Lawn Alternatives For High Traffic Areas
Answered by: Inge Poot
Question from: Kim and Jeff
Posted on: March 10, 2006

Our lawn is more clover and other plants than lawn. In the backyard, we put in a pool and laid down sod a few years ago, only to have it turn to mud and a little grass with lots of kids running to and from the pool, the dog spots from urine, and playing tug of war and his digging.....We are looking for an alternative to regular grass seed, that is green but put up with some abuse (kids, dog, etc) and be low maintenance. Because of the number of kids (and adults) running around barefoot, we don’t want anything with big leaves that would hide surprises like snakes, and we’d prefer to not attract too many bees (the clover attracts enough already!). Ideally, we’d like something like mint, thyme, or oregano, that would scent the air when it is walked on, but I am not sure if they are sturdy enough to put up with the high traffic. The other option would be synthetic turf, but we’d really rather not go that route unless we have to. We are in Northern VA, USA and really appreciate any advice you can give us!

The only herb that I can think of that will come back even if trampled is ground ivy, Glechoma hederacea. It will not be thick and lush like grass though, it is just harder to kill. You might be happier with paving stones in the high traffic areas with a nice tough thyme between them such as creeping thyme or wild thyme. The stones would protect the thyme from the worst of the trampling and you could perhaps train the dogs to relieve themselves in a sand pit put there for this purpose.

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