Dirt, that complex mixture of minerals, organic matter, water, air, and living organisms, is pivotal in shaping the outdoor experience. It is key to crafting a flourishing garden or a canvas for creative landscaping.
Your backyard is an important extension of your living space, offering a sanctuary for relaxation, entertainment, and connection with nature. In that case, aim to transform it into a delightful, beautiful space. This involves utilizing inventive and economical ways to cover that bare earth.
After all, a touch of sophistication doesn’t necessarily require a hefty price. So, let’s explore the various cheap ways to cover dirt in your backyard.
Cheap Ways To Cover Dirt In Backyard
1. The Magical Organic Mulch
Mulching is among the most versatile and cost-effective solutions for covering your backyard’s dirt. Organic mulch not only provides a clean and finished look, but it also offers practical benefits like retaining soil moisture, suppressing weed growth, and regulating soil temperature.
You can choose from a variety of affordable mulch options, such as wood chips, shredded bark, straw, or even leaves. Wood chips are especially popular due to their durability, natural appearance, and slow decomposition.
Consider mulching particularly to cover dirt in small to medium size backyards.
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2. Budget-Friendly Sod
Are you looking for a more immediate and visually appealing option of covering dirt in your backyard? Consider using sod. This pre-grown grass comes in squares or rolls. While sod can cost more than other methods of covering dirt, not all sod varieties are created equal in terms of cost.
Therefore, opt for affordable varieties that are also adaptable to your region when shopping. Consider visiting local nurseries and garden centers as they offer budget-friendly options suitable for your climate.
Also, keep an eye on seasonal discounts, end-of-season sales, or bulk purchase deals at nurseries and home improvement stores. This is because they frequently run sales and promotions on landscaping materials, including sod.
If sod is out of your budget but you still want to cover the dirt in your backyard with grass, plant grass seed. This option is more economical but requires more patience as it takes time to grow.
3. Use Inexpensive Ground Covers
Another way to transform your dirt-covered backyard without breaking the bank is through low-cost ground covers. They will help enhance the aesthetics of your outdoor space and serve practical purposes such as weed control and soil moisture retention.
Budget-friendly ground cover options include:
a) Ground Cover Plants
Here’s an idea: cover the dirt in your backyard with inexpensive ground cover plants and turn the area into a thriving, green space in the process. Examples of cheap ground cover plants include ivy, clover, creeping jenny, sedum, ajuga, creeping thyme, wintercreeper, sweet woodruff, dwarf mondo grass, and vinca minor.
Burlap, or hessian, is a woven, coarse fabric crafted from jute plant fibers. Its rustic appearance and biodegradable nature make it an ideal material for various applications, including covering dirt.
You can bring a touch of elegance to your backyard with burlap without straining your finances. This material can be a ground cover, create charming decorations, or an alternative to traditional mulch.
c) Pebbles and Gravel
Consider pebbles and gravel for a cheap solution that doesn’t demand much attention once laid down. They also create a barrier against weeds and require minimal maintenance. Spread a gravel or pebble layer evenly over the dirt.
The only downside is that pebbles and gravel attract heat.
d) Straw or Hay
Straw and hay are inexpensive and readily available, hence an ideal choice for covering large areas of bare dirt without straining your budget. These simple coverings offer more than just covering dirt. They naturally suppress weeds, retain soil moisture, enrich the soil with organic matter, and regulate soil temperature.
Landscaping fabric is a cheap alternative that can transform your backyard into a more visually appealing and manageable area. It offers benefits like weed suppression, moisture retention, and soil erosion prevention.
Consider concealing bare dirt and add a serene and enchanting ambiance to your backyard with moss. This ground cover is often available at a low cost or even for free in many outdoor environments.
Since it requires little maintenance, it will save you time and money compared to high-maintenance lawns or other ground covers. Moss forms a dense carpet once established, naturally suppressing weeds.
4. Artificial Grass
Nothing beats the beauty of natural grass, but if you cannot grow it for one reason or another, the next best thing is artificial grass. This option provides a lush, green carpet that mimics the appearance of real grass without the high maintenance and watering costs.
The installation cost is also relatively lower compared to traditional landscaping options. Unlike real grass, which needs regular mowing, pest control, and fertilization, artificial grass is essentially maintenance-free. This means you won’t incur any ongoing costs associated with lawn care equipment, fertilizers, and other upkeep expenses.
Artificial grass comes in various styles and textures, allowing you to choose a product that suits your design preferences and budget. Another advantage is that turf maintains its green, vibrant appearance year-round, unaffected by weather conditions.
Concrete is traditionally associated with sidewalks and driveways, but do not disregard it as a method of covering dirt in your backyard. You can creatively utilize it to boost your backyard’s aesthetics and functionality.
Consider creating a concrete patio if you are dealing with a large dirt area. Opt for a simple square or rectangular design to keep costs down. Additionally, consider using concrete stamps or molds to add texture and mimic how more costly materials look.
Purchase pre-made stepping stones or create your own using molds to cover specific areas of dirt. Once you have the stepping stones, arrange them strategically to create pathways or designate spaces within your garden.
You can also place concrete pavers that come in various shapes, sizes, and colors to create a distinctive pattern or cover the entire dirt surface. This option allows for flexibility in design while keeping the overall cost lower than using traditional stone or brick pavers.
6. DIY Pallet Deck
Building a pallet deck is another great and cost-effective way to hide dirt in your backyard. Opting for professional deck construction will result in a higher cost. However, the project won’t cost much if you can do it yourself.
Many businesses like local warehouses, construction sites, or grocery stores give away or sell pallets at a low cost. Look for ones in good condition, without any signs of damage or chemicals.
Arrange the pallets in the desired configuration for your deck. Align the pallets horizontally or vertically, depending on the size and shape of your space. Also, add decking material on top of the pallets for a more comfortable and polished finish.
Secure the decking material to the pallets using screws or nails, ensuring a smooth and even surface. Make your pallet deck more aesthetically appealing by adding outdoor rugs, cushions, or even a coat of paint to match your style.
You can further elevate the ambiance of your budget-friendly outdoor retreat with potted plants, string lights, and outdoor furniture.
7. Raised Garden Bed
Growing plants, flowers, or herbs is an excellent way to cover the parts of your backyard with dirt. A raised bed is a cost-effective and versatile way of covering dirt and making your yard functional and aesthetically appealing.
When building a raised garden bed on a budget, use economical materials such as untreated pine, cedar, or reclaimed wood. Moreover, look for discounts, sales, or repurposed materials to keep costs low.
Cinder blocks or concrete blocks are inexpensive and readily available materials for constructing raised garden beds. Repurposing old containers, barrels, or large plastic bins as raised garden beds is also an option.
While buying pre-packaged soil is convenient, it will increase the cost of establishing your raised garden. Avoid this by creating your own DIY soil mix by combining compost, garden soil, and organic matter to create a nutrient-rich blend.
8. Create A Water Pond
Another way to cheaply cover dirt in your backyard, if you can undertake the project without hiring anyone, is to make a water pond. This budget-friendly feature covers the dirt and adds a serene and natural element to your outdoor oasis.
You must be creative to avoid incurring a huge cost. Some materials you can use include containers or a livestock trough as the base. For the pond border, worthy options include salvaged bricks, rocks, or broken concrete pieces for a rustic and eclectic charm.
You can also enhance the visual appeal of your water pond by incorporating affordable pond plants like water hyacinths and water lettuce. Furthermore, make your pond more magical by illuminating it in the evening with solar-powered pond lights.
Transforming a dirt-filled backyard into a welcoming and attractive outdoor space doesn’t have to be an expensive endeavor. With some resourcefulness and creativity, you can cover the dirt in your backyard on a budget. The solutions discussed in this post allow you to customize the parts of your backyard with dirt into a visually appealing, functional paradise without draining your finances.
Hey there, I’m Derek Schew, a writer for Lawnholic.com, where we cover everything and anything related to lawns. As someone who’s spent countless hours tending to my own lawn, I’m passionate about sharing my knowledge and helping others achieve the perfect yard. From lawn care tips to product reviews, I’m committed to providing our readers with the most accurate and up-to-date information available. So whether you’re a seasoned lawn enthusiast or just getting started, I invite you to join our community and discover the joys of a lush, green lawn.