I'm doing a fairly large backyard remodel and I guess I'm managing it myself with subcontractors doing different pieces of the work. I just had trenching done and a retaining wall added. The soil was compacted and graded for "next steps," but I'm forced to wait for the pool contractor to finish the coping before I can move forward with the poured concrete for the pool decking and patio.

This means I'm looking at having a bare dirt backyard for the next 3-4 months due to the pool contractor's timeline. Can I / should I put down some temporary grass seed (ryegrass in Southern California) on the compacted soil or will this just create more work down the road to re-work the soil once it's finally time to pour the concrete? My goal is to reduce the amount of erosion and really just the amount of dirt blowing around and into my house.

Thanks in advance!

  • I think this is really an opinion type question. The temp grass dead may help with washouts , but then watering it wastes water during a time of needed water conservation. I could go back and forth on the pros and cons but really they are just opinions.
    – Ed Beal
    Commented Apr 6, 2021 at 17:02
  • yes, if that's the type of grass you are going to use. Otherwise, open dirt is a buffet for weeds, some of which might be hard to control later. By planting grass, even placeholder, you take the dirt off the weed market. Get seed down as soon as possible to let the roots grow deep enough to survive summer drought.
    – dandavis
    Commented Apr 6, 2021 at 18:36

1 Answer 1


If you want to sow seed, you'd need to rough up the compacted surface, keep it watered, then strip it all out and compact it again later ready for the pool contractor. If the area of bare soil is mostly going to be covered by poured concrete or hard surfacing, I would cover the soil with something like thick black plastic across the whole area, anchored down at the edges. That will not disrupt the compaction, will prevent soil erosion and dust, prevent weeds seeding themselves or anything else from growing in it and avoids having to remove anything you've sown in the meantime later on, saving a fair amount of work.

  • I'm going to go with 6mil, black plastic on the yard with gravel bags to hold it down. Thanks!
    – pennstump
    Commented Apr 8, 2021 at 16:00

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