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Tips to Keep a High-Traffic Lawn Looking Great

high traffic lawn
Walking across a lawn in bare feet is amongst the simplest joys of getting outdoors - but not for the lawn. Heavy foot traffic from men and women (and pets) taking shortcuts, avoiding the sidewalk, or running around a swing set causes problems that sooner or later lead to a declining lawn. Here are techniques to avoid that. 

Plan Ahead

If you know that you are creating an addition to your lawn that will lead to much more foot traffic (for example, installing a swing set), plan ahead to avoid problems. You have a few choices:

You can replace the lawn grass in the new area using a variety that tolerates foot traffic.
You do not need to have a lawn at all - substitute mulch or gravel for grass.

Choose the Best Grass Type

The type of grass you should plant to withstand foot traffic is dependent upon whether or not you reside inside a cool-season (northern U.S.), warm-season (southern U.S.) or transitional (mid-South) grass area.

  • Cool-season areas: Plant mixtures of turf-type tall fescue and Kentucky bluegrass or perennial ryegrass.
  • Warm-season areas: Zoysiagrass and Bermudagrass are the two most traffic-tolerant lawn grasses available. Plant sod or plugs of those grasses from May possibly to September to establish a brand new lawn.
  • Transitional areas: In transitional areas, neither warm-season nor cool-season grasses are pleased all the time. In the event you will mostly be employing the high-traffic area of your yard through the summer, plant zoysiagrass and overseed with annual rye during the winter. If you plan to use your outdoor lawn area all year, consider planting buffalograss.

Alternative Options

Often, the best practice for high-traffic areas is to forget the grass and use mulch, gravel, or pavers as an alternative. If you're landscaping around a swing set or a children's play area, use mulch. It truly is softer than gravel and pavers, and will cushion the inevitable falls. If an area of the lawn has turn into a pathway shortcut as opposed to a green oasis, install pavers, flagstone or gravel. (When utilizing gravel, hammer in metal edging along the perimeter to keep the gravel in bounds.) See also how to lay cobblestone edging

A compromise between totally green and totally paved can be a stone path with groundcovers for example creeping thyme planted between the stones. These are occasionally called "steppable plants."

Preventative Upkeep

Two preventable items result in lawn decline in areas with foot traffic: compacted soil and broken grass plants. When individuals or pets walk on the grass repeatedly inside the exact same area, they press down around the soil, which squeezes soil particles collectively. This means that air and water can't simply move by way of the soil to attain the grass roots. Ultimately, grass grown in compacted soil will die. To prevent soil compaction, rent a punch-core aerator to aerate the grass in high-traffic areas within the spring and fall. Rake a ½ in. layer of finely sifted compost across the aerated area. To prevent plants from being killed by feet grinding their stems into the ground, plant traffic-tolerant grass types.