muddy lawn solutions - help!
My husband and I have just moved into a new home. The backyard and porch are so wonderful. I am having lots of fun figuring out what to do with it. But, we have a problem with the grassy area because of our two boxer dogs. The grass area is becoming a mud factory and in North Carolina we have red mud which stains everything and especially carpet! We plan to get rid of the carpet but we would still like to solve the muddy issues.
The yard is so shady that grass doesn't grow well and the dogs just tear it up. I have pictures of the area I am talking about. My idea was to add another natural area and then we could stone in some paths around the yard. I think that we could cover up everything that way and we wouldn't need to have any grass or mud. I am open to ideas if someone can come up with a better plan. So any ideas?
Before you start designing things let me give some other useful information. We are trying to do this on a small budget, can take months to do it, not very worried about resale cause we plan to stay a lonnnnng lonnng time and we can only do small amounts of labor due to age and health.
Any ideas? If we do my plan how would I do the edging for the next natural area? I was thinking stones like we have around the edge. Would I have to try to dig up some of the yard to get the stones to stay and lay flat? NC mud is almost impossible to dig in, got suggestions?
Thanks so much for any help.