Deciding to use an artificial pet-friendly turf can be a great addition to your home.
It will allow you to reap all of the benefits of using artificial turf: reduced costs, easier maintenance, and aesthetic consistency.
All this while not having to worry about your pets damaging your beautiful lush green lawn.
Installing pet turf appropriately, however, can be a complicated and nuanced matter that the following article intends to simplify by providing you with a comprehensive guide.
Phase 1 – Planning
Before you get to work laying out your turf, you need to do some planning and preparation for the turf install.
Choosing a Quality Pet Turf
Make sure that you’ve purchased a pet turf that has the right quality for you.
This can be achieved by examining the material that it is made out of, the quality of the texture of its individual blades of leaves as well as determining how well it is designed for drainage purposes.
Area and Turf Measurements
You need to measure the entire length and height of the intended property upon which you’d like to lay your turf to calculate the area of turf you require.
For regular shapes this is easily completed.
For irregular shapes, you can either measure the larger sides of its dimensions and produce an estimate, or you can attempt to divide your irregularly shaped lawn into small regular shapes and calculate their individual areas and add them to obtain a total.
Depending on the exact turf that you’ve purchased, it may or may not have extensive requirements with respect to drainage considerations.
Typically, you will need to remove a certain amount of your lawn’s surface or drill drainage holes to ensure proper drainage functions.
Pet Turf Surface Preparation
You will need to complete the following four steps to ensure that your surface is adequate for the installation of pet turf.
1. Remove Any Weeds, Plants or Other Vegetation
Any and all vegetation on the intended site of installation should be removed in its entirety to prevent them from becoming obstacles to the installation process.
The best way to remove weeds is to use a chemical weed killing spray.
2a. Soft Surface Removal (Dirt, Soil)
For soft surfaces such as dirt and soil, the best way to proceed is to simply remove between 3 to 4 inches of the existing soil.
This can be achieved through the use of a simple shovel, but it is important to do it precisely.
While doing this make sure that you remove any and all debris in the soil including roots and pebbles. All of this material should be completely removed and disposed of.
2b. Hard Surface Removal (Granite, Concrete)
For hard surfaces this can be a more difficult process since if your concrete surface does not already have proper drainage, the best thing that you can do would be to drill 16mm holes directly onto its surface and fill them up with pea gravel which will prevent the water from pooling on the surface.
3. Level the Surface
Flatten your site of installation by as much as possible. To achieve this, you will have to fill in any holes with more soil and manually flatten any bumps or uneven segments on your ground. This can be best achieved by using a garden roller.
4. Making the Prepared Surface Weed Resistant
Installing a weed barrier is entirely optional, but it is desirable since doing so will prevent weeds from possibly growing underneath your turf. This is especially advisable if you have noticed frequent weed growth in your lawn before.
Adding Sub Base (Granite or Limestone Chippings)
A subbase is essentially an extra layer of material that’s installed beneath the base of your turf to ensure its stability. It is extremely desirable to install a good sub base since it will contribute to the longevity of your artificial grass product.
Note: DO NOT Use Sand as Sub Base
Sand is a relatively poor option for a sub-base since it is not the most stable material for use beneath an artificial turf. The use of sand as a sub-base can, for example, lead to an uneven installation of your turf.
This is particularly a problem if your turf is intended to be a very high traffic area where many people will be walking over regularly.
Limestone and granite chippings offer a much more stable sub-base material, and we would recommend their use in favor of sand.
Water, Compact and Level the Area
Water the whole area where you intend to lay the sub-base so that the soil around the area softens.
Afterward, you need to level the entire area using a garden roller or similar equipment if you have access to it. The area of sub-base installation should be relatively soft, completely even, and devoid of any holes or bumps.
Placing Rubber Shock Pads (If Installing on Concrete)
If you’re installing your artificial turf on hard material such as concrete, instead of soft materials such as dirt or soil, you will need to use rubber shock pads. The reason for this is that rubber shock pads will prevent water and other liquids from accumulating on the surface of your turf by absorbing and draining any liquids that fall on the grass.
Ideally, you should use rubber shock pads that are of high quality from a reputed manufacturer to ensure adequate performance. Once you’ve acquired your shock pads, and assuming that you have properly watered, compacted, and leveled the area you intend to install your turf on, you can simply place the shock pads on site, and this step is complete.
Phase 2 – Turf Installation
Your artificial turf will come with a detailed set of instructions on how to install it properly, but generally speaking, you expect to apply adhesive to the seaming tape.
It is important to make sure that the adhesive you use does not come into contact with the fibers as that can cause damage to the product.
The exact adhesive you should use is dependent on the kind of turf that you’ve purchased, and the instructions you receive with your turf will highlight the exact kind you should use.
You may note that upon installing the turf, some sections will overlap, and this will result in some seams and overlapping places, so this results in a very unattractive appearance.
This you need to correct in order to maintain the aesthetic appearance of your lawn.
There are essentially two ways to achieve this. First, you can use some specialized tape, applying glue to it and placing it between the two seams.
After you’ve placed the glue, allow the seam to remain in position for a period of 24 hours before you allow any foot traffic on the lawn, since it would interfere with the joining process.
Secondly, you can use non-galvanized nails on both sides of the seam to close the gap. However, you should be aware that this method is only tenable if there is relatively little foot traffic in the area that you apply it.
Applying this solution to a high traffic area is not practical as constant footsteps will cause the nails to move from their position.
Securing the Turf in Place
The best way to secure your turf in place is to use landscaping anchor pins, although galvanized stakes can also be used.
Place the pins around 6 inches apart and use a hammer to push them into the ground.
To prevent the filament from also being anchored down, place the pins between the filament and stitches.
Important – Adding Pet Turf Infill
In the context of artificial turf, infill refers to a material product placed between the individual blades of synthetic turf.
There are many different types of infill materials that include:
- Silica sand
- Crumb rubber
For a pet-friendly artificial turf infill you can select any one of these options.
The purpose of turf infill is to maintain the look of your grass, add some texture and make your artificial grass feel like real grass in addition to also adding some UV protection for your synthetic grass.
After you’ve selected an appropriate turf infill for yourself, you can apply the material to the law by spreading it over your lawn.
Do make sure that your infill is spread as evenly as possible over your lawn so that a uniform appearance and texture is maintained across your whole lawn.
Brushing the Turf Surface with a Turf Broom
Use an appropriate brush to clean the surface of your synthetic grass after maintenance so that the grass blades of your lawn maintain their appearance and upright posture.
This is especially important as it will ensure that your lawn maintains a proper appearance.
Often people will not bother to brush their turf immediately following installation.
You should not make this mistake as brushing it immediately after installation will assist in straightening any blades that aren’t standing upright as well as distribute infill evenly.
Phase 3 – Maintenance
How to Clean Pet Waste from Turf
Inevitably, your pets will leave the waste matter on your synthetic grass in the form of urine and feces.
The best way to remove the former of the two is to first hose the urine then apply a solution of half water and half vinegar and spray the area with this solution.
With respect to animal stool, first, rinse it with water and use either vinegar to clear away the stool or a paper towel to pick it up and dispose of it.
How to Get Rid of Dog Urine Odor from Turf
Your best bet would be to use a solution of water and vinegar to clean the affected area and use a water hose to completely remove all traces of the urine. This will deodorize the affected area.
Tips for Successful Artificial Pet Turf Installation
Now that we’ve already established the basics of how you can install your pet turf, here are a few extra tips and pieces of information that you can use to improve the installation process.
Choosing Quality Pet Turf
Choose the best quality turf that you can find as artificial grass is a big investment and you don’t want to regret making it by having chosen an inferior quality of the turf.
Quality Pet Turf Infill
Infill material is often viewed by many homeowners as simply unnecessary or not particularly important so they may choose to not opt for higher qualities of pet turf infill.
This is a bad approach as choosing to use a low-quality infill material will jeopardize the overall quality of your lawn, diminishing its aesthetics considerably.
Drainage is one of the most important concerns with respect to artificial turf, so make sure that you follow detailed instructions on proper drainage and ensure that drainage is properly maintained.
Otherwise, you will suffer from long term issues with water and liquids pooling on the surface of your lawn.
It is extremely important that you should do this installation very carefully, and make sure that you complete each step properly.
Oftentimes people will try to install their turf very quickly, and recklessly. This will inevitably result in a plethora of mistakes being made which will severely damage the overall aesthetics of your lawn.
Pet turf installation can be a very lengthy process, and it is one that has the potential of being botched up if it is not done so appropriately.
The best way for you to install your pet turf properly is to carefully follow the set of instructions provided with your product and to be sure that you do not install it recklessly or without proper tools.