New wooded lot, I'm lost
Central AR, 7b
We moved here in October, bought 10 acres like we've always wanted to, but for our 'yard' area, I'm lost on what I should do. I've attached a picture.
We have a lot of pines, and I want to keep as many trees as I can. I don't want to invest too much money (I have plenty of time though), because it's my hopes to build a house further back on our property in 5-10 years, right now we're probably 100ft from the road. I've all but decided grass will not work with the pines, I'll have patches at best, it's very hot in the summers, those pines don't provide much shade, they're only 15 years old roughly. I also have more rock it seems than dirt, pebbles to fist size to basketball size, not a spot in the yard you can put a shovel more than an inch or two w/o hitting them.
I thought about grass/clover/wildflower mix, like a meadow, but we have 3 dogs, I'll assume that won't work either. I like the idea of it looking foresty, native species, no real maintaince, anything to get rid of the mud and prevent washouts, most of the property is a slight hill.
We moved from western WA, so I have visions in my head of a bunch of ferns and other plants all around under those pines, but I'm not sure what to put there that'll work in this heat and dry dry summers. I also wouldn't mind something similar to ivy just to cover it all up, but with this much area, I'm worried about mice, snakes, etc. Thinking about some type of groundcover. It wouldn't be so bad if it was all covered in shedding pine bark and needles, maybe in 20 more years when the trees are big enough, but now, just mud, mud and rock.
The backyard is the same, though less trees in the "yard" area.
Most of that green in the photo are briars (I believe), some spots of grass, some clover. There's no way I can till it, it's too large to buy qt size plants. I have thought about walking around my property to find plants, I'll see what's here soon when it warms up. The rest is all wooded, a lot of thorny vines, misc vines, everywhere. You can't walk through any of it.