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What are your thoughts on either grass or turf when it comes to having dog/s?

I bought a house that had turf in the backyard and I had to remove and replace it with natural grass ASAP. The turf became too hot for my dogs paws. The urine smell was hard to get rid of and cleaning it wasn’t easy. Now I have natural grass and it’s usually brown or patchy. It’s been 2years and my yard has never been fully green even after buying and trying to maintain fresh sod. This year I might hire a landscaper to see if they can upkeep it. I even took the advice of a horticulturist which didn’t help for the natural grass. The park next to us always has dogs running around and that grass remains thick and green. Maybe I’ll contact the city and ask what’s their secret. Thoughts on turf versus natural?
 

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Ok in mh world "turf" means natural grass. As I translate this post, I think you are talking about artificial turf. I wouldn't have it. Right now my lawn's a soggy brownish/greenish/yellowish mess -- like a shag carpet that was trashed. The green in my lawn is a lot of plantain and black medic and dandelion - some blades of grass, yes but plenty of the other stuff. I contemplated weed&feed but I like to be able to have my dogs on it a lot of the time and in summer I turn the horse loose to dry off after a bath. Couldn't do that with chemicals on the lawn.


I had nice grass in my lawn in Arkansas. Then I got a puppy. It was a large yard but she managed to "thatch" the grass. So there are my thoughts and my experience. Natural grass. Artificial turf -- is just junk.
 

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With respect to the turf at the park, not all dog breeds tear up lawn like a german shepherd. The city probably water the park's grass each night. I've thought about artificial turf and have decided against it, for the reasons you said, and a few more. I limit high impact playing with my dog (frisbee) to one area of my yard, it looks terrible. It's either dust or mud.

I'm considering landscaping the frisbee area to look like a natural riverbed, with appropriate plants along the perimeter.
 

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Having a nice yard is a struggle for many of us. I call what I have in my yard, "ground cover". For me, to try to maintain a beautiful lush grass lawn would be a waste of time and money and water, especially since we haven't ended the hunting of moles and voles (big yard). I have actually given up trying to grow grass under my shade trees. I have mulched under there with the fall leaves (chopped and shredded) and then shaved pine chips. Who knows, with all the rain we have been having the grass might actually like this. Part of my yard is mossy, which I personally like if it can hold up to the abuse for running paws.

I know that some companies have designed artificial turf for dog owners but I would only consider that for small spaces or maybe on a steep hill where cutting grass or "ground cover" would be difficult.
 

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I hope to have a fairly nice looking lawn for the first time since becoming a GSD owner. I am going to fence off half of the yard for the dogs. The rest will be for my (and my guests') enjoyment... :D
 

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No advice--I'm trying to let the conservancy behind me expand into my back yard, b/c it should not even be grass. My sister had 2 coonhounds in her yard in FL and no amount of care saved it. If you are really frustrated, consider an internal fence for a "dog free zone" and landscape that to your heart's delight. Or, limit the time your dogs are in the yard--act as though you don't have a yard and get their exercise as other folks without a fenced yard must do. I'm relieved that this is one thing I just don't care about, b/c I'd get all twitchy if I did. Good luck and sorry I'm no help.
 

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Having a nice yard is a struggle for many of us. I call what I have in my yard, "ground cover". For me, to try to maintain a beautiful lush grass lawn would be a waste of time and money and water, especially since we haven't ended the hunting of moles and voles (big yard). I have actually given up trying to grow grass under my shade trees. I have mulched under there with the fall leaves (chopped and shredded) and then shaved pine chips. Who knows, with all the rain we have been having the grass might actually like this. Part of my yard is mossy, which I personally like if it can hold up to the abuse for running paws.

I know that some companies have designed artificial turf for dog owners but I would only consider that for small spaces or maybe on a steep hill where cutting grass or "ground cover" would be difficult.

I agree it's a yearly battle...the more dogs you have = bigger battle....younger/active dogs = bigger/ constant battle...if you have moles/ voles & dogs who love to dig = bigger battle....I started grass from nothing where we live and it took around five years to start to look like something worth talking about....with LOTS of seeding--aerating --de-thatching--fertilizing and over seeding thrown in over time---basically just like a "perfect dog" lots of time and effort....this year for me the back yard with the monsoon we've had---is a mud bog--so I have my work cut out for me.


In your case I'm not sure how much help you'll get from the city-probably depend on luck AND who you talk to.....try contacting a college near you usually with "Tech" :smile2: in their name--many will analyze a soil sample that you send them and give you a report of what you need to add to your soil to make it "healthier" for growing...or as you said a reputable & professional landscaping company should be able to help you....I've always enjoyed doing it myself...again just like the "perfect dog" it can be very satisfying .
 

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I had somewhere between 3 and 9 shepherds for years. My lawn looked great but here is what I learned.
I used a Kentucky bluegrass mix for its weed resistance and found that golf courses are a great source of info for what will fare well in your area. I watered. A fair bit because healthy grass stands up if it's struggling the dogs will trash it. Healthy soil is a must. I also re seeded at least once a year. Just spread the seed over the lawn.
I also raised my mower height. Not enough to attract mosquitoes but high enough to prevent summer heat burning up the grass.
 

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I'm ready to give up on grass and just naturalize the backyard with hardy, dog-friendly native plants ....it will probably better for the collapsing beneficial insect populations and less work once established...I hope.


One of the secrets of "perfect" lawns is that some of those lawn services actually spray green coloring on them to make them look fresh each week. Seriously. My mom had a service called chem-lawn or something like that doing that at her house. She had a good sense of humor about it -- her technicolor lawn.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Hmm I like the idea of the wood chips used in playgrounds that someone mentioned. I would like greenery but if we decide to sell then I could always get some nice grass put in for appeal.
 

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It's a challenge with 1 GSD, and downright near impossible with multiple GSDs, once the chase games begin. :)

Depending on where you live, you can look into different groundcover blends that are hardier than grass. At my last house, I let vetch & clover take over. From a distance, it looks green, and it's just fine to walk on. The areas that took the worst beating, I gave up on lawn and mulched with shredded bark.

Poa supina ("poa") is a grass that is gaining popularity in some areas including mine, because it's tough, and spreads aggressively. It outperforms bluegrass and fescues by a long shot. You need to check with a good local nursery-person or landscape architect to see if it's allowed in your area, and where to get it.

ETA - I strongly recommend steering clear of artificial turf, there's growing evidence & proof that it sheds microplastics/microfibers. Not only do these end up inside your dogs and your own bod, they wreak havoc on soil structure and end up accumulating in our waterways.
 

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They replaced our local soccer fields with artificial turf, and some people were getting headaches.
Apparently under hot sun, in warm weather, the turf was "outgassing" some chemicals...pretty scary.

Here we have some native grasses that are incredibly tough and will grow/spread no matter what the conditions. One example is Bermuda grass. Gardening with native grasses and native plants will save you on watering...
and they will be more likely to survive tough conditions (like running dog feet...:)
 

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Where do you live? In the winter time my yard is a muddy mess but any other season the grass and other low lying native plants take off. It is very lush here though. I have a small fenced in area for the dogs to go out and potty, it’s not really big enough for them to get tearing around. Then my front yard has suffered a bit but it’s also been extraordinarily wet and rainy this winter, I try to take them to different areas to play so not one part gets used to the point of a mud pit. Kind of like rotating pastures when you have horses. I absolutely wouldn’t have anything artificial, for reasons listed above and also I have ducks that free range during daylight hours.
 

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I want to check out the pota supina - I was watering the grass after they held it in all night but that did not last. During winter and early spring days it’s can be muddy after a rain. I was watching my nephew a few weekends ago who likes to make mud lol! Quite a mess the boys were having fun. Quite a clean up and max jumped on my bed with his muddy paws aack. Longing for the thick green grass that was once there.
 

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We have both! We splurged on a dog run installed with artificial turf specifically for pets (it stays cooler here in the summer, which is vital here in NC) that wraps in an L-shape around a corner of our house and opens into our much bigger fenced backyard. The dogs are trained to pee and poop in the run, and the yard (with real grass) is reserved for supervised play and training. The run is small enough that it's easy to clean -- hosing it with Simple Green 2x weekly and brushing it with a deck brush -- and one of the best parts is, NO MUD tracked into the house after it rains! All of the water just drains straight through the turf into the drainage system under the house. No pooled water, ever. And it's so much easier to pick up poop off the artificial turf than it is from real grass.

Photo attached two of our pups in the run :)
 

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Discussion Starter #17
I’m in Colorado, so far the best idea we could agree on is the wood chips. Our yard isn’t big enough for a dog run even though we only have 1 dog. It’s a townhouse yard and is maybe 30ft long and 12ft wide. Could be easily overestimating. Half the yard is covered in small pavers which we will stack to create a barrier to keep the wood chips from spreading and my wife is going to put some plants out which is possible since our dog is not destructive. Not a digger and not a chewer.
 

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I think a nice layer of shaved pine feels good under the feet and it is less expensive than the mulch that home stores sell this time of year. I get mine from Tractor Supply but I haven't really shopped around. I like that store in general and like to give them my business.
Would you mind sharing a photo of your yard when you are done? Many people struggle with keeping a yard looking good, or at least not too muddy and dusty.
 

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I have decided to not fight nature, since it would take much money, water, time and struggle and heart ache and nature would still win. Under my shade tree I have shaved pine. It isn't a deep layer. I am waiting to see how / if it will break down over the summer. In the fall I want to mulch the leaves with my lawn mower.
 

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What are your thoughts on either grass or turf when it comes to having dog/s?
Well, as so many have noted, it all depends on what you have to work with. I'd like to add one other: I believe that astro turf can help prevent many skin diseases that are airborne, in the sense that you can clean it. In Kathmandu, most roaming "street" dogs have mange, fungal and other infections - a lot of which is transmitted from one place to another via plant matter. As one vet put it here, "If you want your pets to be free from skin disease, keep them in the house."

So when we moved into our new house, we put astroturf all around the perimeter where there would have been a small lawn. Hiro loves it, and since he is trained to pee and poo on walks only, the yard is clean and fresh - not a parasite or fungal bloom to be found!

Here is Hiro on top of the underground water tank. It's one of his favorite spots (cooler than most patches of artificial grass).
 

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