Can a lush lawn and your dog co-ex­ist?

The Progress-Index - At Home - - NEWS - BY ANGIE HICKS • Angie Hicks is the founder of Angie’s List, a re­source for lo­cal con­sumer re­views on ev­ery­thing from home re­pair to health care. Fol­low her on Twit­ter at @Angie _ Hicks.

If you want a dog and a lush lawn, you’re not out of luck. Dog urine can dam­age grass, but highly rated ex­perts in lawn care, land­scap­ing and dog train­ing tell our team that there are sev­eral ways your pet and your property can co­ex­ist pee-ce­fully:

Change your habits

The cheap­est and eas­i­est way to re­duce dog­gie dam­age is to hose down and di­lute urine right af­ter the dog re­lieves it­self. Then, com­mit to re-seed­ing dam­aged ar­eas of grass as needed.

Change your yard

A top dog trainer says his grass is bet­ter able to with­stand the ef­fects of mul­ti­ple dogs when he main­tains a 4-inch height and ap­plies or­ganic fer­til­izer.

An­other op­tion, if your dog uses a spe­cific area of the yard, is to cover the grass with pea gravel or ar­ti­fi­cial turf.

Ar­ti­fi­cial grass costs about $1.50 to $5 a square foot. Pick a higher den­sity op­tion with a non­porous back­ing. Choose polypropy­lene or poly­eth­yl­ene over ny­lon be­cause poly prod­ucts won’t ab­sorb mois­ture and will drain bet­ter. Us­ing crushed gran­ite as a base ma­te­rial un­der the turf will also help with drainage. For in­fill, use sil­ica sand or an­other prod­uct that won’t ab­sorb odor.

Change your dog

Many dogs can be trained to uri­nate and defe­cate in a des­ig­nated spot. It may take four to six weeks of ef­fort. Flag off a size­able por­tion of lawn to cre­ate a large tar­get zone to start. Leash your pet and take it to that area ev­ery time it has to go. Al­ways clean up af­ter the dog. Over time, as the pet re­sponds, grad­u­ally shrink the flagged-off area to your pre­ferred size. Even­tu­ally, you won’t need the flags; the dog will know the bound­aries.

Get the scoop be­fore hir­ing

If solid waste in the yard is your con­cern, con­sider out­sourc­ing cleanup duty. Be­sides gar­ner­ing pos­i­tive on­line rec­om­men­da­tions, a re­li­able “pooper scooper” busi­ness should be able to pro­vide you with a cost es­ti­mate, of­ten based on the size of your yard, the size of your dog(s) and fre­quency of ser­vice.

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