Installing Artificial Grass for Dogs? The 2 Vital Things To Avoid!

Installing Artificial Grass for Dogs? The 2 Vital Things To Avoid!

Installing Artificial Grass For Dogs The 2 Vital Things To Avoid

Installing Artificial Grass for Dogs? The 2 Vital Things To Avoid!

You’ve decided to dig the dirt, remove the manky mud and install artificial grass for your dog (and family).

You’ve asked for advice, watched endless YouTube videos, and spoken to installers. 

Now you’re really confused…

Some people say to use sand under the grass to make it softer underfoot, and a membrane to stop weed growth.

Some people say NO sand and NO weed membrane if you’re installing any artificial grass for dogs or it’ll smell. 

We DON’T install artificial grass for dogs or people

Our role at Top Dog Turf is understanding how dog urine affects all types of artificial grass and installation methods, then finding solutions and creating the best products to combat the resulting odour issues. 

We’re the dog wee experts!

Emma the Top Dog boss recorded this short demonstration video to show the problems caused by a sand sub-base for the new staff in the Milton Keynes warehouse.

Emma the Top Dog Boss

So, if you’re installing artificial grass for dogs? Here are the 2 vital things to avoid!

  • Sand under the grass or as an infill

Installers use sharp sand under the grass to make it feel nicer underfoot. Unfortunately, as seen in the video and doesn’t allow the urine to drain away.

The dog wee is absorbed into the sand and travels sideways over a much larger area than the original wee site.

Sharp sand is made from tiny bits of sharp sand. Literally! It’s spiky, and well, sharp! Uric acid crystals are also spiky and sharp. The two particles lock together like Stickle Bricks (remember them?) and are impossible to separate with hosing.

Sand also absorbs water and stays damp, creating the perfect place for bacteria to grow on the dog pee and start stinking.

Sand divots if you insist on jet washing your lawn. Creating dips for the pee to pool in if you have a weed membrane.

If you are struggling with odour, sand is difficult to remove and dispose of after installation. It will be labeled as ‘contaminated waste’ due to being full of dog urine. 


  • Weed Membrane

It’s standard practice to lay a weed membrane as a barrier under the grass. This makes sense, as you don’t want weeds coming up through the lawn. Unfortunately, the membrane acts as a barrier to drainage and will trap the spiky uric acid crystal and exacerbate the odour problem.

As seen in the video, the urine runs along the membrane and pools into any holes or divots formed in the sand.



It’s a very common problem.

At Top Dog Turf, we receive many calls and emails from frustrated dog owners, struggling to control pet odour despite frequent hosing of the lawn.

After an investigative chat, our dog wee experts in the office discover that the caller has a sand base and weed membrane under their grass.

We know that the dog urine will have travelled along the membrane, far from the original ‘hotspot’ and the membrane and sand will be saturated in stinking uric acid crystals.


What about the weeds?

Small surface weeds are common on all types of artificial grass. Birds drop seeds on your lawn and they germinate in the dog hair and debris that collect within the grass blades. These can be easily removed with a rake, firm brush or pulled out by hand. Larger weeds can be treated with a pet-friendly systemic weed killer.


What about the dog wee?

Our Wee Free Sub Base Soaker is a powerful enzymatic cleaner, designed by Emma the boss to follow the path of the pee onto the membrane and into the sand.

Great as it is, you’ll need to use a lot more grass cleaning products if you have a sand and membrane sub-base than if you’ve used a clean stone when installing artificial grass for your dogs


The best sub-base to use when installing artificial grass for dogs

At Top Dog Turf, we always recommend using a 2mm-6mm SuDS aggregate (Sustainable Urban Drainage Systems), especially if you have multiple large dogs in small areas.

Also known as block paving grit.  This is a clean stone chipping. Limestone or granite.

Well compacted, it creates a flat surface but holds its void spaces below the surface to allow instantaneous drainage. (see the video). This type of aggregate contains very little or no fines (dust).

Granno dust is also widely used as a sub-base as it’s fairly cost-effective and readily available in all areas. This is similar to the SuDS drainage aggregate but contains fines. It’s slightly slower to drain, but a squillion percent better than using sand and weed membrane.

If you have any questions, drop us an email at

If you want to know how to remove dog urine odour from your artificial grass, you may visit our Dog Wee University!


Top Dog Turf



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1 Comment
  • David Cowburn
    Posted at 15:09h, 20 August Reply

    Would I need to put down first, some sort of type 1 as a base. what does the block paving sand sit on. I’m thinking type 1 would not drain? Thanks

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