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Original Message Neglected back yard
Your wish will not be immediately granted unfortunately. It may take a couple of years to get anything you are pleased with. First off is cleaning out the less left behind (Been-there-done-that.). Then check out the tree. It may need some bottom limbs and some others trimmed away which could provide more sun for a real grass lawn. But they do make a mix for shade which you may have to resort to. Establishing a sturdy lawns may take a couple of years. Several ground covers are "durable", but they all have their problems. Remember that any viney ground cover could make people trip and fall. Also remember that almost all ground covers could "get away" and become nuisances after a while, taking over areas you had not planned on them being a part of. Check what condition the dirt is under your tree by taking samples to your University Extension agent office for free analysis. If you want plants around the tree, remember that if it is a walnut you will have problems finding plants that will exist under the tree. Walnuts exude a poison that will kill many plants. Identify the tree first and trim to give additional sun exposure; analyze the soil next; then make your plan from there. If you want to BBQ right off the bat and work of the greenery problem later, till up the old ground and smooth it out the best you can then build yourself a gravel area for the BBQ retained by blocks to set the BBQ on. That way you can enjoy your BBQ and spend your extra time working on whatever you decide to cover the yard in.

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