Friday, January 29, 2010

Making Turf Interesting and Stable

From In the Garden

Once upon a time a teen aged boy who drove a very big gas guzzler of the 80s era lived here with his wife. The gas guzzler was a huge ole black monster called Pontiac Grand Prix (circa 1980) and had big tires that made driving it very difficult for the wife. It was always a battle between the wife and car with the lawn winding up in the middle of the fight. You see, starting and shifting the car was most difficult for the wife and the car would sometimes lurch and move around on its own-while in its parking place. Old antique cars tend to do these sorts of things:) One such time the Pontiac made it into the section of turf you see pictured above-in the middle of a very wet season. Can you guess how deep the wounds were that the turf suffered? Six inch deep 10 feet long ruts come to my mind-okay maybe not that bad but pretty bad. Do you have any idea how much soil it takes to fill in such ruts? My daughter-in-law found out when she gamely sought to repair the damage caused by her battle with the Pontiac. I, on the other hand, sought to figure out how to lessen the damage to the lawn when errant automobiles tend to migrate to this spot.

The idea I came up with has been most pleasing. I took some plain concrete pavers and dug them into the turf area in a checkerboard pattern. It was my hope that should a large Pontiac (or other gas guzzler-er-antique much beloved old car) travel into this area that the concrete pavers would help to lessen the damage, all while providing some nice interesting patterns in an otherwise boring spot of turf. So far, my trick has worked and ruts have been kept to a minimum, actually they've been non-existent. Hmmmm, that might be due to the fact the Pontiac has been relegated to a storage area waiting for more glory days.

Mom-any ruts in your grass?:)

in the garden....

Words and Photos Property of In the Garden Blog Team,

In the Garden


  1. Great idea Tina! I love how stone looks against the softness of the grass.
    Have a great weekend!

  2. Always knew you had smarts! Not only solved your rut problem but added bonus of a creative garden design! PGP...blast from the past! :)

  3. Ah, ruts, the ever occurring event that happens every year up here. I just like the natural look of the grass growing around a flagstone, paver, etc. Good job!

  4. Tina this is clever and very eye catching!

  5. Oooooo... I like the way that looks! That was a very good idea!--Randy

  6. That is Brilliant! A wonderful solution and it looks fab.

  7. I love it when posts are about so much more than gardening.

  8. I like that idea! It would work well for pathways too.

  9. Any snow in TN as of yet? I hear a big one is going to hit....

    The only Big Black Gas Guzzler I saw in storage was in the form of a Trans-AM... Hummmm, where could that Grand Prix be hiding???

    I so love your solution and now see why you have told us many times to use this area when turning around in your driveway! You know it works....

    Keep warm and enjoy the white blanket of fluff....

  10. I'm planning to add something like that to my backyard. I just love stone paths.

  11. It was such a great idea, Tina! Those blocks look aged and certainly add an additional interest to the area.

  12. Good morning all!

    Linda, You have a great weekend too!

    Lynn, Glad you like it! My neighbor needs it as he keeps getting stuck in his yard-you should see the ruts. Stay warm there.

    Dawn, Yup, I think the northeast gets them even worse than here. They can be pains!

    Randy, Thanks!

    Rosey, Thanks!

    Darla, Thanks!

    Les, Oh yes, anything goes here!

    Dave, Yes indeed! I also am very fond of broken concrete-it's even more stable!

    Skeeter, Yup, snow is beginning here-albeit slowly. They canceled school yesterday morning! We told Jimmy they changed their minds since there was no snow this morning-he wasn't buying:) The big ole black thing is parked in another big ole black trailer in the backyard. It is a lovely car. I almost posted a picture of it if only for nostalgia for Brian and DIL.

    Joanne, Hello and welcome! I do hope you stay warm down there in Florida and that your plants recover. Stone paths are great. I use a lot of recycled concrete here too. Looks kind of like stone and is free:)

    Tatyana, Interest indeed. I debated adding some large chess pieces and making a chess board-like they have in European parks. Decided nah, too much going on already. Have a great day!

  13. Nope no ruts here lately. But I am sure I have not seen my last one, darn it.

    I like what you have done. Less than 3 months now before we will be down there and I can't wait to see all the changes in person. There have been so many.

  14. Very nice! Good job and fun post

  15. Looks good Tina -but then again you always come up with super neat ideas -you are super creative and I do like a story behind the project:) No snow out this way yet -but I'm sure it will be here soon enough. Have a great weekend!
    Hey Jean -can't wait to see you:0)

  16. I like the way it looks. No one would ever guess it has a useful purpose too.

  17. Errant cars or not, this is a very attractive addition to the turf, Tina. I can see this kind of pattern being useful in areas with other lawn problems,too. I think we may still have some ruts in the middle of our front yard where Youngest Daughter tried to follow a fox one night. Don't ask...

  18. Hi Everyone.
    That is sure a great fix-it idea Tina. Looks great. I like those kinds of paths/rut fixers.
    My whole front yard could use something like that---maybe just pave it. Water everywhere.
    Phooey on the white stuff unless you can build a snowman. Or make snow cream. Yummy.
    Stay warm & enjoy.

  19. Mom, Can't wait! It will be so nice to have the whole family together!

    Gloria, Thanks and welcome! Love your ponds today!

    Anonymous, I'm blushing now. Thanks. Liz is getting married April 24th. The entire family will be here at some point. Skeeter is coming up so we will all have to get together. You, Lola (if she can come), Nina, Skeeter, and my sister Dawn perhaps?

    Marnie, Thanks. It is a bit unusual but sure draws the eye.

    Rose, Now surely there is a post in that one with a daughter chasing a fox! Do tell!

    Lola, So frustrating to have a yard full of water. I hope it dries up soon. My mother is coming down south in April. My daughter is getting married April 24th so if you are able to make it up we could all have a party!

  20. I love how that looks! What a great idea and it really does add so much interest. I've seen entire front lawns torn up around here in the winter from people parking on their lawns. This looks so much nicer!

  21. Thanks for a great idea, Tina. I should try this in a spot where the grass just won't grow between the house and the man-cave ("shop"). The drill rigs we used to own really compacted the soil there. Besides, it would be nice to keep the shoes dry when walking back and forth in wet weather.

  22. Tina, I agree with the rest-a very attractive solution to the problem. Very clever!

  23. Catherine, It was a nice solution but any kind of heavy rocks would work to lessen ruts. Winter is the worst time for them.

    W2W, It would surely work-reduce maintenance too. Odd thing is even though grass never grew in this spot, I put in the pavers and it grew. Beats weeds though.

    Beckie, So glad to see you. I do hope you are staying warm and dry up there. Snowing here but ironically the majority of the snow is hitting south of us. Very unusual.

  24. Great idea Tina and I love the way that it looks! Who wouldn't want that in their yard, I know I would.

  25. I absolutely love this idea! Not just as a way to protect grass from errant cars...but for how pretty it looks.

  26. I like the simplicity of your solution. I know there are at least a couple of systems out there for drivable lawns. Turfstone is one; my local Home Depot sells another. They're basically perforated concrete blocks that you plant or fill with gravel or sand. But yours looks like an extension of the garden.

  27. Tina, you never stop surprising! And how big is your yard? It seems like each time you talk about it its never the same. I seriously think your yard is as big as Alaska!

  28. Sweetbay, Thanks!

    Linda, Thanks!

    Noelle, Thanks!

    James, I so love the turfblock. Germany uses it to great effect just about everywhere. It's hard to find here. I can see it being available in California. You guys are so progressive.

    Zach, It is a big yard, one acre or 43000 square feet. Take away the house, drive, and other hardscape and it gets pretty small. Fill it in with gardens and it is even smaller. I'm working on a design plan that perhaps I'll post on here so folks can get there bearings. It's hard to fully see a garden from blogs as there is nothing like visiting in person I tell you.

  29. I think that's a VERY attractive solution. It would even be nice if there was no such Pontiac ~ like in my yard! You are so clever to think of fixing the "problem" in such a beautiful way Tina.

  30. Tina, Pontiacs or dogs, sometimes the turf takes a beating. (Would you believe I learned to drive in a 1965 Pontiac Grand Prix and then learned the clutch with a '65 Mustang....those were the days!)

  31. I love it, i had contemplated installing block like this along
    the entire curb in front of my house
    kinda like a sidewalk
    because people often park on the street,and i have had twice long deep ruts across the turf, glad to see it has worked well for you!

  32. Great idea! It's so wonderful when something functional looks great too!

  33. Tina, your ingenuity strikes again! I can think of a few places around here that could use a solution like this. Thanks for a great idea.

    Is the Grand Prix still alive?

  34. The Pontiac Grand Prix mention made me smile. My first car was a '78 Grand Prix, and boy did I love that car. I cleaned up the white vinyl interior with a toothbrush, and was brokenhearted when some clumsy minivan plowed into me and totaled it. I've always had fond memories of that big boat of a car.

  35. I kept meaning to come back here but kept forgetting. Darn it!

    Jen, Yes, the Grand Prix is still alive though very old and creaky. It is in storage for our son (older son Brian) to have someday when he is ready.

    Megan, Ours is a 1980 or 81 and is also a big boat! I should post a picture sometime. I share the garden with so many cars:(