Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Fake Grass and Dogs

We recently replaced our backyard lawn with artificial grass and a putting green (hubby and son are avid golfers).

It looks awesome and we all love it!

We did this for several reasons:
1.  We don't have a sprinkler system and didn't want to install one.  We have water restrictions in our district so our real grass only looked nice for a few months in the spring and then died off to a dirt/dust bowl by July & August.
2.  We all have seasonal allergies and no one wanted to suffer through mowing the lawn.
3.  The dogs love to tear up the backyard with chase games and digging holes in the grass.
4.  We had some drainage issues during the rainy season and our stone patio needed to be redone anyway.

5.  I thought adding a putting green would be a nice social feature for the family - much like a swing set was when the kids were little.

6.  Bottom line we have a nice backyard and the grass wasn't very nice for all the above reasons.

We got several quotes and in the end went with Precision Greens.  They were not the cheapest but I liked their product and people better than the others.

This is not an endorsement for them just letting you know who we used and why.

The crew that did the install was great and when I reported a wrinkling problem a week later (install was done in cool weather and then we had sunny warm days)

They came out right away to fix it.  I mean right away and yes it was fixed!

However, it's not exactly what I expected so I thought I'd write a post on how this change has impacted our lives and the lives of our 2 dogs - Murphy 9 and Finn 1 1/2 both Wheaten Terriers.

I think I would have found something like this helpful when I was doing my research.  It probably would not have deterred us from doing this but I would have been more prepared.

First off, it's NOT "no maintenance" like I thought it would be.

We have some pretty big trees in our backyard - mostly cedars and maples.  There is stuff dropping down all the time.

You have to keep it clean - for looks also for durability.  It's important to remove the organic material so that it doesn't break down into the grass and then grow weeds or other plants.  I vacuum mine once a week with a Black & Decker Leaf Blower (attach Leaf Hog & Bag vacuum).

I talked to someone recently at a golf club event who actually uses his old Dyson to vacuum his turf!

I prefer to use the Black & Decker Leaf Hog because it will pick up large leaves and twigs and mulches it all into the bag.

I was told that you can use a shop vac or old vacuum but I had this old leaf blower with vacuum attachment and so I use this method for cleaning.

Also, Precision Greens does maintenance as often as you want it.  We've signed up for twice yearly fill and brushing with them.

Secondly, you need to clean up after your dog's #2s more diligently than if they were going on real grass.  I treat mine like carpet so when there's a #2 to clean up I pick up with the poop bags and then clean the area with a wet wipe (or wet paper towel) until clean.

I'll spare you the details - I don't think you need to see pics of that.

We had the special fill put in to help with the urine smell and so far so good.

But we are also working on re-training our dogs to do their business in the gardens rather than on the turf.  So far they will not go on the putting green turf but don't seem to mind the artificial grass (at least Finn does - Murphy likes to use the gardens now).

So in the end you might ask is it worth it?

Like I said it's NOT "no maintenance" it's just different maintenance than real grass.

I have to say for now - YES - it is worth it.  I don't mind the vacuuming and the picking up because I love the way backyard looks and how the turf feels.   I sit on it more so than the real grass and I'm considering doing yoga on it - not to mention all the fun we're having with the putting green.

I'll try and do an update post next year or next next year and let you know how it's going.

Until next time,