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Why we chose to install turf in our backyard.

Having three dogs and the inability to grow grass, we decided to take an unconventional road to reconstructing our backyard.

The house we currently live in was once a rental property. Needless to say, landscaping was not a priority to try to win any “yard of the month” accolades and was pretty much on life support when we came along. We tried basically everything to breathe life into this patchy, dirt pile mess of a yard, but any attempts that we made were futile. Add on top of that the frustration of the dogs tracking in dirt all day everyday and twice that amount on rainy days.

Backyard before

Our back yard is surrounded by really tall trees. Even though I wouldn’t say it’s a forest, the trees provide enough shade that make it nearly impossible to give the grass a chance to survive. And again three dogs that ran about and did their business, we couldn’t win for losing.

The dogs, and us, deserved better.

We were left with the choices: rip it all up and lay down new sod, or replace it all with turf. At first the turf idea started out as a joke, but the more we looked into it, the more we realized, we may be onto something.

One last look at this awful yard.

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What did we pick?

After we installed a fence, because dogs, and extended our patio, we had Marty Higgins from Palmetto Moon Synthetic Turf come out. When I thought of turf, I envisioned the kind they put down at the local putt-putt place. Marty showed up with quite a few samples that really looked like different types of grass. We chose one that looked like zoysia grass typically found here in the area.

So many choices and none of them were ugly.

Just being honest and the only con.

In all transparency, it is expensive. We could have cut the cost by adding additional landscaping to minimize the area the turf would be installed. As Courtney so lovingly (and truthfully) pointed out, I kill plants. Also, the backyards main purpose on a daily basis, is to be for our dogs so plants weren’t really necessary.

That being said, when we broke down the cost of maintaining regular grass (think watering, weed control, time spent mowing etc) the cost over a 20 year time frame equaled to about $60 a month. We were afraid if we installed new sod, we would run the risk of killing it anyway (see husbands comment above) and end up spending even MORE money just to end up installing turf.

The process

The crew came in and ripped out the remaining grass, roots, and made sure the soil was leveled to drain away from the house.

Tryin not to be a creeper but extremely intrigued by the process.

They installed metal edging around the base of the fence to keep the sand and the infill in the yard. This is especially important for when it rains and being in the low country during hurricane season, we get a lot of rain. They added several layers of ground up rock and sand to help with drainage.

A lot of prep to get ready for the turf.

Installing the turf reminded me of installing carpet. It came in rolls and it was secured into the ground with large metal staples. Once everything was laid, two different types of infill was laid, one that would help keep the turf cool for the dogs, and another that had microbial features to help break down the animal urine and keep the smell away.

One hiccup

Marty came back the day after the turf was installed to check the work of the crew. Immediately he caught that one of the windows was reflecting onto the turf causing it to melt. The fix was to have a screen company come out and install a darker screen over the window. Marty then had his crew come out and repair the turf that was melted. Gotta love science.

Too much light reflected on this window burning the turf below.

Turf has changed our lives for the good.

We are now a year into having our turf and there is not a day that goes by that I’m not thankful we installed it.

The glorious after.
  • The dogs love it and enjoy the freedom of being outside.
  • The dogs don’t track dirt in at all! (I may have hope for white slipcover couches after all!)
  • Picking up the dog mess is A LOT easier with turf than it is in grass.
  • The drainage is so much better and we never have standing water after a really good rainfall. (Only once did we have to spray on a refreshing agent to kill the bacteria and odor because we went for a stretch without rain.)
  • The color still looks as amazing as it did the day it was installed. Which also means, its green all year long including the winter.
  • We enjoy using our backyard space a lot more. Not only is it pretty to look at, but doesn’t look like (or smell like) we’re hanging out in a doggy toilet.

Every once in a while we get out our plastic rake and mulching vacuum/blower to pick up the leaves, but that’s it for maintenance.

A different time of day and it looks amazing.

Even though the initial cost is a lot to take in, the long term gain and investment is something that we’ll appreciate for years to come. I feel like because of how our yard looks and functions, we go out and enjoy it way more than we did before. Essentially it’s become like another room, but outside our home. If you’re on the fence, no pun intended, I think you’ll be happy to choose turf over traditional grass. Turf is especially beneficial if you have a pool. (Lucky duck!)

Love having a more usable space for our family and our dogs.


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