just a girl living her best life in the upper lefthand corner

[No] Maintenance Monday: Faux Grass

I hate to admit when I’m wrong. I mean, I’m just about as stubborn as they come so I’ll do my damnedest to make something work even when it’s clearly failing just to avoid being wrong. 😂

Our back “yard” has been a bit of a sore spot for us since we purchased our home back in 2013. The area doesn’t have a ton of square footage, but it’s enough space for our pup to go out to potty.

When we first bought the house, the people who had flipped it had installed a cute little deck space surrounded by mulch, which would have been great if (a) it was a large enough space to entertain, (b) we weren’t planning to use the space as a place for our dog to do his business (it was one of the major selling points of the house… a yard! in [basically downtown] Seattle!!!). While the deck was still around, the mulch they had put around it (yay! no maintenance!) would get caught in our pup’s paws and he would end up tracking bits into the house, which was less than ideal.

When we had the deck removed (which pained us because it felt SO wasteful to demo something that was basically brand new), we realized that prior owners had used the space as a parking pad because we discovered roughly poured concrete throughout almost the entire space. In an effort to keep rain and ground water properly draining, we opted to have that concrete slab broken up into gravel and planned to use that as our back yard “terrain”. We were excited because that also meant zero maintenance! …or so we thought. 🤦🏻‍♀️

Every time our pup would come in from being outside he would track varying sizes of gravel/pebbles into the house. 😩 Our dark faux wood laminate floors are now scratched to hell as a result (they’ll be replaced with new flooring soon, but STILL!). Also, I equate stepping on some of the larger, more jagged gravel chunks to stepping on a Lego. YEAH. They were basically little barefoot landmines.

This is where my big mistake comes into play. In 2017, I BEGGED my husband for grass. I knew that it came with maintenance, but I was determined to make it work because grass had to be better than jagged gravel being tracked into our house, right?! I diligently watered the sod every day for two weeks after it had been laid (per the landscaper’s instructions) and then made sure that we continued to water and mow the grass when necessary (and by “we”, I mean “he” — hubby totally did the mowing 💕). Over the course of a year we realized why grass hadn’t been planted there to begin with. That area gets minimal sun even on the days that aren’t the typical overcast and grey PNW days, and apparently having just rain (and no sunshine) isn’t enough to effectively grow grass. Additionally, a dog doing their business on grass tends to kill the grass… sooo we basically ended up with a mud bog for a back yard. I did my best to revive the lawn, but there was no saving it; it was beyond repair.

A year ago, my husband suggested getting faux grass to replace the mud bog in the back yard. I immediately protested. I could save the grass! (I couldn’t) And why would he want electric green, stiff, plastic-y grass anyway?! I was vehemently opposed to the idea… and then came the Year of the Mud. As the back “yard” increasingly became weeds and mud, the muddier our dog’s paws would be upon re-entering the house. We religiously put beach towels down for him to step on to try to absorb the mud, but we quickly discovered that that wasn’t enough. We would have to actually use the towels to wipe down his paws to remove the mud and then *somehow* there would still be muddy pawprints, even with a super vigorous and thorough wiping.

these muddy pawprints are alllll through our house

Our pup also loves to go outside, so he’d ask to go out like 7+ times a day and we just HATED doing it because of the additional work that came with it (the wiping of the paws and the extra frequent floor cleaning). I know, this sounds like a major #firstworldproblem and I fully acknowledge that, but until you’ve had to live with a similar situation, you won’t understand the struggle. 😩

After cleaning our pup’s paws and mopping my floors (and griping about both) for the 479062145625379075216th time, I finally gave in and told my husband that he could have his precious faux grass. We called around and made appointments with a few local companies that installed fake grass, but ultimately ended up going with Dream Turf.

For our consultation appointment, a sales associate came to our house to assess our situation, he measured the space, answered our questions, and brought samples for us to view. I was totally shocked at how realistic the faux grass looked! There were two main options — essentially the same grass length (not too short, but basically a “perfectly mowed” look) in two different shades… one was consistently green throughout and the other contained sporadically placed brown “blades of grass” which made it look more like actual grass you might find in someone’s yard. This photo doesn’t really showcase the difference between the two, but I promise that they look very different in person. 😂 One of the biggest selling points for us was that there will be better drainage as a result of the install.

The base of the turf is made up of a material like a mesh grid to allow moisture to pass through easily. As part of the process, the installation team will excavate the area and remove the top few inches of soil, create a perimeter, fill the space with gravel to help maximize drainage and evenly distribute any moisture. At this part in the process they will also do their best to level the area so that your turf lays flat! Then comes a layer of landscape fabric to deter any potential weed growth under the turf which then gets “locked” into place with another heavy layer of gravel.

They then roll out the turf, cutting out necessary spaces (for a/c units and such), anchoring it into the perimeter border with long nails and then weighing it down (and to help prop up the “blades of grass”) by spreading a layer of sand throughout the turf! You just have to be careful when raking not to use a rake with metal prongs that could get caught and pull the grass up. The fact that this turf is low-maintenance was also a major selling point for us. I am SO looking forward to not having to deal with that damn mud bog anymore!

Before and After

We’re super pleased with the end result and our overall experience with DreamTurf! Everyone that we worked with was so helpful and professional. Our space is relatively small so it only took like half of a day to complete, but the guys worked hard and fast. This post wasn’t sponsored in any way, we just want to spread the word that fake grass looks way better than it used to, and to share our experience with the company for anyone considering a turf installation in Seattle! Highly recommend!

Please let me know if you have any questions in the comments section below!

xx, Natalie

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