Landscpaping emergency!!
pichimura
October 15, 2013 in Design Dilemma
Just purchased a Lake Tahoe home with fenced yard for my dogs. The lot is huge, but not landscaped. At first I thought this was great - no maintenance, and the dogs can't destroy it. Well, what I discovered is that with the ultra-dry climate, the dust the dogs bring in is impossible to keep up with - EVERYTHING in the house is covered with dirt. I clean everything constantly and still suffer from the dust. Anyone have a lost-cost, low-maintenance solution? Keep in mind, hard-scape is not an option due to local ordinances regulating permeable coverage to prevent run-off into Lake Tahoe and putting lawn in such a huge area would not be environmentally or economically feasible. Lot is over 18,000 sq ft. Please, if you know of any durable drought-resistant solutions, I am desperate!!!!!
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Darzy
Use all of the pine needles as your walk space. Suck up in a "blower" then sprinkle in your walkways. It will keep the dust down and it's no cost. :)
0 Likes   October 15, 2013 at 8:52PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Darzy
Or, bring in truckloads of decomposed granite and stamp it down firmly. Over time, it will be a very hard surface.
1 Like   October 15, 2013 at 9:17PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
libradesigneye
Pavers would be another option to dg (a very good choice) - they are permeable, you lay them in a bed of gravel and fill with sand - that would form a significant "terrace" for the dirt to fall off the dogs before they make it up on the deck and into the house. You might have a seasonal dog wash outdoors . . . . . dg will pack with the first soaking rain, but it does need an edge or it bleeds off over time . . .so you might do pavers for part, then a paver edge around the rest and fill that with dg - about 3" deep is a good start
0 Likes   October 15, 2013 at 9:30PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
pichimura
Lol. Thanks Darzy. That's exactly what we thought when we first moved here. We have about 10 years worth if pine needles as the previous owners never used the property or maintained it. It took about 1 week for the dogs to displace the needles - clearing their most often used paths to uncover the finest, softest dirt beneath. Thanks for your suggestion though, and thinking about the DG. It's everywhere up here, but still very dusty.
0 Likes   October 15, 2013 at 9:38PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
pichimura
Thanks Libradesigneye! Sadly, the TRPA still counts pavers against your "coverage". It is considered non-permeable. I think we are looking for drought-resistant durable ground cover of some kind. Oh, and I noticed I made and error in my request. Permeable should have been written as NON-permeable. Thanks so much. I am going to check into the DG, since it is all over our trails up here, maybe they will permit that.
0 Likes   October 15, 2013 at 9:45PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
PRO
ASVInteriors
You have such a huge area that is seems trying to tackle 18,000 square feet is going to be all but impossible.

Trying a different tactic, how about finding a solution to easily clean the dogs as they enter the home? How about a holding area which is the "clean area" say, a pen that has artificial grass that will eventually wipe their feet as they pad about it a bit? Or if they are not nervous dogs, a kind of down draft dryer that will blow the dust off them as they enter.

I realize this is crazy. But I believe it might be more economical to tackle the dogs than the forest. I am not a dog owner but perhaps others have crazier ideas than I. I throw down the gauntlet.
3 Likes   October 16, 2013 at 1:49AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
PRO
Lampert Dias Architects, Inc.
I was just about to suggest the same thing as ASVInteriors above..........some sort decomprssion area to brush or blow off the dogs before they enter the house.

If they aren't nervous, a hair dryer mounted to the wall just like they have in hotel bathrooms would do the trick.............
1 Like   October 16, 2013 at 2:14AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Patricia Pelgrims
It looks like you have sandy soil. Not surprisingly as that is the sort of soil you'll find under pine trees.
I've looked up on google and found you this
http://homeguides.sfgate.com/plants-grow-under-pine-trees-49224.html

In my experience it isn't easy to grow under these trees, but with the right plants you might be able to pull it off.
The more plants you have in the garden the more protection you'll be giving to the soil. Preventing it from eroding and it will keep moisture in the ground, believe it or not.
0 Likes   October 16, 2013 at 2:57AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
pichimura
Thank you. Great suggestions about blowing the dogs off. The doggie day care place I take them to uses blowers to clean them off when I pick them up, so they are used to that. I guess I need to consider losing the doggie door as they go in and out whenever they want, so I am currently unable to monitor them entering/exiting the house. It's going to get even worse when the snow melts in the spring and I have to deal with mud instead of dirt. Thanks Patricia, I will check out this website too. We do want to plant stuff eventually when budget permits.
5 Likes   October 16, 2013 at 7:44AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
PRO
ASVInteriors
Love those dogs!
1 Like   Thanked by pichimura    October 16, 2013 at 12:21PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Mary Grant Justin
Maybe walk around and see what some of your neighbors have in their yards. The ones that have dogs could be a good source of information. Also the local nursery may have some good advice.
1 Like   October 19, 2013 at 5:12AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
tsudhonimh
" It took about 1 week for the dogs to displace the needles - clearing their most often used paths to uncover the finest, softest dirt beneath. "

OK ... you don't have 18,000 square feet. The dogs probably have a path around the edge of the yard that they use to patrol and a few other preferred paths and lounging sites. You can use plantings and temporary fencing to keep them on the paths.

That, and closing off the doggy door so you can dust the dogs before they come in would probably do the trick - have them come into an area you can easily clean and wipe them down or vacuum them.. They'll get used to a foot bath during mus season, too.

Can you use wood rounds as pavers for the paths? They are permeable and biodegradable too.
http://www.pinterest.com/pin/210754457532345650/v
0 Likes   October 19, 2013 at 7:21AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
dclostboy
I have a house on the Chesapeake with incredibly strict run off standards...my crushed granite drive, pavers and even above ground decking are classified as non-permeable. Permit to remove trees requires additional plantings elsewhere. That said, my dogs know their designated area which is covered in pine needles...only have issues with mud on the paws when it rains.
0 Likes   October 19, 2013 at 7:39AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
pichimura
dclostboy, tsudhonim, thank you. We actually did have tree rounds on some of the walking paths, but we discovered a carpenter ant infestation when we first moved in. Had to tear off siding, poke holes into the house, tear out parts of the deck and spray, spray, spray for weeks. So we disposed of the rounds, in an attempt to get rid of ant attractants. Yes, you are right we don't have to landscape the full 18,000 sq. ft., and the back yard is probably only about 10k of the total. Want to think about a total yard solution, but will focus on the dog areas and human traffic paths first. We have a huge storage area under the house that we access often and don't want to be trudging through mud this winter. We are thinking about ordering a few pallets of flagstone/quartzite and then fill around them with 1"-3" rock for the paths. There is a small area with irrigation that once had lawn, so we will replace that next summer. Thanks so much. I appreciate every one on this site - so wonderfully helpful!!
0 Likes   October 19, 2013 at 8:23AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
apple_pie_order
Others have suggested some great ideas for the landscaping. I'd like to suggest some options for improving the dust situation inside. My experience comes from occasional work at high altitudes in windy, dusty locations.

Long, large floor mats of the commercial kind (rubber back, very low carpet pile) both inside and outside the doors will help. Include mats inside and outside the dog door. You need at least three steps on the mats to get dust off your feet.

Think about which windows you open the most: can you put a filter on the outside of each one over the screen? They are cut to fit, look pretty awful, and really work well. Available from any allergy store in rolls of cut to fit filter material. It's a reversible option, easy, cheap. Try a stretched thin fabric if you don't care for the looks of filter material.

Next, remove any horizontal surfaces you don't use. If it is not there, you don't have to clean it.

Put glass doors on bookcases and shelving units. Store most knickknacks and just keep one or two out for dusting at a time.

Use treated dustcloths, the old fashioned yellow flannel kind, and a wool dust mop. The static-y synthetic kind do not work well in very dry mountain climates.

Consider buying a Roomba. Let it run every day. They are popular with dog owners.
1 Like   October 19, 2013 at 8:57AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
nasmijati
I live in a high altitude desert environment. Apple-pie-order is spot on. Use commercial door mats outside each door - minimum five feet (three steps) and mats or machine washable throw rugs in front of each door on the inside (also five feet long).
Plan to damp mop, dust mop, and/or vacuum every single day. Yep. Every day. That is where the Roomba vacuum comes in handy.

My region suffered from 36 months of drought until this last summer. Forest fires during this time were the largest in recorded history. I encourage you check with the Forest Service in your area for ways to prevent a forest fire from consuming your home, while following local ordinances. (In my state, clearing a 30 foot radius around the home of flammable material is the first thing on the list.)
2 Likes   Thanked by pichimura    October 19, 2013 at 9:24AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
cynamonc
I would get more pine straw mulch and put a thick layer over the entire yard. I live in Florida and they use pine straw mulch here too, it is inexpensive and it lasts a long time. A thicker layer of pine straw mulch would look nice in your yard, it would look natural and clean.
0 Likes   Thanked by pichimura    October 19, 2013 at 9:33AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Dar Eckert
well, the best solution may be to have a green buffer area around the house. Establish some grass around the house so that when the dogs come in they walk over the grass and get some of the dirt brushed off their feet. I'm thinking at least 20 feet around your house would be helpful. I didn't read all the comments so if someone suggested this before, sorry to repeat.
1 Like   Thanked by pichimura    October 19, 2013 at 9:48AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
cynamonc
Have you seen the new dog friendly turf, it's really amazing and dogs love it too. This way you won't have to worry about the grass getting enough sunlight or water, it doesn't need any. http://www.easyturf.com/cesarmillan/
1 Like   Thanked by pichimura    October 19, 2013 at 1:51PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Dar Eckert
I can't imagine artificial turf in this naturalistic setting. How difficult is growing a little grass?
0 Likes   October 19, 2013 at 2:42PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
cynamonc
Lawn is not found in nature, to maintain a lawn is a major stress on the environment with water and chemicals. Artificial turf is environmental friendly, maintenance free.
2 Likes   October 20, 2013 at 12:27PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
apple_pie_order
Dar Eckert: the poster's location near Lake Tahoe probably gets no rain at all in the summer months. Lawn, flowers, etc. have to be watered frequently with imported or well water to survive. The runoff restrictions (and possible water usage restrictions) add complications. In some situations, a nice fake grass area can be a good solution. This may be one of them.
1 Like   October 20, 2013 at 2:39PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
cynamonc
The quality of artificial turf today is amazing, it feels great and looks great, but most importantly makes you feel great about doing something good for the environment.
1 Like   October 20, 2013 at 3:58PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
nasmijati
...especially if the artificial turf does not outgas or leach chemicals into the soil. Research your product choices.
0 Likes   Thanked by pichimura    October 20, 2013 at 4:37PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Dar Eckert
Well, I stand corrected. I never considered artificial turf a "green" product because it is made from petrochemicals, uses energy to produce and generates waste during production but I am interested in seeing it successfully used in combination with a natural setting.
0 Likes   October 21, 2013 at 6:02AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
apple_pie_order
Small strips of fake grass have been used in my near-desert-no-rain-in-summer neighborhood fairly recently. In two front areas, they are used for the 4-6" gaps between checkerboard concrete driveways, over the native soil (decomposed granite, no organic material). The fake grass is also used in 2-3 foot patches in hard-to-access areas around light poles and concrete fittings for underground meters. It is not the bright green plastic covering of the 1960's. It sure me took me a long time to recognize why it was used and appreciate its virtues.
2 Likes   October 21, 2013 at 6:45AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Dar Eckert
Well with the lack of water in mind, I think I would introduce materials like the narrow slat bath mat and use it for an entrance deck/sidewalk. Make it quite large like 8' X 12' or long like a sidewalk. It would help to trap the dirt and look appropriate in the setting. Then use a large rug close to the door like sisal or something else that can be used outside. Either lay the rug on the wood slats or transition to the rug.

2 Likes   October 21, 2013 at 6:49AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
pichimura
Thanks every one. Here is our tentative plan and it does include many of your suggestions. 1) I will continue to vacuum daily as I have since moving in. Can't say I'm going to dust that ofter though. 2) I will get a Roomba, once we do our interior remodel and have the main level one level (it currently has a sunk-in family room and living room, with entry hall, kitchen and dining room raised, unfortunately. 3) Next spring we are going to lay sod in the area near the deck in the backyard as it has irrigation already installed and since my dogs LOVE rolling in the grass, this should be enough to keep them substantially cleaner. I'm afraid if I use artificial in the area, it will only become another area I have to clean. I think grass will be more self-cleaning. 4) The front yard has an area for grass as well, but we will use the artificial turf there, because we want to conserve water and don't want the weekly chore of mowing (in the backyard, I would be more inclined to let it grow longer). 5) We are going to use loose rock or gravel along pathways and around the immediate perimeter of the house to keep snow run-off from turning the area to mud, within the gravel we are going to lay quartzite flagstone pavers. This way, if we are charged with coverage for their use, we can remove them easily when we want to use our coverage for house expansion in the future. 6) I am going to purchase 3 more commercial type mats for the top of each stairway onto the deck, I have them in front each entrance door already. 7) Long term hope to create some terraced, planter-box type of units around the yard for native, drought tolerant plants, but we will see how the first fixes do before spending that money. Trying to save for interior remodel and was not expecting to do anything much to the outdoor space. Not too worried about filters for the windows as we have such a small period of time where we have them open - primarily August - September. In June/July we have pine pollen season and it is bad. Everything is yellow, even the lake. The rest of the year is too cold.
5 Likes   October 21, 2013 at 8:15AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
PRO
Lampert Dias Architects, Inc.
Excellent plan.......it should work very well.

Good luck with your interior remodel
0 Likes   October 21, 2013 at 8:19AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
pichimura
Thank you. I can't wait to start on the interior. Hope to get started next June. Have some big structural issues to tackle, but luckily have a very good friend who is a very reputable civil engineer in the area.
0 Likes   October 21, 2013 at 8:36AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
apple_pie_order
Good solid plan. Best wishes for raising the floor to the same level. It's wonderful getting rid of the step down.
1 Like   October 21, 2013 at 8:54AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
PRO
EasyTurf
Good morning, Pichimura - do you have any questions about EasyTurf? Can I set you up with a free design consultant?
Cheers!
George
1 Like   Thanked by pichimura    October 22, 2013 at 9:35AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
printesa
I found this ideabook and I thought it might be useful. From what I see, moss might work there since it is forest and shady
0 Likes   Thanked by pichimura    October 23, 2013 at 1:32PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
PRO
Envy Lawn
I agree with some of the other commentators about trying to do a "dog run" area close to the house with some artificial turf to help prevent tracking of forest leaves or dirt into the entry points of the house. You could possibly do some sort of fencing, so you do not have to remove the doggy doors. That's just my two cents. EnvyLawn offers two styles of pet turfs -- a 100% nylon composition and a yarn composite -- http://www.envylawn.com/pet-rec.php.
1 Like   November 15, 2013 at 2:50PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
dclostboy
Great plan...and love that you can actually make a decision...so hard for many people on here :)
1 Like   November 15, 2013 at 2:59PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
pichimura
Thanks dclostboy. So far I've laid 3200lbs of flagstone and that has already helped a lot, though I still have the harder task of leveling with a couple yards of sand that I had delivered. Funny, it took several days for the dogs to actually walk on the stones, they would walk around them (in the dirt) at first. I also built up the rock borders around the area where we will lay the lawn in the spring with larger rocks from around the yard to prevent further erosion/sloping. It's coming along, just waiting for the snow now, so I don't have to work in the yard until spring.
1 Like   November 15, 2013 at 4:11PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
apple_pie_order
3200 pounds of flagstone is a lot of work done. Any photos? With dogs, of course.
0 Likes   November 15, 2013 at 5:14PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
dclostboy
I just installed path lighting...tonight the dogs just barked at them...any change in routine :)
0 Likes   November 15, 2013 at 5:20PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
dclostboy
Wondering if I could build a bocce court using the artificial turf?
1 Like   November 15, 2013 at 5:22PM
Sign Up to comment
Related Discussions
need help with colour scheme for my sofa and living room!!! emergency
hi, please can you help me on my sofa!I love the sofa...
aprilbenson1
Emergency, possible husband flooring violation, HELP!!!
My husband and I are buying a house. It has medium,...
Rachel
mature garden emergency
Hi, my husband and I recently moved into this rental...
kwall19
Loving the art work. How do you guys go about new emerging artist?
info on possibly collating with this company heard...
dodoryetheartiste
Renovation Emergency! Please give flooring info!
Is this an Allure Home Depot product? What color?...
zschaer
More Discussions
Curb appeal nightmare
Curb appeal needed. This is the street facing view...
joannelit
Help my wall!
I was given these framed images by my grandfather who...
dolphinbaby
What's your favorite holiday dish?
Do you wait all year for the perfect latkes? Countdown...
Emily Hurley
Need help with window coverings
We just moved to the lake so the windows in the dining...
barbaraberg
need help with glued on mirrors
need help with glued on mirrors. I have a new builders...
suzym46
© 2014 Houzz Inc. Houzz® The new way to design your home™