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Cost of Pet-Friendly Turf: 2021 Price Guide

Discover what factors affect the price of your pet-friendly turf installation. Use this guide as a cost breakdown to understand the kind of investment you're looking at. Also, learn how contractors may cut corners to save money and hear the consequences.

Dogs tend to damage natural grass when they're let outside to play and brown spots are unavoidable after consistent pet use. K9-friendly artificial grass has become a realistic solution to this problem. Synthetic turf offers many benefits that natural grass doesn't, such as providing a more durable and sanitary surface. Bonus - after installation fleas and other pests will no longer be attracted to your lawn.  

When considering this option, know that installing a pet-friendly turf system will be pricier than a regular installation. The price increase stems from advanced material requirements, drainage needs, and safety measures. You are looking at at least $10-$15 per sq. ft. for a quality pet turf installation. Remember: you're paying for not only materials but also labor, hauling and delivery, and company overhead. 

In our guide below, we'll dive into all the costs that affect the final bill. For the purposes of this demonstration, we'll use a sample yard that's 1000 sq. ft. with a concrete border on two of the edges.

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yard example pet turf*Please Note: Costs may differ depending on geographical location - These numbers reflect California pricing.

 Materials Labor Operations Overhead Profit

The above-mentioned are the key factors considered when assigning a price. Click on each to discover what they entail, and the consequences of cutting corners in that area during a k9-friendly installation. 

Materials

There are a number of supplies needed when beginning a backyard turf installation. You'll see that even more materials are needed for pet turf systems than typical projects.  Below we'll walk through common materials used, and how much they typically cost. 

Artificial Grass

You can choose almost any grass and install a pet turf system underneath it. For the best cleaning results, we'd recommend a shorter pile height. The grass you choose will also need to perform well in terms of drainage and traffic resistance to provide a longer lifespan. In commercial areas, we'd recommend choosing grass specifically designed for pet use.

Typically, medium to high-quality artificial grass material is priced from $1.87 to $3.73 per square foot. We'll assume we're installing pet turf in a residential backyard for our sample lawn and use these numbers. However, grasses specifically made for pet use are available upon request! 

Installers Cut Corners By:

  • Using Old Recycled Grass Materials - Causes visible seams, dogs may be able to dig at the grass causing damage to the surface.
  • Using Low-Quality Materials - It's important to use only non-toxic lead-free materials in pet turf systems. 

In our table below, we'll average the price of artificial turf at $2.80/sq. ft. and figure in taxes. 

Artificial Grass Cost $2.80 x 1,000 sq. ft. $2,800
Cost After Taxes $2,800 + 8% California Tax $3,024
Total Cost Per sq. ft. $3,024 1,000 sq. ft. $3.02/sq. ft.

Class II Road Base 

Road base is a material that is made of crushed rocks of various sizes. This is installed as a base surface in artificial grass lawns to provide stability for the installation. Once at least 2 in. of soil has been excavated from the area, road base can be applied. Pricing of road base will be different based on your location. If you're installing pet turf on a hard surface, such as concrete, road base is not necessary. 

Installers Cut Corners By:

  • Removing Less Soil - Weeds will grow back and poke through the turf.
  • Poorly Grading - Uneven surfaces affect drainage performance and cause liquid to pool underneath the turf. This leads to the growth of mold.  

On the low end, class II road base costs around $0.32/sq. ft. (including taxes). 

Cost of Class II Road Base $0.32 x 1,000 sq. ft.  $320

AirDrain 

A drainage layer is very important when it comes to dog-friendly turf systems. With consistent pet relief, there must be adequate drainage to prevent the build-up of bacteria underneath the surface. Air drain is a 1" drainage grid that elevates the turf to allow for proper flow of liquid. This drainage layer also helps keep the surface cooler for your pets.

Installers Cut Corners By:

  • Not Using Drainage - Efficient drainage is critical in pet-friendly systems for an odor and bacteria-free installation.

One sheet of air drain covers 7 sq. ft. and runs around $2.34 per sheet after taxes. Let's do the math below!

AirDrain Sheets Needed 1,000 sq. ft. 7 sq. ft.  143 Sheets (Rounded Up)
Cost of AirDrain 143 Sheets x $2.34/Sheet $334.62

Turf Deodorizer

Turf deodorizer is used to eliminate odors left over from pet relief. It can be applied both underneath and on the surface of the turf for the best results. After taxes, a bag of turf deodorizer runs about $20. One bag of turf deodorizer will provide coverage for 100 sq. ft. of turf. We'll plug these numbers into our pricing table below.  

Bags of Turf Deodorizer Needed 1,000 sq. ft.  100 sq. ft.    10 Bags
Cost of Turf Deodorizer 10 Bags x $20/Bag  $200

Weed Preventer

While many install a weed barrier, this is not something we recommend. Weed barrier is a cloth-like fabric that lays under the surface and it's used to prevent seeds from penetrating the ground beneath. In our experience, weed barriers soak up liquids and cause a build-up of bacteria over time - especially in pet turf systems where dogs are using the bathroom.

Instead, we'd recommend applying an herbicide to the base after soil removal. This attacks over 60 types of common weeds. Weed preventer costs about $0.34/sq. ft. 

Weed Preventer Cost $0.34 x 1,000 sq. ft.  $340

Bender Boards

Bender boards are an important component of artificial turf because it helps separate turf from other types of landscaping like trees and shrubs. The brown board is a 20-foot long roll of polypropylene. The thick board can be obtained for about $15.80. This border is durable and what we install most often, however in some cases treated wood boards must be substituted. 

If there's a concrete or stone border around the perimeter of the space, bender boards aren't necessary. However, if you have a wooden or chain link fence bender boards are still needed to provide stability. Often homes with existing landscaping already have bender boards installed separating the grass from their shrubs. It's important to assess your space to know how many rolls we'll need to order. 

Installers Cut Corners By: 

  • Not Using Bender Boards - The base will expand as temperatures change and the turf will detach around the edges causing nails to loosen. 
  • Using Wooden Stakes to Install - They'll dissolve within a year resulting in bender boards falling apart.

In our sample yard, we have a concrete border on two of the sides so bender boards won't be needed there. However, the other two edges will require bender board installation. Let's plug it in below:

Perimeter 25ft. + 25ft. 50 ft.
Bender Board Rolls 50 20 2.5 Rolls (Round To 3)
Bender Board Cost 3 Rolls x 15.80/Roll $47.40 

Securing and Adhesive

There are many small materials that customers don't remember to factor into the price of their project. Nails, glue, seaming tape, and stakes are just some of the additional materials needed for a secure installation. The price of these extra materials will fluctuate depending on the length of the perimeter. 

Installers Cut Corners By: 

  • Using Fewer Nails - Turf will begin to lift and detach over time - this creates a safety hazard for pets 
  • Sloppy Quick Seaming - Causes visible seams that may rupture. Seams that are not correctly secured together will be easily damaged by your dog.

For a 1,000 sq. ft. project, we estimate additional materials will add up to be around $200

Extra Materials $200 (Ballpark Estimate) $200

Antibacterial Sand Infill

A high-quality infill will provide your artificial grass with durability, wrinkle prevention, and a long life span. For pet owners, we recommend antibacterial sand infill to prevent bacteria and odor build-up. Because this sand features a plastic-like coating, it will also keep the surface cool and comfortable for your dogs! 

Installers Cut Corners By: 

  • Using Cheap Infills - Provides less durability and won't withstand elements over time. 

Per recommendation, we'll use antibacterial sand in our pricing table below. The cost for this is about $22 per bag after taxes and weighs in at 50 pounds. Typically, you'll want at least 1-2 pounds of turf infill per square foot of space. We'll use the median of that: 1.5 pounds of infill per square foot.

Sq. Footage Covered Per Bag 50 1.5 lb. 33.33 sq. ft.
Infill Bags Needed 1,000 sq. ft. 33.33 30 Bags
Cost of Infill  30 Bags x $22/Bag $660

Cost of Combined Materials 

Artificial Grass $3,024
Class II Road Base $320
AirDrain $334.62
Turf Deodorizer $200
Weed Preventer $340
Bender Boards $47.40
Securing & Adhesive $200
Antibacterial Sand Infill $660
TOTAL COST OF MATERIALS $5,126.02

Labor

When it comes to the cost of labor you absolutely get what you pay for, and many forget to factor this into their budget. Since there are more steps involved with pet-friendly turf installs, it's best to leave it up to the professionals. The labor it takes to provide you with a quality lawn will affect the cost of your installation. The bigger the project, the more labor costs you'll see. 

Crew

The more qualified a team is, the more they'll charge. Choosing a turf installation crew that has experience and knowledge of the process is vital in the longevity of the turf's life. 

Installers Cut Corners By: 

  • Installing Quickly and Sloppy - Mistakes are made when compacting, cutting, and seaming carelessly to save on labor costs.

You can always cut costs here, but your quality of work will suffer. If you don't pay for a good contractor, then you will end up with a subpar job that leaves you with costly repairs. For a solid installation, a qualified crew will charge between $3.13-5.06 per square foot for labor costs. We'll use the median of that for our pricing table below and plugin $4.09/sq. ft.

Crew Costs 1,000 sq. ft. x $4.09/sq. ft. $4,090

"Free" Estimates

Most companies advertise free estimates on their website. It's a way to keep them in line with the competition. These proposals are typically detailed presentations outlining materials needed and optional add-ons. While these are free to people just browsing, the time spent working on these estimates doesn't come without a cost.

Preparing an estimate and driving to an appointment will cost around $75 give or take depending on location and traffic. Before signing larger accounts, it can take up to 5 visits to the worksite to close a deal. This can rack up nearly $400 in additional costs for just one project, and sometimes these projects are never signed. Every time you hear "free estimate" just know that they're not free to the clients actually moving forward with the installation, and they're factoring that time into the overall price.

At InstallArtificial, we don't think it's fair to make our customers pay for other people's appointments. We ensure that the budget is clear and outlined for each customer in our proposals and that they're comfortable with the price range before we make visits to homes or businesses to pass our savings to you.

For our pricing table, we'll stay on the low end and add $75 to account for "free" estimates.

Cost of "Free" Estimates $75 (Ballpark Estimate) $75

Combined Labor Costs

Crew Costs $4,090
Cost of "Free" Estimates $75
TOTAL COST OF LABOR $4,165

Operations

Operational fees are another hidden cost that they don't tell you about. This refers to any costs that are added from transporting materials to and from the worksite. While most companies won't lay these fees out for you, they're built into the final proposal. Keep reading to learn what operational costs entail, and how much it affects the overall pricing of your artificial grass installation.

Cost of Fuel

The cost of fuel will vary greatly depending on your geographic location. The crew coming to and from the job site in their vehicles will also raise fueling costs. Projects that take longer, will naturally rack up more fuel costs. Because of this, it's nearly impossible to give an average cost of fuel for turf projects. As a close guess, we'll plug in $350 for fuel. 

Cost of Fuel $350 (Ballpark Estimate) $350

Delivery Fees

Delivery of materials typically isn't free, so it's another thing that's factored into the final bill. Depending on where you live, delivery costs can range greatly. Also, the cost will vary depending on the manufacturer you use. During installation, there will be artificial grass materials and road base that will be delivered to the residence. On top of the cost of delivery, the crew must also unload the heavy material. 

This typically ranges from $360-$650 per trip, depending on the above-mentioned factors. For our example, we'll use the low end of those fees at $360.

Delivery Fees $360 (Ballpark Estimate) $360

Hauling Costs

When the crew removes 2 inches of soil from the surface, it must then be hauled away. The price of hauling will vary depending on how many truckloads of removed grass and soil there is. Hauling a container of waste typically costs around $248. For a 1,000 sq. ft. lawn, this would typically require two truckloads

Hauling Costs $248 x 2 Truckloads $496

Cost of Combined Operational Fees

Cost of Fuel $350
Delivery Fees $360
Hauling Costs $496
TOTAL OPERATIONAL FEES $1206

Company Overhead

Any reliable company will have a boatload of overhead costs. While this may result in the price of your project rising, it's worth the extra money to ensure the installation runs smoothly. If the company you choose doesn't provide their own insurance, for example, you as a homeowner may be responsible for any injuries on the job site. Overhead costs include but are not limited to:

General Liability Insurance                Workers Compensation Programs

Payroll Expenses                                  Accounting Fees

Taxes                                                    Licensing Fees

Auto Expenses                                    Admin Staffing Fees

It's hard to identify exactly how much is tacked onto prices stemming from overhead costs. However, as you can see there are many behind the scene fees that are protecting both the installation company and you as a home or business owner.

On the low end, a turf company's overhead can add 10% to your project total. We'll use the total price we've accumulated so far to calculate the overhead costs below.

TOTAL OVERHEAD COSTS $10,497.02 x  10% $1,049.70

Profit 

Bottom line is to stay in business, turf companies must make a profit. To continue to grow and develop crews they must make money at the end of the day. A lot of landscaping and artificial grass installation companies struggle to make a profit after all the above expenses.

Turf companys' profit margins usually sit between 10-40%. Since we've stayed on the low end during this entire exercise, we'll plug in 10% in our price guide below.

TOTAL PROFIT $10,497.02 + 10% Margin $1,049.70

Wrap Up

During the entirety of this pricing guide we've used low to median averages, so keep that in mind when assessing overall price. This is just a starting point, there may be other needs that are specific to your project such as rewiring irrigation lines, or extra work during base preparation.

Below we'll wrap up our findings, and discover the median cost of a simple 1,000 sq. ft. backyard pet-friendly turf installation!

Material Costs $3,024
Labor Costs $4,090
Operational Fees $1,206
Overhead Costs (10%) $1,049.70
Profit (10% Margin) $1,049.70
TOTAL PET TURF INSTALLATION COST $10,419.40

If you're seeing cheap prices, there's no magic happening. They're skimping on either materials or expertise. In pet turf systems, the materials used and proper installation practices are even more vital to keep your lawn free of odor and bacteria. Before opting for the cheap installation, reference this pricing guide and discuss the specs of your project with the crew to ensure they're qualified and insured. Anyone offering a lower price than this is more than likely cutting corners somewhere. As always, give us a call for any questions related to your specific project or request an estimate below to get started!