If your yard is looking sad, and you want to spruce it up for both your sake and your animals’, installing some pet turf can be the way to go. But how do you do it? What are the important steps? Which turf is safe for pets? Don’t worry, we’ve got the answers to those questions and even more.
We’ll break it down into 5 easy steps: Planning, preparing the area, base installation, turf installation, and infill.
If you’re going to be laying down some pet turf, you first need to do some planning. Evaluating and preparing your landscape before installation will save you time, money, and potential headaches down the road.
Selecting the type of turf is easy for this application. If you ask for pet turf, or mention what you plan to use it for, we will know what you need. Turf used for areas that accommodate pets is typically a shorter pile of fiber. It’s less lush and considered less attractive than more thatched varieties used for landscaping, but is more durable and easy to clean. The base and drainage is also kept in mind for the needs of pet health, cleaning waste and debris, and limiting odor, moisture, and microbial growth.
Now that you know that the type of turf you need is pet turf, determine how much turf you’re going to need to order, and how much of your yard you want to replace with artificial grass. It’s better to overestimate and over order than to under order, and excess can be saved and used later for repairs or mistakes.
Measuring and Calculating How Much Turf You Need
Depending on how much you’re going to need, you can order pet safe artificial turf directly from us, and you can also use our turf size calculator to ensure that you’re getting enough. Measuring how much turf you need is not too difficult.
- Regular shapes like squares and rectangles are easy, just multiply the length by the width.
- Triangles are slightly more math involved: multiply the height by the base and then divide by 2.
- And circles have even more math involved: multiply the radius by pi, 3.14.
Irregular shapes are the most difficult to measure and install, but still doable. There are 2 methods:
- Measure the larger of the length and width and multiply together for estimate.
- Divide the irregular shape into regular shapes and do some more math to get an estimate.
- Measure the length and width of each unit.
- Multiply the length by the width to get the area of each unit.
- Add the area of all squares/rectangles to get an estimate of total area.
Objects to consider that create irregularities in measuring and cutting turf when installing outside include:
- Sprinkler systems
- Paths and walkways
- Sculptures and lawn ornaments
Once you know how much turf you’re laying down, you can gather your supplies. Here are the supplies you’ll need:
- Tape measure
- Tamping rod
- Sharp cutting tool, such as a utility knife
- Turf seam tape
- Turf nails, stakes, or u staples
- Turf adhesive
- Padded base
- Sand, crumb rubber, or other infill
Other tools that are helpful but not required
- Sod cutter
- Walk behind tractor
- Power brush
- Infill distributor
- Carpet stretcher
Preparing the Area
For smooth and even turf that your pets love, a solid foundation is key. You’ll need to do some serious prep work before you can do an installation, and that will ensure that the actual placement and installation of the grass will go smoothly.
- To start, you’ll want to remove 3 to 4 inches of soil from the top layer of the area that’s being prepared for artificial turf.
- It will be extra important to remove as much vegetation and undergrowth as possible, as this will ensure a neat and uninhibited foundation for your turf.
- It will also ensure an even surface for a long time to come.
- You can do it by hand with a shovel, or save some time and effort and invest in a sod cutter or walk-behind tractor.
- Level the surface to ensure there are no divots or slopes that can interfere with drainage or make it easier to tear the turf.
- Weed barriers can be useful as well. Geotextile barriers underneath the outer edges or underneath the turf itself can keep weeds from pushing up your turf.
- Next, you want to make sure that you’ve prepared an adequate drainage, especially if the surface is going to be encountering pet urine or other forms of waste. Depending on what kind of surface you’re installing on, you may need to allow for different types of drainage.
If you’re installing on concrete or another artificial surface, leaving six inch gaps around the outer edges of the turf will ensure that the turf has the ability to drain properly.
If you’re installing turf on top of soil, a base for drainage will be necessary to ensure that water doesn’t build up and cause mold.
Plastic Bender Board
You can install plastic bender board, or other waterproof borders around the outer edges of the artificial turf to protect vegetation and other parts of your lawn. Make sure that its height isn’t above the level of the grass to ensure that there’s proper drainage.
To assist with drainage and also ensure that your artificial turf doesn’t slump, you’ll need to install some sort of base material.
- In most cases, this will be gravel, and you’ll need about a yard of gravel per every 100 square feet of turf you’re planning to install.
- Crushed rock, gravel, or decomposed granite are excellent bases, and make sure that the particulate is under 3/8th of an inch for the best results.
- Distribute the gravel over the surface where turf will be installed, and compact and level it for proper drainer and even turf.
If you’re not installing over dirt, a rubber shock pad will work best for artificial turf that’s being installed over concrete. It’s not required, but it is recommended for comfort.
- Lay the panels over the surface you want to be covered with turf.
- If the base was compressed or rolled, lay it out flat and allow it to rest before adhering it to the surface to avoid warping or bubbling.
- Trim the base to size, bringing the seams close together, but not overlapping.
- Glue the seams and perimeter following directions of the adhesive for the base.
After that, you’re ready to start installing the turf itself.
Installing the turf is a very similar process to installing a rubber base on concrete.
- First, you want to lay the turf out ahead of time to make sure you have the right amount, and to give it time to settle and work out any misshapen spots. You may want someone to help placing the turf on the base, as dragging it might unsettle and make your surface uneven.
- Once the turf is laid in place, cut and trim the panel with a sharp utility knife as needed to ensure that the edges and seams fit together well.
- After cutting the panels to size and lining up the seams, fold the edges of adjoining panels back, and place the artificial lawn seaming tape on the base.
- Apply adhesive to the seaming tape, following instructions on the packaging, then press the edges of the turf in place. Make sure that none of the filament touches the adhesive. Since there are several methods for adhering turf, be sure to check with Turf Factory Direct about which method is best for your specific turf product and base.
- Fasten the turf around the outer edges by placing landscaping anchor pins, u staples, or galvanized stakes about 6 inches apart, and pound them into the ground with a hammer. Try to put them between the filament tufts and stitches to prevent filament from being anchored down with the backing.
- For a hard surface like concrete, adhesive will be used for the perimeters and seems.
How to Cut Turf with Obstacles or Irregularly Shaped Areas
Cutting Around Objects
Lay turf around irregular obstacles such as trees, and fold the edges of turf back. Make relief cuts every few inches around the obstacle, depending on the size. The edges of the first relief cuts should meet back up on the side of the obstacle.
Cutting Out Irregular Shapes
Cutting the base and turf to install over an irregularly shaped area is similar to cutting around objects, but sort of the reverse. Lay out the turf and trace a line of the perimeter. We recommend making relief cuts along the line to help avoid mistakes. Once the perimeter matches, trim accordingly.
You’re going to need to provide infill for your artificial turf so it stands up properly and looks like a natural field of grass. There are a wide variety of infills to choose from, and the vast majority are pet friendly, but make sure to check in advance before purchasing, so you don’t accidentally end up with an infill that can potentially harm your pets. For more information about pet turf infill, check out another one of our handy guides. Infill will help weigh down the turf, keeps the fibers standing upright, and keep if from developing divots, as well as providing additional cushioning underfoot–or underpaw.
As you spread the infill, brush the turf with a rake or a power broom between each application of infill material. Finally, watering the turf afterwards will help settle the infill.
Maintenance is Important
Dogs make messes, love to dig, and may try to eat just about anything. That’s why artificial grass is a great option for pet-friendly yards. It’s more durable and is more difficult for your dog to dig it up, eat it, turn it yellow, or create bald spots. Like all things though, it does have its limits, and can be damaged and worn overtime, especially if proper installation was not done.
Simple tasks to keep it looking nice and remain hygienic for your pet:
- Remove debris and waste
- Rinse with a hose
- Rake and brush to keep fibers upright
More information on cleaning pet turf can be found in our maintenance guide. If you’re looking to start purchasing artificial turf for your own pet project, get in touch with us. We’ll help you find the turf that will meet you and your pet’s needs.