We live in a house where nothing will grow but weeds in the backyard. We tried to overseed, we tried weed killers, we even put in new sod but we get nothing but weeds. Apparently our house is built on what used to be a part of Altona Forest so there is nothing to allow grass to grow. Every house on our side of the street seems to be in the same boat so all we can do is mow the weeds when they become too high. The other side of the street (the upper part of the slope) is like a carpet. We’ve even installed a french drain and had it regraded since the backyard was actually pooling water. My neighbour’s solution was to simply rip out all the grass and put in concrete everywhere. It looks good but I want some grass in my backyard and I’m also not 100% what he did is legal since I believe there has to be some ground cover. Do you have any solutions that can actually make our yard look somewhat like a normal backyard and not like a weed garden?
Thank you for contacting Toronto Master Gardeners.
I can understand your frustration with a weedy lawn.
There are many articles in our library on the topic of weedy lawns. I have included three below for your reading. Each also includes great links for further reading.
There are some details which would help with finding a solution to the problem.
- Is the location sunny or shady. Is the area exposed to elements? Different grasses are used in different situations.
- what types of weeds do you have. Are they annual or perennial weeds. Different weeds require different approaches and potentially different herbicides and schedules.
- Does the yard remain waterlogged or does it drain well? Did the drain you put in help?
- A soil test may help give you some ideas what is happening. This site lists accrediated labs to have your soil tested at. https://www.omafra.gov.on.ca/english/crops/resource/soillabs.htm
The best way to control weeds is with a thick lawn and you basically crowd out the weeds. The trick is getting to that thick lawn. Another thing to note is that every time you dig or rough up the soil you are exposing new weed seeds that are lying dormant in the yard. I agree that concrete is not necessarily the best solution as is does not allow absorption so changes the drainage of water during storms and creates runoff. This can lead to many other issues and water damage for you and your neighbours.
If you contact Landscape Ontario https://landscapeontario.com they maybe able to steer you towards someone who can come and assess your lawn and provide you with some workable solutions.