Help! Need chicken yard landscaping advice!

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by sigmachigirl, Jan 23, 2015.

  1. sigmachigirl

    sigmachigirl Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Hi there! We do urban chickening, and have given over half of our yard to be exclusively the girls. They do free range the whole yard, but, occasionally lock them just on their side. They also have a coop and enclosed run. The coop and run are not part of our issue. Our problem is the amount of water that we have getting to the mucky clay under our lawn, which is also shaded by our neighbor's enormous cherry tree. There is a slight slope that then drains everything down and away. This is all visible from our patio. We live in the Puget sound area, (zone 7b) and I am finding that our grass is quite delicate, and half has probably been smothered by mud. So my question is this, what can we do to landscape the area to make it prettier, and to keep the girls from wallowing in the mud? I'm worried about wood chipping the whole area, because I want them to be able to forage, but not sure how else to remedy the muck.i also want it to be pretty like the rest of our yard.
     
    Last edited: Jan 23, 2015
  2. HighStreetCoop

    HighStreetCoop Chillin' With My Peeps

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  3. AnnieE

    AnnieE Out Of The Brooder

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    I have woodchips covering over ~1/2 of my urban backyard (free from tree trimming company) and the chickens are always finding something. I have woodchips as paths as well as to cover the entire shaded back 1/5th of the yard from fence to fence. There are tons of bugs and worms in the woodchips.

    You could also add clover to the grass mix or ivy. If it's really shady, the ivy will do well.
     
  4. sigmachigirl

    sigmachigirl Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I want to be sure to keep some things living/ green so it looks nice. Perhaps I will widen the area I had decided I would landscape with berry plants (I would love to keep them out of my raspberries, blueberries and black currants!!! And then do wood chips with some flagstone to run the area. Thank you both for the advice!!! My hubby isn't going to be thrilled with more building, but sounds like spring may be busy. I don't know why I assumed the wood chips would block worms. Maybe I was thinking gravel!
     
  5. Just sayin

    Just sayin Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I'm in W WA too. It's the worst part of winter right now for the grass, but we're just a couple of months from grass growing out of our ears whether we want it or not, if you can bear with it a little longer. :)

    It wouldn't hurt a lawn to put down some chopped up hay or straw to give a barrier to mud, in spring, toss some grass seed on it. If it's a small area, you might have to fence the chickens out of it for a short while, but in my experience, in this area, grass just grows if you give it a chance.
     
    Last edited: Jan 23, 2015
  6. sigmachigirl

    sigmachigirl Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Yeah, this area is a tough one. The lawn really struggled to come back last summer, it doesn't get much sun, and with it getting walked on, it is straight dirt In from of the opening for the run. :-( this is from last spring, as you can see, it's now very shaded, and a lot of this grass is completely dead.
    [​IMG]
     
  7. HighStreetCoop

    HighStreetCoop Chillin' With My Peeps

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    My Coop
    I gave up on lawn. I tried twice. Once with normal, Home Depot sod and once with $$$ native grass that was supposed to be drought tolerant and dog resistant. I swear if my dog so much as glanced in its general direction it died! So no more grass for me.
     
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  8. Just sayin

    Just sayin Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Yeah - that's probably a lot of traffic for a small shady yard. Even for grass! Stepping stones of irregular size and shape, with a few inches between them, might be good. Grass could grow up between, particularly if you said you didn't want it to ;) Could be pretty and less muddy for walking...

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Jan 23, 2015
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  9. sigmachigirl

    sigmachigirl Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Agreed! Will definitely be getting more stone. And yes, if you cross your eyes wrong at the lawn, it dies...it's about a 15- 20 foot wide swath of lawn between the two fences, so it gets tons of traffic. I'd also like to hide my neighbor's fence a bit. There is a good grassy area behind the coop too, but that doesn't seem to be struggling as much. I'll leave that, and widen the current stone path, and get some stones and wood chips down along the other. I think I'll look at some native berry plants at the flower and garden show in Seattle next month. I'm thinking salal and Oregon grape. The girls will love the fruit, and they grow in shade!
     
    Last edited: Jan 23, 2015
  10. Just sayin

    Just sayin Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Sword ferns are easy to move too, if you can find some in the woods. You can even dig them up and split them into a few smaller ones.

    Now is a good time to move them, before this year's new growth comes up.
     
    1 person likes this.

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