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We have quite a long lawn with my woodworking workshop at the end. In winter the lawn —like the rest of the UK— becomes quite wet. I still need to get to the workshop. However it's slippery and walking on it, any amount, damages the grass.

In previous years this has resulted in a dead, muddy trodden pathway. As soon as it's visible, our dog also follows this path up and down the garden, adding to the damage. I usually end up reseeding while I'm overseeing in spring and this eventually takes but it's an expensive and boring task.

Short of sticking a physical barrier up and moving it around over Winter —to prevent wearing one particular area— is there anything I can do to improve the prognosis of the lawn?

  • Anybody have experience with turf reinforcement mesh? It'd be ~£100 to create a temporary reinforced pathway down to the workshop. Considerably more money than reseeding but arguably less time fixing things up come spring. – Oli Dec 16 '17 at 23:36
  • Precisely which product are you thinking of? and how waterlogged is the lawn - does a footprint fill up with water after you've stood in a spot? – Bamboo Dec 17 '17 at 2:26
  • Not usually that wet, no. But often close. I don't know how to grade it. It also changes with time. The mesh I've been looking at are just plastic lattices you pin onto the lawn. Here's one m.ebay.co.uk/itm/… – Oli Dec 17 '17 at 8:09
  • If you try it, try a heavier duty one than that - I've never used it except very temporarily on driveway areas, but possible foreseeable problems - grass grows on and off throughout the winter, such that I've been out and cut lawns in January if the weather's right, so there's a risk yours might grow through it and when you try to remove it, well... a light duty one like the link you give may not be sufficient to prevent the formation of a 'mud' path. Don't know where you are in the UK, but if your soil is heavy and the garden faces north, then it probably is pretty soggy in winter – Bamboo Dec 17 '17 at 10:32
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The answer to not causing damage to the lawn in winter in the UK is not to walk on it, but in your case, that's not an option. There is one other thing you can do though, and that's to lay a hard surface. If you don't want a proper path, then stepping stones will do the job nicely. Find some (preferably non slip) slabs or actual stepping stones you like, then place them on the grass - check they're in the right place, and the right distance apart, by walking over them to get to the end of the garden, and make adjustments to the spacing as necessary. Mark round the edge of each slab with a knife (half moon edger/turf knife will be fine, unless they're round, in which case I recommend a bread knife), lift the slab and cut out the turf to a depth sufficient to accommodate the stepping stone so that it's flush with the lawn (easier for mowing), then settle the slab in place. It's quite handy to have a bit of sand (silver or washed sand) to help with levelling off beneath the slab, if you don't have any spare topsoil anywhere.

If the garden and lawn are long but narrow, it looks better to make the stepping stones meander a bit, so they're not in a totally straight line (which will make the garden/lawn look even more narrow). Not so fast to walk along, but aesthetically better. Ongoing, you will need to cut round each slab at least every second year, but preferably once a year and remove any turf growing over the top, which it will do if left.

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If you still want lawn, definitely try a plastic mesh that goes "around" the grass, and supports your walking (or even a vehicle's tire) on the grass without crushing & damaging the grass itself.

They appear to have several different names, like: turf support cell, grass reinforcement mesh, Permeable Pavers, Drive-On Grass, Grass Surfaced Parking Foundation, Permeable grass... but the main idea is to allow a lot of foot or vehicle traffic without damaging the grass.

The real problem might be your water issues, you might want to change the slope of the area to move water away anyway, or at least dig up that section of lawn and put some gravel or sand drainage underneath and that would be a good time to put a path of "mesh" down. But some types look like they might work as a drop-on-top-of-the-lawn solution. Some are definitely more visible than others, but the ease of "drop it and walk on it" is the trade-off.

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This Old House (on youtube too) used the dig & fill kind of NDS Permeable Paver.

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If your lawn is that wet then concrete or stones will be slick as well. The best answer is a gravel walkway. I can help with the form, it should not be a straight line but it should also be very functional. The edges formed with pressure treated 2X4 or 'Treks' a plastic dimensional lumber that works very well. Dig out your walkway, wider and larger at the beginning and at the end at your work shop. Dig down 4", edge with 2X4's pressure treated or perhaps 'Treks' a plastic dimensional lumber unit and stakes. The top level with the soil level of the lawn, lay landscape fabric down and install 3/8 minus crushed gravel or even 5/8 minus gravel (gray please). 4" deep and compact with a rented compactor. It will be there forever and always be free of water and slipperyness. The edging will gray and that is very good. Do not paint or get fancy. Just use gray for edging and gravel. Really need to see a plan view of what you've got going and a few elevations (start with 50 and go up or down as necessary to show difference in elevation). Stepping stones made with broom finish concrete chunks from broken up concrete walks would work well. Placed so that you can easily step from one to the other evenly. Assuming you have a deck or main walkway to begin, I would make an area 5' wide, start at 90 degrees from the main walk, angle to the left or right and continue straight for at least 10 or 20 feet, change the angle again to go to your workspace and before you get there repeat what you did at the beginning backwards...changing the straight path to angle at the same angle as before and continuing on for 10 or 20 feet to widen to 5' again when reaching your work area. The main width of the path should be 3'wide. If you want to do curves, then you need to learn to score the 2X4's to curve between the stakes that hold the 2X4's in place. The top of the 2X4's will be slightly above the level of the 4" of gravel surface of your walk. . Gravel is beautiful and the most inexpensive way to create a safe and sturdy walk. A board walk is beautiful and fun but very expensive. And wood gets slippery. I can help with clarification on specifications if this sounds like it might fit the bill. Remember, the surface of the gravel, your walk will be almost level, sloping slightly towards the natural slope. 2X4's might not be wide enough to afford that level surface with 3 feet wide walkway. Narrower would only work using flagstone or broken concrete slabs. Even those need a gravel/sand base and leveled.gravel walkway 5/8 minus, 3/8 minus is better looking

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