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So I'm buying a home next month and it will be the first time I've ever had to take care of a lawn, and I realize that with the dog around it is going to be even more difficult to keep it green and not let it turn into a dirt field.

Anyone have any tips on how to do this? I'm hoping to really minimize the use of pesticides and those types of things as I don't know how they'll affect the boy and I'm willing to use a variety of natural things no matter how gross or disgusting it might be. I've been seeing all the commercials for the "Scotts" stuff and it doesn't look half bad...probably expensive for what you get out of it but if it saves me time and a headache I wouldn't mind investing a little more money into the lawn.
 

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I have a front yard and a back yard. The front yard is my nice yard and the back yard. oh well.

Can't give you grass advice - I am in the transition zone and use bermuda. You are in the nothern zone so have bluegrass/fescue based blends - I do like the nematodes you can buy from Arbico organics for pest control though and it is not just fleas and ticks! Right now I am using chemical fertizlizers on my front (not dog) yard but hope to get away from that after this season. My yard was a mess when I moved in and is looking pretty good several years later.
 

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Ours hasn't been too bad. There are rough patches just by the back door, but the rest of the yard looks fine. I think the thing that has helped us is that we have a huge back yard, so he doesn't pee in the same spot twice and we let the grass get a bit longer than most people before we cut it (we mow once every other week instead of every weekend.)

And Scott's is our best friend. A little bit goes a pretty long way. Another good one is TruGreen; they do great treatments, but if you don't water the grass exactly how they want you to, they get cranky.
 

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I had been an apartment dweller my whole adult life. I had no idea how to take care of a lawn! I thought dandelions were marigolds (in my own defense, dandelion flowers do look like marigolds prior to seeding-if you have bad eyesight and no prior knowledge).

Anyway, our back yard had very simple landscaping when we moved in. Grass, a covered patio and a ratty rosebush. Over time the dogs trashed the grass. About 6 years after moving in, we put in a 4 foot chain link fence that separated roughly 1/3 of the yard. That is the dog yard. No grass. No trees. No bushes. We laid down wood chips, which we have pulled out and replaced every year. They have access to part of the covered patio.

The other side of the fence is the human side. There is grass, a tree. Real landscaping. There is a gate, so they can have access to the whole yard if we want.

This has worked really, really well for us. And I have to say that once I learned about gardening and landscaping and lawn care, I discovered that it is a very pleasant way to spend time. We hired someone to mow weekly through the mowing season, but the rest of it I do on my own.
Sheilah
 

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I have a front yard and a back yard. The front yard is my nice yard and the back yard. oh well.
Same here. I have 4 dogs though. If you only have one, that will help.

Use Milorganite to fertilize. It's made from (Yuck) sludge, but it's very forgiving and supposed to be okay with dogs and children. It a slower release so it won't burn your grass if you accidentally use too much. Plus it has iron in it so your grass will look very green. In addition, I go to the grain mill and get a 50 pound bag of ground up soybean meal. This is a very slow release fertilizer, but works well if used often enough. (Bone meal, alfalfa, feather meal, are all good organic fertizers. I use soy because its easy to get and cheap.)

The key to weeds is, do NOT cut your grass less than 3 inches. (Bluegrass and Fescue - northern grasses) I only use weed killer on a small section of my yard near the road where it really takes a beating from the salt trucks. And even that isn't every year. But the biggest thing is not to cut it short.

I do not use any pesticides. Having an organic yard balances the natural interaction of critters.

Since my dogs tear up the grass just being themselves, I partition off a section every year to give it a rest. Its amazing how fast it comes back to life.

(You might have access to other organic fertilizers in your location. I rarely see anything in my area.)
 

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Lime your yard two times a year. Not a ton of it spread it out evenly then water it into the grass the PH helps neutralize the dog urine. As long as your dog is not eating it and you water after you spread you should have no issue. There will still be a few brown spots but it will help the ground recover. For the smaller brown spots use the Scotts Lawn Treatment to keep those area's green. Welcome to home ownership!
 

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Truthfully? We gave up. The front yard is the nicer yard, the back yard is just...what it is. The back yard was kind of a mess anyway, though, when we bought the house.
 

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I don't know how true this is, but I've been doing research on types of grass that tend to hold up better to dogs and dog urine...Here's some info to get you started. If it works out for you, please share. My backyard grass is barely there now, it's been trampled and peed on so much. When I sell, I will probably just re-sod the area and leave it be at that

Lawn Types That Can Stand Up to Dogs | Home Guides | SF Gate
 

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Ky is 4 ... I brought her home on the August long weekend, she was 9 weeks old. I had just moved into the house. The backyard was already a disaster area, so I didn't care.

Last summer I installed a pond that takes up half the yard. This summer it's all finished .. 1/2 the yard is pond, plants and rocks (think rock garden with perennials)

The other half of the yard is 1/2 deck, 1/2 her spot. I broke down last month and bought fake grass LOL ... It wasn't cheap (20x20 feet was $2000 and I installed it myself with my dad).

That's where she does her business (which is not very often! I run her every morning from 5-6, she's picked up at 9 by the dog walker and dropped off at 2:30, and then I walk her again in the afternoon / evening). The most she does there really is pee. The fake grass has a mesh underlay so it goes right into the ground.

If it doesn't rain after 5 days or, I plan to take the pressure washer with water and vinegar and give it a "rinse" ... I haven't had it not rain yet in a 5 day span ... but I don't smell any pee in that area (and it's beside the deck!)

On another note, Kyleigh isn't really allowed to rip and run around the back yard anymore LOL (She's 4 so it's not the end of the world!) She gets plenty of opportunity every day to burn her excess energy on her off leash walks! She's not restricted from walking anywhere in the back yard, just not allowed to jump in the pond, or dig up my plants!

My front yard has ZERO grass and is covered in plants / flowers and veggies. She LOVES to spend time out there with me while I'm weeding!
 

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Thank you ! It is! It took me two years and lots of blood, sweat and tears!!!! But so worth it now!
 

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Grass is dog durable if you look after it. Means watering it regularly. Fertiliser Treatment goes a long way. You could also replant grass patches.

It's more about getting through the local weather and seasons. The dog is less of a worry unless he is digging holes etc. also becarefull with gates that allow the dog one route of travel if he is going to be outside all day that can wear down the grass.
 

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Not Possible

So I'm buying a home next month and it will be the first time I've ever had to take care of a lawn, and I realize that with the dog around it is going to be even more difficult to keep it green and not let it turn into a dirt field.

Anyone have any tips on how to do this? I'm hoping to really minimize the use of pesticides and those types of things as I don't know how they'll affect the boy and I'm willing to use a variety of natural things no matter how gross or disgusting it might be. I've been seeing all the commercials for the "Scotts" stuff and it doesn't look half bad...probably expensive for what you get out of it but if it saves me time and a headache I wouldn't mind investing a little more money into the lawn.
My theory is that one can have a beautiful yard or a beautiful large dog but one cannot have them both simultaneously.

LF
 

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I just wish when I had the chance, I would have trained everyone to go in one area.

Its the nitrogen in the urine that kills your grass mostly, so containing it to a particular area might keep it contained.
 

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I think the dog is not that relevant in keeping a green yard. You will find large dogs get the blame most of the time. But fact of the matter is many peoples yards would not flourish with or without a dog.

Also the urine effect is overstated big time. A dogs natural Ph is acidic. However watering the yard every day takes care of that. Again depending on environment level of care is different. The dog is a tiny piece of maintaining it. (Unless he is actively ripping growth out).
 
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