Ground Cover For Dog Owner

Asked May 21, 2018, 9:49 AM EDT

Live in Bethesda Maryland, small backyard (1000 square feet). Yard is part shade, part full sun and part partial sun. I own three dogs, two standard poodles and one small havnesse. The poodles love to run and chase each other in the yard and as a result all of our grass (was sod) is gone. Tried seeding but never sufficient time to allow grass to become strong therefore torn up by pooches. Currently have straw covering ground. Would any ground cover be strong enough to handle my fun loving poodles? If not, any suggestions? Small gravel? Thanks for helping and enjoy this sunny (finally) day.

Montgomery County Maryland

1 Response

There are no groundcovers that will stand up to dog traffic.
It is not easy to have a lawn and dogs. The turf just does not survive. If you want to go this route - The recommendation for a full sun to part shade area is tall fescue with a small percentage of Kentucky bluegrass. You may need to divide your yard in half and restrict your dogs from going into the area where you are trying to establish a lawn and then work on the other side. The best times to seed are late summer-early fall to late winter into early spring. If you have dogs, you may find that you need to overseed in the fall as a general practice.

Here are some other options to consider.
Artificial turf - One of our specialists has 3 active dogs and has never been successful growing grass. She also has a small backyard and put in artificial turf. This has been the only thing that has worked. You do have to hose it down when it gets hot.
Mulch - If you go this route, you can try mulching with a large bark mulch. The shredded hardwood gets stuck in their fur.
Gravel - can get hot on the dogs feet.
Here is a good article on lawns and dogs
Here is our publication on Establishing a Lawn if you decide to seed again. Begin with a soil test.