Out of extreme desperation, I am considering planting English Ivy in place of grass in my back yard.
My desperation is due to planting grass for the past 4 years and watching it do wonderfully when it starts out, then slowly die as the season progresses. Last year, out of the same desperation, I planted Dutch White Clover, because it was said to be very hardy, I had the same experience. The die back is due to:
Very poor soil, not easily tilled and amended due to millions of small stones throughout (previous owner did it, long story). The soil compacts severely and the grass just can't breath and water makes the problem worse. I have considered bringing in new top soil, but this is going to be a huge challenge because of the distance between the front of my house and back.
I also have a shade issue, which I believe is not the main one, but still one to be dealt with. After the past four years of disaster, I'm not sure any type of grass will work even if I do all of the back breaking work of bringing in new soil.
I live in a neighborhood where there is lots of English Ivy growing, it is doing very well in areas where I really don't want it, and I do keep it under control. I know that control is an issue, and I do plan on keeping it confined as long as I own the house.
I have beautiful border gardens that do not look their best with all of the grass/bare dirt areas where the lawn should be.
Any suggestions or thoughts would be appreciated. I am concerned about planting E.I., because it is so evasive.