The Turf is Always Greener

By Teri Errico Griffis

Nothing beats a big, beautiful grassy yard for your pet to play in. But grass growers know all too well how a green yard can quickly turn into a blotchy field of yellow patches thanks to your pet’s potty habits. You can try training them to do their business in one spot or even give supplements to your dog to alleviate this issue, but Marty Huggins with Palmetto Moon Synthetic Turf recommends instead that pet owners purchase a turf yard. Problems solved!

Huggins has laid turf for every kind of yard imaginable: dog parks, doggie daycare centers, pet grass installations, and more. His Charleston-based company, which began in 2007, serves the entire state of South Carolina, as well as Charlotte and Savannah. He may be biased, but he can’t speak well enough to the perks of an artificial turf lawn versus sod.

Aside from no more yellow patches, some of the biggest benefits for pet owners—and parents alike—is the end of grass stains and muddy paws! No dirt, no mud, no problem. Artificial grass also reduces the presence of mosquitos, fleas and other pests, a high-priority health concern here in the Lowcountry.

Then there’s the benefits to your home and lifestyle. “Artificial lawns reduce ground, air and water pollution from fertilizers… It reduces seasonal allergies from grass as well,” Huggins says, adding that artificial grass also means less outdoor water consumption and waste through lawn irrigation, as well as the negation of any noise pollution from lawnmowers and edgers.

For those who are green-conscious (literally and figuratively), turf is made with renewable and recycled materials. It is 100% recyclable at the end of its life cycle, which is around 25-30 years. While turf may cost more than sodding, the benefits of artificial grass is that you don’t have to re-sod every two or three years due to pets digging it up or killing it with their urine, so the average rate of return is four to five years. “Turf is going to be more expensive than sodding a yard but for many people who cannot grow grass because of pets, shade, oak trees or bad soil, artificial turf is the only viable solution unless you want to re-sod every year or two,” Huggins says. “In the long run, an artificial lawn will save you money when you consider you aren’t spending money on resodding, irrigation, maintenance and fertilizers.”

As far as temperatures go, Huggins notes that many turf products have a cool turf technology which makes them 14-20 degrees cooler than turf from just a few years ago. They may be a little hotter than real grass in the summer, though definitely not hotter than the brick or concrete around it. A light spray down with your hose though will do the trick, though!

And of course who can forget drainage issues—when is it not a problem in the Lowcountry! Huggins assures that depending on the type of turf you install, it will drain anywhere from 60 to 90 gallons per hour per square yard.

“Pet grass is a no brainer for people with pets. There are no holes since they can’t dig through the turf, no dirty dog paws or coats full of grass, no brown dead spots in the grass and it’s easier to see and clean the dog poop from turf,” Huggins insists.

Save the Grass!

Laying an artificial lawn isn’t the answer for everyone, and for those who do have a yard full of grass, here are some tips to preserve its vibrant color!

  1. NaturVet Grass Saver pills.
    These healthy supplements for dogs contain a unique formula of B-Complex vitamins and amino acids that help lower the pH level of your pet’s urine, which helps avoid those unsightly yellow spots on your lawn. Taken twice a day, they can save your grass.
    *Consult your veterinarian before giving your dog any oral supplements.
  2. Water your grass.
    Flush affected areas with water as soon as possible. Unfortunately badly damaged spots may need to be patched up with sod or re-seeded, but you can try Scotts Turf Builder EZ Seed Dog Spot Repair for those spots that are beyond saving.
  3. Spot Train your dog.
    Like any training, command and reward your dog to only go potty in one spot, therefore negating the destruction of your lawn all over. You can also head to your local pet store and buy