My kids would probably be fine with me keeping the area as a giant muddy play area, but I needed a solution that was a little more ascetically pleasing. Last spring I mulched the area. It looked nice, but rainstorms would push piles of mulch around the corner of the house and into my shade garden.
So I tilled/dug/pick-axed it up the best I could:
|the BEFORE picture|
|the AFTER picture|
|dry pond and plants|
Last night we had a large rainstorm, and I was delighted to see that the pond actually worked in capturing the water. In fact it even overflowed just a little bit - I might have to make my pond a little larger so that mulch won't wash into the pond!
|With all the rain, the pond overflowed a bit, washing some mulch out from the edges|