Increasingly, more property owners have come to appreciate artificial grass for dogs as an alternative to natural grass surfaces. It offers low cost, low maintenance and continuous beauty over conventional grass surfaces, dirt, cement or gravel. In addition to the practical and aesthetic benefits of using synthetic turf, you can be assured that your dog will love the surface just as much as you, because it looks and feels just like real grass, but will not irritate, nick, cut or stick in your dog’s paws. Synthetic turf frees dog owners of the hassles of protecting natural grass, such as when grass dies or turns yellow from urine.
It’s important to take the time to learn about the proper selection and installation of a grass specifically designed for dogs. This article is written to equip you with the knowledge needed to identify and evaluate key features and criteria.
You will need some basic knowledge to help you with your due diligence and evaluation of the various products and options.
Evaluating Products and Options
Typically, the best artificial grass for dogs, are those with surfaces that have a drainage layer and a multi-layered backing material. The blades of grass have an impermeable plastic-like coating and stand above the infill material. The blades of grass are looped or stitched into a backing and kept in place with a liquid latex material that is hardened. The backing has weep holes that allow water and liquid pet waste to flow through to the base.
The infill refers to a top soil made of sand or other material, which provides stability, uniformity and strength to the product. Infill material options vary, but may include copper slag, silica sand, quartz core or deodorizer pellets. Discuss the various options with your supplier or landscaper, especially as it relates to odor control.
Other factors to consider:
- Quality backing – The material should allow for the aggressive drainage of water and pet urine. Knitted backings cost a bit more but offer superior draining. A strong blade/backing connection will allow water to pass through.
- Drainage capability – One of the most important concerns will be the drainage capability of your surface. Many installers will use a polyethylene or polypropylene product because in comparison to nylon, neither poly product absorbs moisture.
- Shorter blade/thatched layer – This option does not require an infill. The combination of the short blades with smaller curly layer of blades (thatches) allows solid waste to sit on the surface for easy location and removal.
- Antimicrobial product protection – This product inhibits the growth of bacteria, mold and mildew that can cause odors or staining.
Make sure that the backing or infill does not impede the flow of liquid or it will allow urine to lie on the surface and cause odors. Make sure that the grass is durable so that your pet is free to roam, romp, tumble and play freely.
Additional Benefits of Synthetic Turf
Besides artificial grass being a great option for dogs, it also eliminates the need to mow the lawn and is environmentally friendly. Synthetic grass cuts down on emissions from lawn mowers and does not require the use of pesticides or water. Here are a few of the other reasons so many pet owners are switching over to artificial grass:
- Eliminates maintenance like mowing, re-sodding, landscaping and re-seeding
- Reduces maintenance expenses
- Grass surfaces stay cleaner so dog paws don’t track soil, bugs, mud and other germs back into the house
- Reduces the presence of insects and allergens
With artificial grass, you can be assured of a beautiful green grass surface that is a natural fit for your dog’s play and bathroom areas.
Design and Installation
Hiring a professional installer ensures that your artificial grass will withstand the challenges that comes with active pets while minimizing any risk factors. The project starts with the design phase, which includes measurements, product selection and site preparation.
At this time the contractor will also determine if additional site work needs to be completed, such as grading, sloping, additional drains or modified drains.
Here are the three main stages of installation:
- Sub-base – drainage, slope and material.
- Prepared base – perimeter border, gravel and/or grid the artificial grass for dogs will cover.
- Apply artificial grass – cutting to fit, seaming, and securing.
The installer can also determine the work needed to prevent damage to the turf from rodents and animals after the installation has been completed. This phase also includes an assessment of the soil conditions to make sure it is not too hard or too wet before beginning the turf installation.
Take the time to do your research to ensure that the artificial grass you choose is optimal for dogs, including product reviews and warranties. And also be sure to check out the contractor’s references through Yelp and the local Better Business Bureau.
If you would like to learn more about installing artificial grass, check out the Do-It-Yourself Easy Install Guide.