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Entire yard nearly dead - what to do?

I'm located in southern Ontario. Last summer was so hot, and so dry, nearly my entire back yard died, roots and all it seems. Now the entire yard is nothing but patchy, mostly just dirt.

I'm not sure where to start really. The entire yard needs an overhaul. I planted some cedars along the fence, and almost all of them died as well.

I've posted a picture below. The hill at the back just will not grow grass. I'm thinking of making a small wall at the base and just making it an easy to maintain garden on the entire hill.

Does anyone have some thoughts as to where to start? Just seed now? Till up the entire yard and start over?

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Super Green Thumb
Posts: 25279
Joined: Sun Feb 15, 2009 6:04 pm
Location: TN/GA 7b

Re: Entire yard nearly dead - what to do?

You have a blank slate now! Perfect opportunity to think though what you want to do with your back yard and re work it. Maybe put in an arbor with a seating area or table and dining area? Maybe fountain, or even a little pond, bird bath, bird feeders, firepit, play area if you have kids? Maybe a couple raised beds for veggies?

Greener Thumb
Posts: 955
Joined: Sun Apr 04, 2010 3:29 pm
Location: Central PA

Re: Entire yard nearly dead - what to do?

the brown cedars certainly look to be goners.

the lower / flat grass area may happily surprise you; doesn't look all too terrible.

what's the history of the back area? looks like perhaps it is a berm created by the developer? given the definite "looks really dead" vs "still green" dividing line, seems there's something fishy there that may need a different approach.

as the the flat area - looks to me like a good raking and over-seeding might be the best approach.

landscapers / pros are apt to consider anything more than a 50% problem as a candidate for kill-it-all / till / start over. since you work cheaper than they do, also a question of how much effort you want to put into it.

and of course, if the weather this year is as bad, you risk losing all that cash outlay comma, again.....

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