I am renovating an older home and I don't know when I am going to actually have time to get into the backyard and do any work, but now that we have a great view of it from our new kitchen windows, I am giving it some real thought. My problem is that we have a HUGE asphalt pad that covers most of our backyard. It extends the entire width of the backyard, but doesn't take up the entire depth. It is a huge eyesore and if money were no object, I would probably just have the entire thing dug up and plan a nice stone patio or something, but unfortunately, money is always an problem when there are 50 other things that really need to be fixed. I would like to hear some thoughts on my options. I would like to remove at least a strip of this myself along one side of the property for planting, but want to know if this is harder or easier to remove than concrete. I don't think that I can live with the asphalt surface, but what are my options for going over it with something else and what are the pros and cons. Can I put a concrete pad over it and stain it? What about brick, stone, etc. One of my neighbors suggested a few inches of soil, and then planting some type of grass/moss on top of it, but I think that is probably a stupid idea. And because of the footprint of my house, there is a section that juts out from the back of the house and the asphalt extends right up to the foundation at that point. On one side of the back of the house, there are several feet of 'yard' between the house and the asphalt. And cost is a factor, so I would like to know what is my cheapest real option. If I can cover this stuff up somehow, I am sure that I could make it look nice with a sitting area, a bunch of potted plants, etc. I might also like to brick(?) in a small above-ground pond at some point. I would greatly appreciate any thoughts/experience on this. I have been reading home improvement magazines for years and have not seen anything that comes close to addressing this problem. Thanks!