Dogs – Lawn For

Q: We have a small back yard that is on a mild slope (very little) but has poor drainage. Everything runs to the back corner of the yard.

We spent a lot of money to sod it with zoysia in 2006 & 2007. We seeded the yard in 2008. None of these attempts at a lawn have been successful. Both sod attempts were done by professionals.

We have 4 dogs and we try to keep them off the grass to urinate but that is virtually impossible.

My husband wants to spend another $1500 to have the yard sodded. We need grass to keep the mud out but I don’t want to spend another cent until we are better informed on what the best choices for us would be.

Do you have any suggestions on the best grass for us under the circumstances?

A: You have two major problems: drainage and dogs. Lawn grass hates soggy roots. It also hates the constant soil compaction from sixteen paws pounding on it every day. The two together caused your lawn failure, not the type of grass or the installation.

To have a chance to grow grass, direct all rain gutter water underground away from the property. Do not let it pour onto the grass as I see it doing in the photo. If that isn’t possible, dig an underground cistern to collect the rainwater and let it slowly sink into the ground through perforated pipe, much like a septic tank works.

You may be aware that installing artificial turf is a possibility. Products such as K9Grass and Pup-Grass are pricey but may be affordable for a small yard.

My friend Sheldon Hammond compiled a nice set of recommendations on landscaping for dogs. You may find other ideas here.

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