How to fix a muddy backyard dog trail in 5 easy ways

how to fix a muddy backyard dog trail small dog on green lawn

Noticed a muddy backyard dog trail in your yard? How can you fix it without spending hundreds of dollars, knowing that it will probably happen again? We share some tips and advice for how to fix a muddy backyard dog trail without overstretching your budget.

How to fix a muddy backyard dog trail in 5 easy ways

Here’s a list of how to fix a muddy backyard dog trail:

-Regrow the patchy lawn

-Turn the muddy trail into a new path

-Replant your entire lawn

-Mulch your backyard instead of having a lawn

-Concrete your entire backyard

Find the root cause of the muddy trail

A patchy lawn caused by a dog trail is quite common for pet owners, and becomes more of a problem during winter and tropical wet seasons, when rain causes lawn patches to turn into muddy mush that exacerbates your patchy lawn problem.

Before deciding on how to fix a muddy backyard dog trail, figure out exactly what’s causing it and try to fix that first. By just focusing on repairing your lawn or garden, you’re most likely to run into the same problem in future. You’re effectively throwing money down the drain.

Here are some typical causes of your muddy backyard dog trail (how many of these apply to you?):

Heavy foot traffic

If you watch how your dog behaves when she’s running outside, you might notice that she prefers running or being in the same parts of your yard. Everyone has their favorite part of their home, and dogs are no different when it comes to the outdoors.

Solution- Accept that this is a behavioural issue and not something you can easily fix. Take your dog for neighborhood walks or to the local dog park for more exercise so that she’s less likely to be as active when at home. This depends on your dog breed, of course!

how to fix a muddy backyard dog trail small dog on green lawn

Watering your lawn

This more likely occurs in the summer when you’re watering your lawn due to the lack of rain and the heat. If you let your dog on your lawn soon after watering, he’s more likely to turn some of the patches of lawn into mud. Going back to the behaviour of running in the same patterns, this leads to a muddy trail.

Solution- Water your lawn at times when your dog is asleep, such as late at night. Keep your dog indoors until the lawn isn’t so wet.

Your kids, not your dog

While you might think you’re dealing with how to fix a muddy backyard dog trail, if you have kids who play in the backyard then they may be the cause of your problems, not your dog.

Kids who ride their bikes in their backyard may ride on the same path or in the same sections of the yard. This wears out your lawn and when you add your pooch to the mix, it’s no wonder there’s a muddy trail out there!

Solution- Create a new trail such as a concrete or paver path for your kids to ride their bikes on.

Lack of sunlight

There’s bound to be an area of your lawn that doesn’t get much sunlight. This leads to lower rate of growth and a patchy lawn. Without good ground cover, you end up with muddy patches especially in areas where your pooch loves to run and play.

Solution- Remove any shady areas by trimming trees and bushes to allow more sun onto the lawn. Or turn shady areas of your yard into a garden area with flowers and shrubs that grow in low light.

Muddy backyard dog trail solutions

Now that you’ve thought about the root cause of the muddy trail problem, it’s time to look at potential solutions on how to fix a muddy backyard dog trail.

We’ll start with some budget-friendly options then move onto more expensive solutions if you’re willing to spend the money.

Re-grow your patchy lawn

If you’d prefer to still have a lawn in your backyard, then you’ll want to regrow the grass in the muddy trail.

The most cost-effective method is by planting lawn seed in the muddy trail.

Prior to sprinkling the seed, prepare the area by ensuring the ground is at the same level as the rest of the lawn. If the muddy trail is lower, then top it up with some fresh soil.

After sprinkling the seed, the area needs to be roped off so that your pooch (and other animals such as birds) don’t invade the area and ruin your work.

how to fix a muddy backyard dog trail

Create a new yard path

Creating a path out of gravel, pavers or concrete is a lovely way to add some depth to your yard design as well as getting rid of the eyesore that is the muddy dog trail.

Gravel is the cheapest solution, however you need to think about the size of the gravel you want to use. Gravel can get messy as it ends up in other areas of your hard, and if you like walking barefoot outside, it can be a real pain!

Another good option is pavers or concrete. You can choose pavers that suit the overall design and theme of your yard. Concrete can also be colored or textured so that it doesn’t look drab and boring.

Replant your entire lawn

If your muddy backyard dog trail is too big for a lawn seed job, then you could replant your entire lawn instead.

Starting again is more expensive but if the current lawn isn’t a pet-friendly grass, you could choose a more hardy lawn to plant and end up saving yourself money and heartache in the long run.

Remove the existing lawn by using a digger or other heavy-duty equipment to rip up the grass. Level the surface so that it is nice and even, before choosing your method for a new lawn.

We recommend laying rolled turf. This is more expensive than using seed but because the grass is already somewhat established, it’s much easier and less prone to being ruined by birds and pets.

What to look for when choosing a dog-friendly lawn

Before picking a type of grass to grow, it’s a good idea to think about the following aspects.

Fast growing lawn

Let’s face it, whatever lawn type you have, it’s going to suffer damage at some point. That’s why it’s a good idea to choose a fast-growing lawn that can recover from damage quickly.

Lawn with deep roots

Choosing a lawn type with deep roots helps prevent damage from your dog. I your dog loves to dig, they may be discouraged from digging if the grass has deep roots. The stronger grass also suffers less if you overwater your lawn or if there’s heavy rain.

Lawn that matches your climate

Consider the climate you live in and pick the most suitable grass. You don’t want a lawn that’s stressed due to lack of rain or a lawn that doesn’t grow well because of a lack of sun. Some grass grows better in cool climates while other types only grow in warmer months.

Dog-friendly lawn options

The following types of grass are great for yards with pets:

Perennial ryegrass

Kentucky bluegrass




how to fix a muddy backyard dog trail

Mulch your backyard

If getting rid of your lawn is something you’re interested in, you could mulch your backyard instead.

This is great especially if your kids have outdoor equipment such as slides and trampolines. Mulch can be a good way to cushion any falls.

You can choose mulch in a color that will suit your yard.

Before adding mulch, you will need to rip up your lawn and prepare the surface by laying down some special landscaping plastic. This prevents weeds growing.

You might need to top up the mulch every couple of years as it tends to wear out or sink into your soil.

Concrete your backyard

If you’re at your wits end and have already tried replanting your lawn before and it hasn’t helped, then concreting most or all of your backyard might be a solution.

Concreting your yard does cut out the need to maintain a lawn, which we all know takes a lot of time and effort. It also allows you to use the space in different ways- you might set up an outdoor entertainment area or even an outdoor kitchen! That outdoor spa idea is starting to sound nice!

One final word

If you’re a garden enthusiast and a dog lover, there’s nothing trickier than trying to keep both loves of your life living in harmony.

Dogs love to play out in the backyard and many love to destroy gardens and lawns and make mess indoors, usually unintentionally, while playing.

How to fix a muddy backyard dog trail? In a nutshell, pick the solution that’s going to suit your needs long-term if you have the budget. This will allow you to enjoy your backyard and still let your dog do what he loves to do most- play!


By Christine Carlisle

Christine is a freelance senior writer for Home Health Living and has been writing for us for 4 years. She's a health copywriter with over 10 years experience as a writer. Christine lives alone in a cabin in Maine and was once a hand model while living in New York City. She's a dog person.