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Our front lawn runs right to the street, with no kerb. The edge of it sometimes gets driven/parked on and (for reasons I'll go into below) we can't simply prevent this. So it tends to get churned up into mud along the edge at this time of year, which then becomes slippery, so now there's a big wheelspin mark.

Is there something I can do to make it tougher? The soil is fairly heavy, with lots of clay, and we're in southern England, so winters are mild and wet. Could I:

  • Sow tougher grass? It wouldn't have to be a perfect match, there are already several types of grass visible.
  • Add something to the soil (grit, fibrous organic matter,...)?

I can probably keep it clear for a few weeks for seed to establish in spring, by putting a row of canes up if necessary. This means I could dig something in and then resow, if I was confident it would work.

Constraints:

  • The road is rather narrow, meaning that sometimes crossing the corner of the grass is the only way to get in/out (but doing this slowly with the non-drive wheels doesn't really damage it). I dismissed a potted tree on the worst patch for this reason. The width of the road is also the main reason for parking on it.

  • The last 50cm (2') strip (so the bit that gets driven on) is our responsibility but not technically our property so there are limits on what we can do to it. In particular we can't plant trees/shrubs on it (it has to be kept clear for visibility) and it can be dug up with no more warning than the pavement outside any other house, to access the utilities running underneath.

  • When I say "sometimes" driven over it's not every day or even necessarily every week. It's only when the ground is muddy that it suffers. But at this time of year it stays muddy and it's more likely to get driven on. – Chris H Dec 22 '16 at 7:16
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I would put some stones, so that they lift most of the weight of cars, additionally they help the car to move without slipping, so making a lot less damages to the nearby grasses.

Because the stones will be lower then the top part of leaves of grass, they are also not so bad, visually/aesthetically speaking. And I find a lot better then wet dirt. I find that also stone covered by grass will do most of the work, if there is not so much traffic.

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  • Presumably this would be quite coarse angular stones, pressed in to the soil? – Chris H Dec 20 '16 at 11:15
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    @ChrisH: It seems to me that rounded cobblestones could work too, with or without grass in between, and would have the advantage (compared to the paving grids suggested by Bamboo) of still looking good even if the surface becomes uneven over time. – Ilmari Karonen Dec 20 '16 at 16:20
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    So far I've just added stones and grass seed to the worst areas and the grass has grown up through the the gaps (looking better than it would through the concrete grids). If it seems to help through a winter I'll extend the treatment. – Chris H Jul 18 '17 at 11:07
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There is a lawn reinforcement solution, but it requires work to fit it. There are products generally known as cellular grass pavers - they are often found in places like hospital car parks and comprise a cellular construction, usually made of concrete for heavy duty areas like car parks, and the empty cells are filled with soil and sown with grass. Its a solution that was primarily created to assist with preventing flooding from too much hard surfacing - this arrangement means the area remains permeable to rainfall, is green because grass grows through it, can be mown, and will readily withstand car wheels and weight. In an area such as yours, where it butts up to an ordinary grassed area, the grid or cellular pavers must be laid at the right height, so that the grass, when it grows in the cells, is at the same height as the rest of your lawn, and can be mown over.

Nothing else will prevent the kind of damage you're talking about, other than replacing that edge of your lawn with paving on hardcore and concrete to take the weight, and you'd need to do that in a bigger area, from the edge inwards, for stability reasons. Cellular, or grass paving grids, will provide an alternative solution. Link here to one supplier - note that these cellular systems are also made in lightweight materials such as plastic, but they will not adequately withstand the situation you describe, you'd need something like the TruckPave or LIght Duty Grass Paver, or at least concrete : http://www.matsgrids.co.uk/40-truckpave-grass-paving-grids?gclid=CMO1tcblgtECFcyRGwodc7oIoA

There are other suppliers of these products and many of the suppliers will freely give advice on the best method to lay this system, along with how big an area you'll need to cover in order to keep it stable.

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  • This product works if it is not too hot in the summer. Watering where the location is sunny in dry period s is required in North America – kevinsky Dec 20 '16 at 16:11
  • @kevinsky - aesthetically, it's not something I'd ever choose for a large area, but in these circumstances, it should work well in the UK – Bamboo Dec 20 '16 at 16:21
  • That's certainly the gold standard. A neighbour in a slightly less exposed spot has used a plastic grid that can't really be seen except just after cutting the grass, but that's a wider area – Chris H Dec 20 '16 at 16:33
  • Having looked at it a bit further, this probably isn't an option for the worst-affected area as it's not technically mine: I can't protect it sufficiently while the grass gets established, and the concrete version would be a huge amount of work to install (a lot of cutting). – Chris H Jul 18 '17 at 11:04
  • This isn't even your property? Is it an easement? Installing and managing grass crete is expensive and is an entirely separate maintenance schedule. Work with the other owner of the easement? taking out the grass, lowering to allow 4" install for gravel and the edging if necessary, stakes, landscape fabric, installing the gravel by hand (up hill?) or if it is easy to allow the dump truck to install most of the gravel is very much less expensive and successful than grasscrete. More information would help us with this decision...slope, regulations...neighbors. Forget grasscrete! – stormy Dec 21 '17 at 3:57
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We have a muddy gateway area in our field, and some muddy pathways that turn into a slip and slide whenever it rains heavily. For the gateway area we used a rubber mat with holes in, and for the pathways we used a roll of mesh that is lightweight and goes down easily with pegs that you push through by hand. Very easy and fixes the problem (at least for us). We bought these from www.duratex.co.uk Hope that helps.

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2

Grass grown in those grids or pavements is just SILLY. I thought they'd be cool and tried LOTS of them. No way do they work. Great idea but heck, I've never even seen pictures of healthy grass grown in grasscrete! I vote for 3/8 minus crushed gravel and fines. Forget growing grass for any trafficked drive, path or transition area. With landscape fabric beneath 4" of gravel, edged with 2X4 pressure treated, scored for curves as edging...'Treks' is better but more expensive. Need to have a propane torch to soften for curves in colder weather. The gravel needs to be compacted. It is just not ever going to work to have grass that gets too much traffic (think super stadiums for baseball and football that replace their grass every other year). If you put big boulders in they have to be OBVIOUS or if there is any damage to someone's car because they couldn't see it before running into it, it would be YOUR homeowner's insurance that is compromised. Don't make yourself crazy using organics. Just being able to grow a lawn properly for a little traffic is a huge endeavor that costs more than just biting the bullet and creating a semi pervious solution. Clay turns into concrete just LOOKING at it...what do you think concrete is made from?

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  • Grass + Ground Reinforcement, highly successful in the right conditions: allstakesupply.com.au/Products/Park-On-Grass – Viv Dec 22 '16 at 2:38
  • I'm completely with you on the boulders - if I could use an obstruction it would have to be tall enough to reach above the bottom of a car window, or even a van window. This was why I briefly considered potted shrubs. It would most likely be our car that would end up clipping something, as we're the ones who have to squeeze in to/out of the adjacent drive if the road is busy with parked cars. It's edged already so that make some options easier and others harder. – Chris H Dec 22 '16 at 7:14
  • Potted shrubs would be vulnerable to the cold, I am not sure what 'mild winters' mean. But decent pots would have to be sand cast concrete, big heavy and sort of expensive. I have a nice basis in Japanese Gardening which does not mean pagodas and Buddhas! Parks in Japan are not grass, they are mostly fine crushed granite. Very classy look. Your space sounds as if its role is well established and the best design doesn't force spaces to be something they will fail. Form follows function and that is beauty. Grasscrete is trying to be 2 different things leaving lots of room for failure. – stormy Dec 22 '16 at 9:47
  • @Viv...I have planted and used an awful lot of this stuff against my own experience...cause one can't possibly know everything, right? Grins. NOT once have I seen a GRID of stabilized grass that looked healthy or what we thought it would look like. Perhaps for a few weeks...and we even use sod plugs. But your link did not show healthy installations. Or that this grid worked even close to what others hoped. Temperature is a big deal...especially the concrete. Remember grass near the sidewalks and curb? That yellowing wimpy grass is because of temperature the concrete holds. – stormy Dec 24 '16 at 23:19
  • I have seen this or something similar work very well for several years in San Diego. It was very cool looking. Beautiful green grass exactly like the surrounding grass. When I first saw it I was sure it wouldn't work. I haven't been by that property in a few years, so I'm not sure if it's still working. – Tim Nevins Dec 19 '17 at 22:33

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