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We need help with budget friendly ideas to fix sandy backyard area

last year
last modified: last year

Hi! We always knew our backyard ground covering wasn't grass, but never thought our two pups' active lifestyle would make it disappear completely, leaving us with a giant patch of dirt that's mainly sand. The dogs drag so much of it inside the house it's getting out of hand. Our neighbor just got pavers installed and it looks fabulous, but there is no way we want to spend that much money, not to mention our area has in ground trees. Size is approximately 30'x15' but not necessarily rectangular, and spans from our back porch steps (back porch covers the entrance to our crawl space, by the way) to a wooden fence on the left, and includes a dining table set, and a grill that's currently sitting on a pallet. Should we border the area, fill with mulch and lay a few large pavers to step through? Is that a disaster waiting to happen with the dogs? The area isn't currently leveled as the pups love to run around the table and dig. We aren't afraid to do work but just don't know where to start. Thank you!
Edited to add: we are in West Central Florida (Tampa Bay Area). Video of the area here:

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