I recently built a small enclosed outdoor area for my cats to enjoy the outside (aka a "catio"). There is a pet door for them to come and go as they please. Human included for scale.
We also have a small dog that we want to use it when we're not home to relieve himself. Therefore, we plan to remove the gravel and replace it with artificial grass.
I've watched several DIY artificial grass installing videos online. The basic preparation steps seem to boil down to:
- Remove current landscaping material (in our case, gravel).
- Grade the exposed dirt.
- Build wooden frame around perimeter.
- Pour some kind of compacted leveling substrate over the dirt and pack it flat.
- Install artificial grass on top of substrate.
- Attach outer edge of grass to wooden frame.
This enclosed area is only for small animals. The animals are mainly indoor pets, so the installation does not need to be very durable or need to stand up to heavy use. It seems like a lot of the preparation for an artificial grass installation is predicated around being able to withstand full-size humans running around on it for years.
That said, what is the minimum artificial grass installation we can get away with for our specific use case? Can we get away with laying the grass directly on the dirt below? Do we still need to build a perimeter or can we stake the grass directly into the dirt? Are there other "cheats" we can do that will be good enough for a pet area and allow us to save time and money?
Edit: There is a dog door that gives both species of animals unlimited access into and out of the enclosure. We expect only the dog will use the grass to relieve himself, and then only when we're not home to let him outside into the larger backyard.