Building my last train layout, what do you train people use for ground cover. Before i used dyed saw dust that i had from the shop, i dyed it black, brown, green, yellow, different shades in all colors, worked great. I no longer have saw dust. The grass mats of different shades that i see on ebay are from China [ no thanks ] and can get expensive. I don`t want to just leave the green board showing every where.     Thanks....

WMfan  

Original Post

 I’ve been adding to mine for 30 years. The more real you want it. The more you will spend. The 2 things I’ve use a lot of for ground cover. Are free. Real dirt or soil from outside. Where there are an abundance of trees on the layout. During the fall gather up some leaves. Then grind them up in a blender. You seldom see nice manicured  grass growing by the tracks or in the woods.

I probably have twenty peanut butter jars full of various materials that I have accumulated for use as ground cover, The trick is to (literally) mix it up. Contrast and variability is the key.

Off the top of my head:

sand; real dirt; sawdust; aquarium gravel; peat moss (one of my favorites); those brown things that fall from trees in the spring; dried crushed leaves;  bits of sponge; ground foam; sifted "tube sand"; coffee grounds; bits of bark; artificial coal; chalk dust; shredded lichen; tiny twigs...

...and, my absolute favorite: The random crap that I scraped up from my last layout.

What I used are indoor outdoor carpet in brown and green

and coffee grounds dried and sifted. Then painted worked ok on areas around track don’t know about bigger areas

Dave_C posted:

 I’ve been adding to mine for 30 years. The more real you want it. The more you will spend. The 2 things I’ve use a lot of for ground cover. Are free. Real dirt or soil from outside. Where there are an abundance of trees on the layout. During the fall gather up some leaves. Then grind them up in a blender. You seldom see nice manicured  grass growing by the tracks or in the woods.

Thanks, i have plenty of both i can use, never thought of grinding up leaves, that`s interesting..

Avanti posted:

I probably have twenty peanut butter jars full of various materials that I have accumulated for use as ground cover, The trick is to (literally) mix it up. Contrast and variability is the key.

Off the top of my head:

sand; real dirt; sawdust; aquarium gravel; peat moss (one of my favorites); those brown things that fall from trees in the spring; dried crushed leaves;  bits of sponge; ground foam; sifted "tube sand"; coffee grounds; bits of bark; artificial coal; chalk dust; shredded lichen; tiny twigs...

...and, my absolute favorite: The random crap that I scraped up from my last layout.

Now that`s a good list, thanks..

train steve posted:

What I used are indoor outdoor carpet in brown and green

and coffee grounds dried and sifted. Then painted worked ok on areas around track don’t know about bigger areas

One thing for sure, i can accumulate a lot of coffee grounds.. Thanks 

I dug a 5 gallon bucket of sand out of a creek bed.  ( western Colorado ) Let it dry and ran it through a cheap kitchen sieve.   The top of my benchwork is covered with celotex painted earth brown.  Brush on a white glue / water mix, sprinkle on the sand.   On top of that Woodland Scenics turf. 

IMG_6660

Steve

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How real do you want it?  For the Toy Train look, go with grass-colored mats or indoor/outdoor carpeting.  For the realistic train look, use a variety of materials both natural (free) and purchased.

308

This little N-scale diorama above was built using pink foam, and earthy-colored flat latex house paint, ground foams in a variety of colors and grinds (fine, medium, coarse, Woodland Scenics), deciduous trees made from natural weeds, pine trees made from toothpicks, wooden dowels, and furnace filter materials, and tree bark material from my own front yard.  N-scale, O-gauge, everything in between, and smaller or larger to boot, not a big deal - it all works.  The picture doesn't do it justice - it looks really great in person.

If you like the looks of this, along with other poster's work, dive right in and do it.  The more variety, the better!!!   

Attachments

Images (1)
Steve24944 posted:

I dug a 5 gallon bucket of sand out of a creek bed.  ( western Colorado ) Let it dry and ran it through a cheap kitchen sieve.   The top of my benchwork is covered with celotex painted earth brown.  Brush on a white glue / water mix, sprinkle on the sand.   On top of that Woodland Scenics turf. 

IMG_6660

Steve

Looks great, thanks for the information..

 

Mixed Freight posted:

How real do you want it?  For the Toy Train look, go with grass-colored mats or indoor/outdoor carpeting.  For the realistic train look, use a variety of materials both natural (free) and purchased.

308

This little N-scale diorama above was built using pink foam, and earthy-colored flat latex house paint, ground foams in a variety of colors and grinds (fine, medium, coarse, Woodland Scenics), deciduous trees made from natural weeds, pine trees made from toothpicks, wooden dowels, and furnace filter materials, and tree bark material from my own front yard.  N-scale, O-gauge, everything in between, and smaller or larger to boot, not a big deal - it all works.  The picture doesn't do it justice - it looks really great in person.

If you like the looks of this, along with other poster's work, dive right in and do it.  The more variety, the better!!!   

I really like it, thanks for the information..

WM fan posted:
Steve24944 posted:

I dug a 5 gallon bucket of sand out of a creek bed.  ( western Colorado ) Let it dry and ran it through a cheap kitchen sieve.   The top of my benchwork is covered with celotex painted earth brown.  Brush on a white glue / water mix, sprinkle on the sand.   On top of that Woodland Scenics turf. 

IMG_6660

Steve

Looks great, thanks for the information..

 

What did you use for ballast? Thanks..

WM fan posted:
WM fan posted:
Steve24944 posted:

I dug a 5 gallon bucket of sand out of a creek bed.  ( western Colorado ) Let it dry and ran it through a cheap kitchen sieve.   The top of my benchwork is covered with celotex painted earth brown.  Brush on a white glue / water mix, sprinkle on the sand.   On top of that Woodland Scenics turf. 

IMG_6660

Steve

Looks great, thanks for the information..

 

What did you use for ballast? Thanks..

My ballast comes from nature.  Here in western Colorado we have these large ant hills, like 2-3 feet in diameter. The ants are great sorters, and bring up these large grains, pebbles.  I scoop up the material into buckets ( sorry ants ) bring it home, run it through a sieve.  After track is laid, I add the wood ties, then apply my ballast.  I use tweezers to pick out the junk and oversized grains, then apply white glue/water mix.

Steve

Steve24944 posted:
WM fan posted:
WM fan posted:
Steve24944 posted:

I dug a 5 gallon bucket of sand out of a creek bed.  ( western Colorado ) Let it dry and ran it through a cheap kitchen sieve.   The top of my benchwork is covered with celotex painted earth brown.  Brush on a white glue / water mix, sprinkle on the sand.   On top of that Woodland Scenics turf. 

IMG_6660

Steve

Looks great, thanks for the information..

 

What did you use for ballast? Thanks..

My ballast comes from nature.  Here in western Colorado we have these large ant hills, like 2-3 feet in diameter. The ants are great sorters, and bring up these large grains, pebbles.  I scoop up the material into buckets ( sorry ants ) bring it home, run it through a sieve.  After track is laid, I add the wood ties, then apply my ballast.  I use tweezers to pick out the junk and oversized grains, then apply white glue/water mix.

Steve

OK, well that`s out, we have a lot of ants in Florida, but they only bring up sand, and i can get sand anywhere here. My other layout i used chicken grit, comes in three different sizes, kind of hard to find here, when i lived in Delaware [ chicken country ] it was no problem.

Thank you for your reply..

Hearl

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