By Angie Hicks
If you want a dog and a lush lawn, you’re not out of luck.
Dog urine can damage grass, but highly rated experts in lawn care, landscaping and dog training tell our team that there are several ways your pet and your property can coexist:
Change your habits: The cheapest and easiest way to reduce doggie damage is to hose down and dilute urine right after the dog relieves itself. Then, commit to re-seeding damaged areas of grass as needed.
Change your yard: A top dog trainer says his grass is better able to withstand the effects of multiple dogs when he maintains a 4-inch height and applies organic fertilizer.
Another option, if your dog uses a specific area of the yard, is to cover the grass with pea gravel or artificial turf.
Artificial grass costs about $1.50 to $5 a square foot. Pick a higher density option with a nonporous backing. Choose polypropylene or polyethylene over nylon because poly products won’t absorb moisture and will drain better. Using crushed granite as a base material under the turf will also help with drainage. For infill, use silica sand or another product that won’t absorb odor.
Change your dog: Many dogs can be trained to urinate and defecate in a designated spot. It may take four to six weeks of effort. Flag off a sizeable portion of lawn to create a large target zone to start. Leash your pet and take it to that area every time it has to go. Always clean up after the dog. Over time, as the pet responds, gradually shrink the flagged-off area to your preferred size. Eventually, you won’t need the flags; the dog will know the boundaries.
Get the scoop before hiring: If solid waste in the yard is your concern, consider outsourcing cleanup duty. Besides garnering positive online recommendations, a reliable “pooper scooper” business should be able to provide you with a cost estimate, often based on the size of your yard, the size of your dog(s) and frequency of service.
Angie Hicks is the founder of Angie’s List, a resource for consumer reviews on home repair and health care.