What should i plant in the sunny part of my lawn

So, first, this is a high traffic area. It’s where we walk to get from the house to the patio, from the house to the mulch/compost pile, and where my husband walks when he walks around the house for exercise. So i can’t put trees or bushes there. :cry:

So i want a lawn. It doesn’t have to be turf grass, but it needs to be something that stays low, that i can mow, and that’s comfortable to walk on. And that won’t be killed by foot traffic. Oh, and that helps keep down the mud in the spring.

The area is sunny and slopes gently. It used to have grass until construction killed it years ago. But it must have been something a little unusual, because an arborist once asked me what it was. The soil isn’t terribly well drained, and gets muddy in the spring. I tried aerating it, renting some huge noisy machine, but i got exhausted and the rocky soil didn’t yield much.

Shadier parts of my lawn grow an assortment of fine fescues and white clover. Even shadier parts grow a mix of grasses and moss and nut sedge. And one part has been overrun with whatever this is

Which seems nice enough.

I’ve tried clover on this patch, but it tends to die in the August drought. (It’s often a little droughty here is August, sometimes we have a real drought.) And i don’t mind if the lawn goes brown, but i don’t want to be watering lawn during a drought. I’ve tried the same fine fescues that are happily growing in partial shade, but they haven’t thrived. I’d try again if anyone has suggestions of specific strains to try. I often get crab grass and purslane (and taller stuff) as the season progresses, but they leave the area bare and mud-prone in the spring, and i really dislike purslane, for no rational reason, but would like to at least feel neutral towards whatever grows there.

Any suggestions?

Try it again. White Dutch Clover. Its bulletproof here and in time chokes out all weeds. Sew it now. When it blooms and reseeds mow it high and spread that free seed out well… do that for a couple of seasons and you have a winner that is a nitrogen fixer as well as pollinator forage.

I planted a lot of white clover last fall, and it never really took off. The clover i planted in the front lawn in the spring for much better. But i am looking for other options.

My neighbor planted thyme to replace his front lawn. South facing full sun. It is surprisingly nice looking now it’s grown in. And it never droughted out dead in the summer despite never once being watered. The only bad thing I can say is the stepable thyme he used has absolutely zero value as a culinary spice. It is odorless and terpless in scent and flavor.

He cardboarded over the grass and just seeded over it with a stepable seed mix and a sprinkle of cheap yard of soil dropped by the garden store.

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Hmm, my thyme patch is actually creeping into that area. The stuff that spreads isn’t great to eat, but it smells nice. I wonder if it would hold up to the fit traffic.

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So, i bought some creeping thyme seed. Any advice on when to plant it, or how?

The instructions say to start it indoors and transplant after it’s fairly large. But that seems like an awful lot of work, and seed is cheap. Maybe if i fail with just planting it…

Anyway, the ground is friable, so i took about a third of my seed, mixed it well with cornmeal, and spread it. Then i thought i should pull up some weeds, so i did that, and then i stepped firmly on the ground to tamp it down.

But unless it needs to be chilled, first, now is probably not the best time. So I’m reaching out to y’all for advice on when to plant the rest.

Zone 6, Eastern MA.


Resulting soil after weeding

Tamped down