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. It’s been through a few iterations over the years while we’ve lived here and I’d love to share how we landed on faux grass and our experience with it.
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 so you can imagine how comfortable that was.
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 discovered 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 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 said 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 Mud.
As the back “yard” increasingly turned to weeds and sludge, the muddier our dog’s paws would be upon re-entering the house. We religiously put beach towels down for him to step on when he’d get back inside in an effort to absorb the mud, but we quickly discovered that that wasn’t enough. We would have to actually use the towels to actively wipe down his paws to remove the mud and then somehow there would still be muddy paw prints all over our floors, even after a super vigorous and thorough wiping.
Our pup also loves to go outside to hang out and sniff around (not just to go potty), so he’d request to go out like 9+ times a day and we just hated allowing him out if he wasn’t going to do his business because of the additional work that came with bringing him back inside, but it was a risky endeavor denying him access to the yard not knowing if he actually needed to go or not so we always let him out… just with a lot more four-letter words upon his rentry.
After cleaning our pup’s paws and mopping my floors (and griping about both) for what felt like the zillionth time, I finally relented and told my husband that he could have his faux grass. We called around and made appointments with a few local companies that installed fake grass, but we ultimately ended up going with Dream Turf.
For our consultation appointment, a sales associate came out 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 varieties… one was consistently green throughout and the other contained sporadically placed brown “dead” blades of grass which made it appear more realistic. This photo doesn’t properly showcase the difference between the two, but I promise that they look very different in person. 😂 The grass is also a lot softer to the touch / underfoot than I had anticipated… I had assumed the fake grass would feel spiky and stiff, but it surprised me!
The base of the turf is made up of a super durable mesh grid type of material which was designed to allow moisture to pass through easily — this was one of the biggest selling points for us since there will be better drainage in our back yard as a result of the install. Being that we live in Seattle we get a fair amount of annual rainfall, so proper drainage is absolutely mandatory (you don’t want water being directed at your house because it can damage the foundation)!
The installation process went a lot faster than I was expecting, given all of the steps they needed to complete, but I guess it helped that our space is pretty modest. It was a one-day deal; in fact, it only took half of a day to finish!
To kick off the process, the team excavated the area and removed the top few inches of soil, then filled the space with gravel which will help maximize drainage and evenly distribute any rain water. At this point they also did their best to level the ground so that the turf lays as flat as possible!
Then came a layer of landscape fabric to deter any potential weed growth under the turf which was then “locked” into place with another heavy layer of gravel.
They then rolled out the turf, cutting out necessary spaces (for a/c units and such), anchoring it into the perimeter border with long nails and then weighed it down (and to help prop up the “blades of grass”) by spreading a layer of sand throughout the turf!
The only precaution is that you have to be careful when raking not to use one with metal prongs that could get caught and pull the grass up. They recommended using one like this instead.
The fact that this turf is sooo low maintenance was obviously the biggest selling point for us. I am really looking forward to not dealing with that damn mud bog anymore!
After living with the fake grass for a year I can 100% say that it is worth the investment. Rainwater drains beautifully, only a couple of weeds have managed to pop through and they’ve been very easy to remove, it’s comfortable for our pup to walk / lay on, easy for us to scoop his poops, and no mowing required!!! We are in love with our Dream Turf.
So, when I said “no maintenance” I meant no mowing, edging, etc. but if you have a pet I highly recommend using this enzyme spray to revive your faux grass and dissolve any residual urine or feces as needed. I should have been using this product the whole time we’ve had the turf to minimize odors, but I only just used it on our lawn for the first time yesterday! I’ll have to follow up with our full experience and results after completing multiple applications — I’m just so excited about the product that I couldn’t help but share about it right away!
Our pup recently passed away (😩) and as we shift gears from dog-ownership life to toddler-only life, I wanted to make sure that the space is as clean as possible for our 12 month old to spend time in (well, as “clean” as the outdoors can get). Thankfully, this spray is non-toxic and safe for both pets and kiddos! It’s incredibly easy to use — you just hook it up to your hose, use the “water” mode to wet the grass and then flip over to the “on” mode to spray the enzyme solution. I focused on spots that had residual poop clinging to the blades of grass and areas that our dog preferred to pee in. I also recommend applying this product toward the end of the day if possible because the product works best when the grass is left wet so in the heat of the day with the sun overhead it will likely evaporate and just not be quite as effective.
I wouldn’t necessarily say that the enzyme spray has much of a scent, but I can absolutely tell that there is way less urine odor in our yard after just one application! This also means that you will likely have fewer flies as there won’t be a smell to attract them! I will probably complete this process at least one more time (maybe twice more!) before allowing our toddler back there to crawl around on her hands and knees, but we’ve already noticed a major improvement. Highly recommend!
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!