My kids play in my backyard a lot (4 kids aged 2-11). We've been in the house for about 6 months and when we moved in there was grass in the back yard. When we moved in the grass wasn't in amazing shape. This isn't really a surprise - our back yard is very shady (it's a "typical" sized backyard but has a dozen mature trees, so most of it is always shaded). Other than grass, there were always plenty of weeds.
We have two rope swings set up that the children play on often. We have actual swings for them, but more often they take the swings down and just hang on the end and swing back and forth in all sorts of ways. This inevitably ends with feet dragging on the ground.
As a result, the grass has gotten much more ragged since we moved in, and in large circular patches around the rope swings, it is completely bare dirt. Now the kids get filthy when they play outside, and it's a bit of a pain.
My wife would love to have the grass back. I'm not sure if it is possible given the conditions. The shade obviously isn't going away and I don't want to take down the rope swings. Convincing little children to be nice on the ground is probably impossible. So my question(s):
- Is it possible to get healthy grass under these conditions?
- If not, what are some cost effective alternatives? Main concerns would be not looking tacky and helping to keep the children from turning into pig-pen everytime they go outside.
Here's a picture of the play area under the main swing - in front of a clump of trees which I tied up with some old ropes. You can (hopefully) see the big patch of dirt in front, and scraggly grass elsewhere. It gets some sun in the morning but later in the afternoon (and during the summer) it's almost completely shaded.
Here is a patch of grass at the side of my house where the kids haven't trampled. It gives you an idea of what the lawn used to look like (although it was never great under the tress). It's winter, so it looks worse, but it's still not in great shape, nor was it when we moved in.