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Hard Yard Worki...
Back Yard SHALE surfacing

Oh, what a pain. With positive grade in the back yard, my Western Pa. property is becoming an concrete-like playground. The common area behind us guides natural water down into and through our yard.
As a result, the thin soil is washing away.

The shale is surfacing in a large area. Nothing but ROCK, broken shale and stones are now my surface.

With 3 young children, ages 8,6, and 2, and all very active outdoors kids ... I am extremely saddened by this result, for them to have to play on.

What solution do I have, as we are setting on top of a shale boulder mountainous lot. (next door has same issue but kids are grown and they put a paver walkway and hot tub on the affected area).

I am looking into Sod. Thinking of putting down a few inches of soil, on top of the Shale, and then Sodding on top.

Is this smart? Is it correct? Will it work that way, or do I need further input from the experts?

OF NOTE: my lot is about 75' wide and 90' deep. This is only occuring on the far right side and middle of the depth dimension, about 20' wide and 20' deep.
My point ... how do I set the Sod on TOP of the dirt on TOP of the shale while keeping the edges BELOW the surface?

Please, offer me and my kids some cure!!!
Ron "Hard Yard Working Dad"

ps- the lot was cleared 4 years ago for this new home plan. This erosion happened quickly and is expanding by the month.

Re: Back Yard SHALE surfacing

Do you have any grass or lawn back their now? Did it wash away?

Re: Back Yard SHALE surfacing

You don't say anything about the steepness of the grade, I am thinking any great degree would only wash off the soil again. In some instances, may consider a retaining wall. Pics would help.

Re: Back Yard SHALE surfacing

What does the nearby forest look like? Are exposed rock formations common?

To get decent grass to grow over a parking lot (the stone is fairly impervious) you'd need a good yard of top soil on top which would cost a fortune, and require a sizable retaining wall. Maybe as little as 18" of added soil and then a whole lot of water all the time.

It looks from my house as though you may be fighting a losing battle. Embrace the rock. Send the kids to the park to play or buy knee pads, helmets and wrist protectors.

Re: Back Yard SHALE surfacing

Maybe you should look into shredded rubber mulch like they use in playground. Or 20x20 would make a fantastic playhouse/shed!

Re: Back Yard SHALE surfacing

I agree with the above answers: you have a tough situation.

Think of other landscape solutions than sod.

Re: Back Yard SHALE surfacing

I strongly advise that you avoid ground rubber mulch. Do a search for health hazards associated with it and you'll realize that it is especially unsuitable for a children's play area. What the answer is, I don't know. Just want you to avoid a potential health hazard. Maybe there is some kind of mesh you can put down first, then cover with topsoil and plant grass on. I've heard of a metal mesh that you can install to use as a driveway that allows grass to grow through it so it looks like part of the lawn (look for reinforced grass paving). Sorry, no details to offer and no idea if it would work. No rubber or even wood mulch, though, please.

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