Worried about ticks and Lyme disease in your own backyard? Instead of dousing the yard with chemical sprays or avoiding it altogether, try this one thing: Use gravel. Ticks are fond of soft surfaces like grass and leaves, not rough surfaces like wood chips and gravel. By placing a trail of gravel between your outdoor entertaining area and where ticks may reside, you create a natural barrier that keeps them far away. It's a simple, chemical-free way of keeping those bloodsuckers away from you.