into regular yard with just a small bump.

I would put some landscaping fabric (that is sold as waterproof) on top of the concrete. If you don't it will be ruined after a couple years and might as well give the next owners the opportunity to decide.

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How does the landscape fabric protect the concrete? –  Tester101 Nov 4 '13 at 17:03
    
@Tester101 - Waterproof landscape fabric would keep wet soil from sitting on the concrete. –  DMoore Nov 4 '13 at 17:44
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I've never heard of "Waterproof landscape fabric". Seems like a strange product, since the purpose of landscape fabric is to allow water to pass through while blocking weeds from sprouting. –  Tester101 Nov 4 '13 at 17:49
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