Do This With Your Dirt Backyard (Practical Guide)

Are you tired of looking at a dull and lifeless dirt backyard? Do you want to transform it into a beautiful and functional outdoor space without breaking the bank? You’re in luck! There are several affordable and creative ways to cover up the dirt and turn your backyard into a stunning oasis.

One of the easiest and most cost-effective ways to cover up dirt in your backyard is by using organic mulch or wood chips. Not only do they provide a natural and rustic look, but they also help retain moisture in the soil and reduce weed growth. Another option is to create a small wooden deck or patio area, which can serve as a perfect spot for outdoor dining or relaxation. Additionally, recycled bricks, pavers, or crushed concrete can be used to create a unique and eco-friendly pathway or seating area.

Table of Contents

Assessing Your Dirt Backyard

When it comes to transforming your dirt backyard, the first step is to assess the current state of your soil. This will help you determine what needs to be done to improve the quality of your soil and ensure that it is suitable for the plants and landscaping features you want to add. Here are some things to consider:

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Soil Type and Quality

The type and quality of your soil will play a huge role in what you can do with your backyard. Here are some things to look for:

  • Soil type: Is your soil sandy, clayey, or loamy? Each type has its own challenges and benefits, so it’s important to understand what you’re working with.
  • Soil quality: Is your soil healthy and nutrient-rich, or is it depleted and lacking in essential minerals? You can assess soil quality by performing a soil test or simply by observing the health of any existing plants in your backyard.


Proper drainage is essential for a healthy backyard. Poor drainage can lead to standing water, which can drown plants and create a breeding ground for mosquitoes. Here are some things to look for:

  • Slope: Is your backyard sloped or flat? A sloped backyard can help with drainage, but it can also create erosion problems if not properly managed.
  • Standing water: Are there any areas of your backyard where water tends to pool after rain? This could be a sign of poor drainage.


Erosion can be a major problem in dirt backyards, especially if you live in an area with heavy rainfall or steep hills. Here are some things to look for:

  • Gullies: Are there any deep channels or gullies in your backyard caused by water runoff? These can be dangerous and should be addressed as soon as possible.
  • Bare spots: Are there areas of your backyard where the soil has been eroded away, leaving bare spots? This could be a sign of poor soil quality or improper drainage.
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By assessing your dirt backyard for soil type and quality, drainage, and erosion, you can get a better idea of what needs to be done to transform your backyard into a beautiful and functional outdoor space.

Preparing Your Backyard for Landscaping

Before you start landscaping your backyard, it is important to prepare the area properly. This involves clearing the area, leveling the ground, and adding nutrients to the soil. By taking these steps, you will create a healthy foundation for your plants to grow and thrive.

Clearing the Area

The first step in preparing your backyard for landscaping is to clear the area of any debris, rocks, or other obstacles. This will give you a clean slate to work with. Start by removing any large rocks or debris by hand or with a shovel. Then, use a rake to remove any smaller debris or leaves.

Leveling the Ground

Once the area is clear, it’s time to level the ground. This will ensure that your plants have an even surface to grow on. Start by using a shovel to remove any high spots in the ground. Then, use a rake to level out any low spots. You can also use a level to ensure that the ground is even.

Adding Nutrients to the Soil

To create a healthy foundation for your plants, it is important to add nutrients to the soil. Start by testing the soil to determine its pH level. This will help you determine what nutrients your soil needs. You can purchase a soil testing kit at your local garden center or online.

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Once you have determined what nutrients your soil needs, you can add them using fertilizer or compost. Spread the fertilizer or compost evenly over the soil and then use a rake to work it into the top few inches of soil. This will ensure that the nutrients are distributed evenly throughout the soil.

By following these steps, you can create a healthy foundation for your plants to grow and thrive. With proper preparation, your backyard can become a beautiful and vibrant landscape.

Choosing the Right Ground Cover

When it comes to transforming a dirt backyard, choosing the right ground cover can make all the difference. Here are some options to consider:


Grass is a classic choice for a backyard ground cover. It is easy to maintain and provides a lush, green look. However, it requires regular watering and mowing to keep it looking healthy. If you have pets or kids, consider a more durable grass variety like Bermuda or Zoysia.

Plants and Garden Beds

Plants and garden beds can add color and texture to your backyard while also providing a natural ground cover. Consider low-maintenance options like succulents, herbs, or ground cover plants like creeping thyme or sedum. Raised garden beds can also be a great option for growing vegetables or flowers.

Mulch and Compost

Mulch and compost can be used to cover bare soil and provide nutrients for plants. Mulch can also help retain moisture and prevent weeds from growing. Wood chips, straw, and shredded leaves are all great options for mulch, while compost can be made from kitchen scraps and yard waste.

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Stone and Gravel

Stone and gravel can add a modern and low-maintenance look to your backyard. They are great for high-traffic areas and can be used to create pathways or decorative accents. Choose a size and color that complements your home and landscaping.

Artificial Turf

Artificial turf is a low-maintenance option that provides the look of a lush lawn without the upkeep. It is great for areas that receive a lot of foot traffic or for those who want a green lawn year-round. However, it can be expensive to install and may not be as eco-friendly as natural grass.

When choosing a ground cover for your backyard, consider your budget, maintenance preferences, and the overall look you want to achieve. With the right choice, you can transform your dirt backyard into a beautiful and functional outdoor space.

Creating a Low-Maintenance Backyard

If you have a dirt backyard and you’re looking for ways to make it more attractive and low maintenance, there are several things you can do. Here are some ideas to get you started:

Using Ground Cover to Reduce Maintenance

One of the best ways to reduce maintenance in your backyard is to use ground cover plants. Ground covers are low-growing plants that spread quickly and cover the ground, choking out weeds and reducing the need for mowing and other maintenance. Some good ground cover options include:

  • Clover
  • Thyme
  • Sedum
  • Ajuga
  • Creeping Jenny

Adding Trees and Shrubs

Another way to reduce maintenance in your backyard is to add trees and shrubs. Trees and shrubs provide shade, which can help keep your yard cooler and reduce the need for watering. They also provide habitat for birds and other wildlife, which can help make your backyard more interesting and enjoyable. Some good tree and shrub options include:

  • Dogwood
  • Redbud
  • Japanese maple
  • Boxwood
  • Hydrangea
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Building a Patio or Deck

If you want to create a low-maintenance backyard that’s perfect for entertaining, consider building a patio or deck. A patio or deck provides a flat, stable surface for outdoor furniture and other amenities, and it requires very little maintenance. Some good patio and deck options include:

Installing a Retaining Wall

If your backyard is sloped, installing a retaining wall can help reduce erosion and make your yard more attractive. Retaining walls can be made from a variety of materials, including stone, brick, and concrete, and they require very little maintenance once they’re installed. Some good retaining wall options include:

  • Stone wall
  • Concrete block wall
  • Timber wall

By using ground cover plants, adding trees and shrubs, building a patio or deck, and installing a retaining wall, you can create a low-maintenance backyard that’s both beautiful and functional.

Disposing of Dirt and Yard Waste

When it comes to disposing of dirt and yard waste, there are several options to choose from. Here are some of the most common ways to get rid of your backyard debris:

Recycling Options

Recycling your yard waste is a great way to reduce your environmental impact and give your garden a boost. Here are some ways to recycle your yard waste:

  • Composting: If you have a lot of organic material, you can create a compost pile in your backyard. This will turn your yard waste into nutrient-rich soil that you can use to fertilize your garden.
  • Grasscycling: This involves leaving grass clippings on your lawn after mowing. The clippings will break down and provide your lawn with natural nutrients.
  • Advertise Online: You can also advertise your yard waste online to give it away for free. Some people may be interested in using your yard waste for a gardening project or compost pile.
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Hauling and Junk Removal Services

If you don’t have the time or resources to recycle your yard waste, you can hire a junk removal service. These services will do all the heavy lifting for you and haul away your yard waste. Here are some tips to keep in mind when hiring a junk removal service:

  • Research: Make sure to research different companies and compare prices before making a decision.
  • Schedule: Schedule your appointment in advance to ensure that the company has availability.
  • Preparation: Gather all of your yard waste in one location to make the removal process easier.

Budget Dumpster Rental

If you have a lot of yard waste to dispose of, renting a dumpster may be the best option. Here are some tips to keep in mind when renting a budget dumpster:

  • Size: Choose a dumpster size that is appropriate for the amount of yard waste you have.
  • Location: Make sure to place the dumpster in a location that is easily accessible for the removal company.
  • Regulations: Check with your local government to see if there are any regulations or permits required for dumpster rental.

By following these tips and utilizing the different options available, you can easily dispose of your dirt and yard waste in an environmentally friendly and cost-effective way.

Complying with Local Laws and Regulations

When it comes to managing your backyard, it’s important to comply with local laws and regulations. Failure to do so can result in fines and other legal consequences. This section will cover some of the key considerations when it comes to complying with local laws and regulations.

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Permits and Regulations for Construction Projects

If you’re planning to build any structures in your backyard, such as a shed or a deck, you may need to obtain permits from your local government. The specific requirements will vary depending on where you live, so it’s important to research the regulations in your area. Some common requirements include:

  • Obtaining a building permit
  • Complying with zoning regulations
  • Meeting safety codes and standards

Before starting any construction project, it’s important to make sure you have all the necessary permits and approvals in place. This will help ensure that your project is safe, legal, and in compliance with local regulations.

Recycling and Disposing of Yard Waste in Compliance with Local Laws

When it comes to managing yard waste, it’s important to follow local laws and regulations. Improper disposal of yard waste can harm the environment and result in fines or other legal consequences. Here are some tips for recycling and disposing of yard waste in compliance with local laws:

  • Check with your local government to see if they offer a yard waste recycling program. Many cities and towns have programs that allow residents to recycle yard waste such as leaves, branches, and grass clippings.
  • If your local government doesn’t offer a recycling program, consider composting your yard waste. Composting is a natural way to recycle yard waste and create nutrient-rich soil for your garden.
  • If you need to dispose of yard waste that can’t be recycled or composted, check with your local government to see if there are any regulations or restrictions on how it can be disposed of. For example, some areas may require that yard waste be bagged or bundled in a certain way before it can be picked up for disposal.
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By following these tips and complying with local laws and regulations, you can help ensure that your backyard is safe, healthy, and in compliance with the law.


Hello! I'm Nikita, the creator of Abodenation, a blog dedicated to home improvement, troubleshooting, advice, and decor. With years of hands-on experience and a keen eye for detail, I love sharing my passion for creating functional, beautiful, and comfortable living spaces with others. Join me on my journey to transform houses into homes, one project at a time.

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