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How to Install K9 Pet Turf Systems for Dogs

Learn how to install K9 pet turf artificial grass systems for dogs. Discover the best and most used approaches to proper pet turf drainage, and why it's so necessary. See the difference between pet turf materials and hear our recommendations. Find the best ways to control the odor and maintain your artificial pet turf lawn for years to come!

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Brief Description of Turf Installation 

Whether you're installing it yourself or having a professional crew come in, it's important to understand the process to ensure your artificial grass is truly pet friendly. Creating a clean space that provides advanced airflow and drainage is key. 

Installation of pet turf systems starts like any other artificial grass project. The crew will remove 2-3 inches of soil from the base and haul it away. Then the installers will apply approximately 2 inches of class II road base material and compact the base. Next, a layer of k9 turf deodorizer will be applied. Drain core is then laid out along the surface after turf deodorizer is applied if included (this is highly recommended).

Once the base is prepared, it is time to lay down the artificial turf. It will be cut to size, seamed, and nailed to the base or stapled to the frame. Nail-free installation is always a primary recommendation for dog-friendly spaces. If not nail-free, we advise achieving the best results by securing nails every 2 in. on the perimeter and every 2 ft. throughout the lawn.

Once the artificial grass is laid,  sand infill is applied to weigh the turf down preventing wrinkles. For pet-friendly turf, we always recommend using an antibacterial sand infill to prevent bacteria and keep the surface cooler.

To hear a more in-depth description of the turf installation process, check out our article on how to install artificial grass here


Selecting Pet Turf Materials

There are a few things to keep in mind when selecting the best artificial grass for k9 friendly spaces. The best artificial grass for a pet turf system is typically short with low density. Shorter grass will make the cleaning and maintenance of your pet turf system easier, while low-density grass allows for quick drainage.

Temperature should also be a big factor when making your decision. On high-temperature days, turf can become warm to the touch. While humans can express discomfort, pets cannot. We don't advise leaving dogs unattended on unshaded artificial grass for long periods of time. Do your research to find the coolest grasses for pets! Browse our Online Turf Lab to check out how hot each artificial grass we offer gets! 

Specifics of Pet Turf Base Preparation

  • Turf Deodorizer Layer: This is the most common factor in pet turf base preparation. After the class II road base is compacted, a layer is applied on top of the base to prevent the buildup of odor. Turf deodorizer can also be applied as an infill for the pet relief areas with heavy use.
  • French Drain System: French drains help control odor in heavily trafficked pet areas. In this method, a trench is dug underneath the surface. A drainage pipe is then installed to catch the water as it absorbs into the surface and reroute it away from your lawn. The crew will use gravel to fill the trench before continuing base preparation. This option allows for faster water percolation and more waste remediation.
  • Drain Core or Air Drain: This is a standard manufacturer-recommended approach to installing pet turf systems. We will describe it in more detail below!

Check out our Pet Turf Materials Explained article to learn more about these products! 

Drain Core for artificial grass installation on K9 Pet-Friendly Turf

Drain Core Installation

Drain core is designed with maximum drainage in mind. It is a plastic sheet with bumps and holes throughout to allow for air and water flow. Without this layer, your pet turf will inevitably begin to smell very bad. The proper drainage system is vital to preventing odors and the build-up of bacteria, especially when installing a K9 pet-friendly turf. Urine saturated artificial grass that doesn't have to ability to flush out will become very problematic. The core is available as a grid (air drain) or a plastic sheet (drain core). Air drain provides faster drainage and maintains a more rigid structure, but it costs more to install. For this reason, drain core is the most popular drainage product for pet turf systems.

Nail-Free Installation

For pet turf systems, we must offer a nail-free application as manufacturers recommend. In our experience, we see that dogs are prone to digging. Over time they can remove the nails from the base resulting in damage occurring or edges to beginning to lift. To prevent this, you can install a frame made of either treated wood or plastic around the perimeter of the base and stretch and staple the artificial grass to the frame. Nail-free means top safety for both pets and children! 

Infill Options

Turf Deodorizer: Turf deodorizer is made of lightweight and sharp volcano ash stones that absorb urine. This reduces the initial smell until the turf can be flushed with water. Turf deodorizer is charged with sanitizers that help break down the ammonia smell. However, the granules are abrasive making it less than ideal on the surface. For this reason, we recommend applying it only underneath the turf.

Antibacterial Sand: This infill is made to fight bacteria and allow air to penetrate. Its antimicrobial properties are great for long-term bacteria growth prevention. Antibacterial sand (Envirofill) does not compact which helps keep the infill evenly distributed. Also, it has round granules that are non-abrasive making it more ideal for sports and pets. 

In our experience, odor prevention is about two things: airflow and water flow. No matter what sand infill you use, without constant sanitizing and circulation, your pet turf will smell. 

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It may sound silly, but hosing down artificial grass is often done wrong. Instead of slightly rinsing the area, try to increase the flow of water. Mix sanitizer (such as 409 cleaner or Wysiwash) with water to achieve immediate results. Our Favorite pet cleansers are those that are natural but tough. Making sure you're using natural sanitizers will help ensure your turf isn't damaged during cleaning.

Another great way to keep your area clean is to teach pets to use a localized area for relief. A fake fire hydrant or a mailbox is an easy way to shrink their relief area. This area is designed for pet use only and is usually up to 50 feet in size. Cleaning becomes fully automatic with a chlorine-enabled wash system. Relief objects such as a fake fire hydrant or mailbox will help minimize water use in this space. Using a system like this is the most hygienic way to keep your front or backyard clean, however, it will require training to use.

You can also build a dog run and create an enclosed space for play and exercise to help minimize the pet relief area! 

switch to k9 pet-friendly turf system

Why Make the Switch?

We all know there's nothing that can replace a plush natural green lawn. However, that's just not the reality for most people. Customers making the switch to pet turf systems typically have similar reasoning: Their lawn is dead and uneven. Dust, dirt, and other contaminants are then tracked into the house by their dogs and foot traffic. It can be very difficult to regrow natural grass and can sometimes turn your lawn into a swampy marsh. Eliminate the need for constant maintenance by opting into K9-friendly artificial turf. The clean and smooth surface is calling your name. Request an estimate with us and receive a response on the same day. Let's do this! 

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