As a pet owner living in an apartment building, you will know the hassle of the midnight pyjama run, and the even more dreaded early-morning-street-wake up. Try this cheap and simple way of bringing you and your pet some much needed relief by creating your own little (REAL) grass lawn.
You will need the following ingredients for the DIY doggie relief station. Thrifty saver tip, remember to check your local 99cent store for these basic items.
- A shallow tray. Plastic works best as it is most resistant to moisture. If you can’t find one at the 99 cent store, hardware stores sell them as plant seedling trays. Remember it must be shallow enough for your pet to climb onto, but not too shallow as it must hold several layers of soil, grass, etc.
- Cardboard. Make sure it does not contain any ink or wax like the kind found on milk and juice cartons. Check the recycling room of your building for a clean box (thanks to the wonderful age of online shopping, this should not be too hard to get).
- Bark shreds. Bark is usually sold in hardware and or garden stores. You could also probably find it at your local playground (scattered around the slide area) if you want to be super thrifty about it.
- Soil. You can use simple garden soil (and while you are at the playground…), or potting soil will work well. Any kind of soil will do however the higher the quality (the softer and fluffier the better), the healthier the grass will be. This is important since you will not have worms working to air out the layer of soil beneath the grass as you normally world in a garden.
- Garden turf. Usually found in hardware and or garden stores rolled up like a cinnamon bun.
- A sharp knife or garden scissors to cut the turf with.
STEP ONE. Poke holes in the tray for drainage, making at least one hole in each corner of the receptacle as well as a few in the middle.
STEP TWO. Lay down a thin layer of cardboard. The cardboard will help with moisture absorption while keeping out weed growth.
STEP THREE. Once the cardboard is laid out you can sprinkle about 1/2 inches of shredded bark on top. This will also be a vital component to the moisture absorption, especially if your miniature lawn will be exposed to rain fall on a terrace or balcony. Without proper drainage your grass will drown and eventually die.
STEP FOUR. Add about 1 inch of soil filling in the corners .
STEP FIVE. Cut the grass to size. It is best to measure the plastic tray before cutting the grass, so as to not cut too little or too much.
QUICK TIP- Encourage your dog to use the grass box by giving them a treat and a cheer every time they use it. Once they understand that not only is it okay for them to “go” there (with the help of positive reinforcement), but that it is encouraged, they will actually begin to enjoy using it, and continuing to mark their tiny patch of territory.
My dog (little fur ball in the picture above) actually visits his little grass patch even after we return from a long walk. It is as though he feels the need to re-mark it, just incase anyone else during the time we were away should have gotten any funny ideas about who it belongs to.
ANOTHER QUICK TIP- If at first your dog does not take to it, invite one of their little four legged friends over and try to get them to use it. If your dog sees and (smells) another dog’s… scent, they will quickly try to cover it with their own, there by igniting a long flowing relationship with their new grass box.
UPDATE: A year later the grass trays are going strong, and are still a huge sense of relief for both me and my dog. Remember to keep the grass fresh by watering it regularly to avoid the pee spots from killing the grass and becoming muddy pockets. You can also add pet safe-seed to spots that need it most, keeping pastures lush on your tiny “lawn”.