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How to Install Artificial Pet Turf - DIY

Making the switch to artificial turf that's pet-friendly? Installing it yourself at home? We've created a DIY guide to assist you with your pet turf installation! It will help you to install k9 artificial turf with near contractor quality, but with less effort.

How to install pet turf diy

Base Preparation

*Note: Manufacturer recommendations are to apply road base under the surface of artificial turf during base preparation. For DIY artificial grass installation, most homeowners will work with decomposed granite instead. This will provide the best results when installing artificial grass without the need for heavyweight hauling and renting machinery. 

1. Gather Your Tools

Gather your artificial grass installation tools. Remove natural grass and soil from the surface prior to laying decomposed granite. Use a sod-cutting knife during this process. Manufacturers recommend removing approximately 2 in. of soil, however, you may remove less depending on the roots in your space. Remove a bit more soil around the perimeter. This will help with weed prevention and securing the artificial turf later on in the installation. 

Grass and Soil Removal for DIY Pet Turf

2. Apply Weed Killer and Install Edging

Apply a generous amount of weed killer on the surface. This will help prevent weeds from popping up on the synthetic grass surface down the line. For pet turf installations, we do NOT recommend installing a weed barrier fabric when you install artificial grass for pets. Weed barrier is a cloth-like fabric that will trap and hold bacteria; inevitably leading to strong odors over time as pets use the bathroom. 

If your space needs any edging prior to base installation, you'll want to install bender boards or treated wood prior to moving onto base preparation. Edging materials are vital to the stability of the installation and will need to be installed to separate artificial grass from any planters, natural grass, trees, fencing, etc. 

3. Lay the Decomposed Granite 

Lay 1 in. of decomposed granite on top of the surface. Use a push brush to even out the DG along the area and use a heavy-duty roller to grade the surface. Repeat this process two or three times to ensure the area is level. 

Compacting DG with Heavy Duty Roller for DIY Pet Turf

4. Apply a Decomposed Granite Stabilizer 

Apply a decomposed granite stabilizer to the DG. This will solidify the surface so it can hold the nails during the turf-laying process. *One container covers approx. 50 sq. ft, divide the square footage of your area by 50 to determine how many containers you'll need. Skipping this step when installing artificial grass will cause artificial turf to begin to raise on the edges over time and the nails will not be secure. Allow the area to fully dry before moving on to the next step. 

Stabilize DG for Pet Turf Installation

5. Apply a Layer of Turf Deodorizer

Apply a layer of turf deodorizer (Zeofill) on the surface. This will help prevent odor from occurring beneath the surface in pet relief areas. Typically, 2-3 bags are used for every 300 sq. ft. of turf. 

Pet-Friendly Turf Installation DIY

When installing artificial pet turf diy, there are few more steps than regular artificial grass to ensure your artificial lawn has adequate drainage. Before you lay artificial grass, you need to make sure your pet turf installation area has a solid foundation and a drainage underlayment layer. When installing artificial turf for pets, proper drainage will ensure you're able to consistently clean and sanitize the artificial lawn to prevent odors and bacteria.

1. Lay Drainage Layer for Pet Turf 

Lay your drainage layer on the surface. Drain core comes in sheets that are 4 x 50, (covering 200 sq. ft.) so plan accordingly to ensure you order the correct amount. The drain core will need to be fixed with nails on the sides to keep it secure under the surface. Drain core is necessary for complete pet-friendly systems as it helps to ventilate artificial turf and reach underneath the material during cleaning.

Drainage Layer for Pet Friendly Artificial Grass

2. Unroll Pet-Friendly Artificial Grass 

Lay the turf roll in the sun for 30 minutes before unrolling. This will soften the artificial grass material and make it easier to work with. Unroll the synthetic turf making sure if you have multiple pieces you're facing the blades in the same direction. 

3. Seam Synthetic Turf Pieces Together 

This step is only necessary if you have multiple pieces of turf. Once the artificial grass is measured and cut to size, seam the pieces together using professional adhesive. For best results, use the zipper or S method to make the seams less visible. Make sure that the blades of each piece are facing the same direction. 

S Seam for Pet Turf to Create Invisible Seams

*Note: Manufacturers do not advise the use of nails during pet-friendly turf projects. This is due to the possibility of dogs pulling the turf and removing nails after you install artificial grass. Instead, they recommend building a frame around the perimeter and stapling turf to the frame. This is a much more secure installation. Most homeowners still use nails, however, manufacturers are not liable for turf damage in this case. If you install a frame, this will need to be done after soil removal prior to laying your base layer. 

4. Stretch and Secure Pet Turf 

Stretch and nail down turf on the perimeter every 2 in. Stretching artificial grass is an important process to prevent wrinkles from occurring. Make sure the sides are nailed deep into the ground and that nails are hidden. This will help prevent dogs from digging at the turf. We'd also recommend nailing every 2 ft. throughout the surface for added protection. From there you can trim any excess on the edges.

Nailing Down Turf for DIY Installation

5. Apply Sand Infill and Brush Surface 

Apply antibacterial sand infill to the surface. This will help prevent wrinkles, bacteria, and help make the surface cooler for your pets. Use 1 lb. per sq. ft. While this is the step most people cut corners on, sand infill is very important for the life of your new installation. Use a push brush to evenly distribute the sand along the surface. 

Pet Turf Maintenance 

While pet turf systems provide added ventilation and drainage underneath the surface, that doesn't mean it doesn't require cleaning. Pet Turf must be rinsed and sanitized consistently to control the smell. Make sure the grass is brushed prior to deep cleanings to help redistribute the sand infill and allow for a better flow of cleaning solution. Learn how to win against odor with our other articles! And to learn about popular cleansers, check out our article here

Artificial Grass Recycling

Whenever you're ready to get your project started and have a new clean and green lawn for you and your pets, request a pricing estimate for the best K9 turf materials below. We'll assist you in purchasing the perfect turf for you and help you with all accessories needed for installation as well. We can't wait to get started! 

Frequently Asked Questions About DIY Pet Turf Installation 

How Do You Make a Dog Pee On Fake Grass?

Luckily, artificial grass has been developed over the years to look and feel like natural grass so often dogs will be comfortable going on their own. To help your dog learn to use the restroom in your new synthetic back yard you can use positive reinforcement, fake fire hydrants, and scheduled potty breaks. 

What Do You Put Under Artificial Grass For Pets?

For the best odor preventing results, place a drainage layer and odor neutralizing infills beneath the surface of artificial grass for pets. An antibacterial infill should be used on top of the surface as well. 

What's The Best Drainage Under Artificial Turf For Dogs?

Two popular drainage options for underneath artificial pet turf are DrainCore and AirDrain. Both options will offer ventilation and a void for water movement to flush out urine when you clean the surface. 

How Much Does Pet Turf Cost?

The cost of artificial turf materials in ranges from $2.45-$6.55 per sq. ft., while the cost of pet turf installation in ranges from $9-$14 per sq. ft. 

What Is The Best Base For Pet Turf?

The best base for any artificial grass installation is a Class II Road Base. However, this material may be tricky to get as a homeowner who is DIY'ing the project. In this case, use decomposed granite and a stabilizer as your base material.