What They Don't Tell You About Artificial Grass
and Dogs' Urine and Feces

You're considering artificial grass. It's always green. You don't have to water it. It's impervious to damage from children and pets. What's not to like?

As it turns out, something very significant.

There are odor problems...big problems...and feces don't break down (or get hidden between the blades), even bits as small as half a lentil.

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I purchased the highest quality artificial grass from Costco (the kind with brown "thatch"). It is beautiful and pretty realistic-looking, even up close. The yard looks fantastic! (It was not cheap, however, even when I did the prep and installation myself.)

Fake grass inspires a generalized "no-care" mentality. I learned too late that "no-care" does not apply to dog urine and feces.

In my defense, before purchase, I called the company to ask about dog feces. Did they dissolve in rain and work their way down through the grass and substrate? The fellow didn't know. How about loose stools? Again, no idea. Vomit? No info. Anything he could tell me on the general subject of dogs, feces, and urine? Nope.

I am here to tell you that everything placed on artificial grass stays there. Completely. Even through the rainy season.

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As anyone who has lived near a dog kennel knows, the odors are marked and persistent.

Urine and feces on artificial grass is the same. These must be dealt with every day! Ignored or even dealt with indifferently is foolhardy if you want to enjoy your yard and home. And if you want to keep the goodwill of your neighbors.

Feces

Pick up feces every day. Period. Unless you want your family and your dog stepping in it.

If the feces are soft/loose, pick up what you can. You will find the rest smeared on the grass. Get wet paper towels and finish the job. Work "against the grain." No, rain will not take care of the detail work for you.

Urine

Believe it or not, urine is the bigger problem. True, the liquid fraction runs through, but the odor does not. It permeates the plastic blades and "thatch," as well as the substrate.

I first noticed it when I was outside playing with my dog. I hosed down the grass, thinking that the lack of rain meant the urine had not drained through. I noticed the odor again the next day. The next day, the odor was in my house. Gross! Ack!

I scoured the web for products and reviews. Somewhere I wrote down all the options people suggested; I can't find the list. Sorry.

My go-to product for widdles in the house, Nature's Miracle, is too expensive to spray on my whole yard. There had to be something cheaper. I finally settled on baking soda and vinegar ironically, purchased from Costco in large containers!

My sprayer is the Ortho Multi-Use Dial 'n' Spray. I've been very happy with it. I use the "6 oz." setting for dilution of the vinegar.

I am hoping "doing" the yard every other day will suffice during the winter rainy season. (I'll update here.) I know I'll have to do it daily when the weather starts to warm up. I hope I can get the problem under control. In the least favorable scenario, I'll prevent it from getting worse. I hope!

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Would I have installed artificial grass after reading this review?

No!!!

True, artificial grass is green year round, but the doggie problems associated with it - - and the cost of the water to spray the vinegar! - - make it a non-starter.

Sod, installed, probably would have been cheaper!

Consider carefully.

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Two side notes:

This stuff is hot when the summer sun hits it. Your dog won't want to step on it, which is a mixed blessing: no urine in the artificial grass, but instead urine somewhere else you don't want it (such as your house!). As soon as the sun moves away, the grass cools down again. Be aware what's going on when your dog starts stepping gingerly!

As long as you're treating the artificial grass, treat your concrete/aggregate patio. Concrete is permeable and soaks up the urine smell, too.


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marbeth@marthabeth.com