Hello! My brother is moving to an apartment in a busy area of Ann Arbor, MI. He will be moving in on September first, 2013. He has free-reign of a rather large (for a rental apartment) outdoor patio space, and we have been told he can do almost anything he wants to with it. Currently the ground is covered by what I think is astroturf, and I don't know what is underneath it, but whatever it is CAN be dug up, into, or even replaced. The space is shaded by a balcony, a pine tree, and a privacy fence. He will be there throughout the fall, winter, spring, and part of next summer. Although it is a temporary arrangement, he would really like to take advantage of this space. Our concerns are as follows: A) Not spending a lot of money, B) Making this area usable for entertaining, and C) Managing/cleaning a constant barrage of pine needles. We are both totally new to gardening and/or landscaping. Any suggestions would be GREATLY appreciated!!
I would scroung for used materials like used bricks or pavers or something like that...put them down...low maintenance! Try Craig's list or free cycle in your area...see what might be out there that is cheap or free!
"The soil is the source of life, creativity, culture and real independence." David Ben-Gurion
Its a rather confined space isn't it....and I cant believe the ground there is covered in "Astro Turf"....the cost of such would be prohibitive.
The drainage of the area should be looked at...there's nothing worse than sitting outdoors where the ground under you is a quagmire.
I imagine if the area doesn't have a drain, that is what you are looking at.
If you remove the artificial turf what do you plan on replacing it with. Certainly grass wont grow there. Hence the reason the former resident tried to make it look like grass.
Make a patio with tile might work---if it drains well.
Being so shady it looks like the sun is not going to be an influence on drying the area out.
Without destroying the tree, the lower branches--the ones that are dropping those needles outside your door--might be pruned back....or removed completely. Check with our landlord whether you can do it)
Anything you can do to admit more sunlight might be tried.
(don't knock down the wall---while it might give you more freedom to move around in, I suppose it is part of the building)
But it is a big reason why the area is shaded, then add what the tree does, you are looking at being able to go outside and never worry about sunburn.
Oh well, you Wolverines can spend it in the stands watching Ohio State beat up on you!...LOL.
dump the turf, go for a smooth stone (better drainage) invest in some plastic stackable chairs, and a hibachi...(small portable bbq)I've posted one from taget, but both lowes and hd carry them (look asap, cause by sept they'll be gone)
decorate for the season...run off banners for temp or if you can invest in school "M", oct pumpkins, and of course string lights for Christmas...warning on the grill keep a tight watch on it and be sure it's out before going to bed...one kid with too much to drink...ouch!
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