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I'm having a wedding in my backyard a week from now. It's looking like its going to rain during the week and I'm worried about my lawn turning into a swamp. We have a tent for the wedding so we can handle some rain during the actual wedding but I'm worried about the week leading up to it.

I can work from home during the week leading up to it so I can do as needed tarping if that's reasonable (I'm thinking like a baseball grounds crew). Is that a good idea? Is there a better way to keep my lawn dry leading up to the big day? Back to the house, looking at the wedding site

Looking at the house from near the rocks visible in the first picture

  • Probably covering the area will be the best option, though this presumes the lawn is not going to receive moisture from overland flow, in which case it may get wet anyway. Does your lawn get boggy in rainy seasons ordinarily? Perhaps a drainage solution needs to be looked at in the future? – Viv Apr 29 '16 at 1:39
  • Can you provide pictures of the site - I suspect answers will be more meaningful if we can get a the scope of the area, how steep it is etc. – davidgo Apr 29 '16 at 5:36
  • Whether you can do anything effective is highly depenedent on terrain. Tarping/large plastic sheets only works if the water that flows off the plastic does not flow back under it, and only for water coming from the sky, not water moving across the ground from elsewhere. Most lawns that get boggy are that way because they are located where tarping probably would not help. Also, it's more of a problem to keep that in place with wind that you might have bargained for. With more lead time there are "grass protection mesh" products that the grass could grow through, but not in a week. – Ecnerwal Apr 29 '16 at 12:12
  • I don't normally have a swampy or boggy yard and I don't get any pools in it even when it rains. I don't think there's really any overland flow. Usually it's nice and dry and it's not an issue. I'm just especially sensitive to any wetness in the ground with the wedding coming up (women in heels, grandparents who don't move so well, etc.). I'm not trying to dry up any existing water just keep the ground from getting soggy because of the rain. I'll grab some pictures this morning. – Chris Bahr Apr 29 '16 at 12:18
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    Thanks everyone! The wedding went great. I tarped on and of all week and the yard was in great shape. Thanks @treeNinja for the gutter suggestion. I was able to tuck tarps under them to slough that water off the yard. – Chris Bahr Jun 16 '16 at 19:53
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Im by no means an expert, but based on the pics I believe using tarps sparingly could help as there is plenty of space for water to drain to below.

That said it looks like the grass is not well established ( or needs TLC), so leaving it under a tarp for too long will probably damage it further. I posit light rain could be beneficial, but if you are going to have solid blocks of heavy rain, putting down tarps over that perod might be the lesser of 2 evils.

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Is the ground aerated or compacted? If it's compacted you may like to spike it and aerate it. It's quite a large area so would take a while by hand. Or can you ask some others to help you? You can hire tools to do this. Brush sand into the holes to keep them open. Give the lawn a good feed at the same time, and hope that it rains a bit to improve the quality and coverage. Any heavy rain will hopefully drain down into the roots and not sit on the surface.

  • Wouldn't doing this cause more problems in the short term (ie < 1 week) timeframe ? I agree that spiking and aerating it could help long term, but surely it will simply break up the soil which will make more mud if it gets wet ? – davidgo Apr 30 '16 at 0:15
  • It could do depending on soil type, a clay soil is less likely to than a sandy soil. Do you have lots of rain forecast and does heavy rain puddle on the surface when wet? If you have light showers forecast it is likely to be ok as it is. The marquee or tent will be up a couple of days before so will keep a portion dry. Going with previous answers of using tarps to cover where you will be walking may be your only solution without massive amount of work and in the week before a wedding I'd think you have enough to do. Do the least possible and enjoy this week, don't make extra work. Good luck – user13638 Apr 30 '16 at 7:45
  • There is always a option to buy a roll of AstroTurf/plastic fake turf and put this down where you are going to walk that will be dry and clean. Other temporary paths can be hired or rubber mats purchased. Which would also keep the floor of the tent clean too. But those options can be costly. But the bubbles in the fridge and just think about your needs this week, relax and enjoy your day. I hope you'll both be very happy – user13638 Apr 30 '16 at 8:05
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You can also use a product called TurfaceMVP. It's a calcined clay product that is used on baseball infields among other things. I use it as a soil amendment for cactus. I was talking to the guy and he mentioned someone using Turface for exactly your purpose, to absorb excess surface water to keep a lawn area from turning into a mud pit from foot traffic.

Honestly, I think it's going to take a combination of the suggestions you've received. Turface will be useful for spot treatment for higher traffic areas.

Good luck!

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