We have two active Collies and they are destroying the lawn. I don't like grass that much, and it's not holding up to the abuse, even though it's supposed to be a high traffic grass. They are not digging, only running and jumping. Is there a good plant substitution or a special type of grass that will hold up better? I live in North Idaho in zone 5a/6b. We are semi-arid and the soil is hard. Very sloped yard, so losing turf is sliding mud in the spring and fall into the yard. I am thinking of putting in landscape flexible cells to keep the erosion down, but would like suggestions of vegetation to keep the dirt in place and keep the paws clean.


If dogs are allowed on the grass during fall through to spring, it usually turns into a mud bath; even flexible landscape cells filled with grass will still be wrecked by the dogs running and jumping activities during those times.

Since you clearly don't want to keep the dogs off the grass, have you considered artificial turf? There are some very natural looking ones around now, and provided its laid properly and professionally in the first place, it shouldn't move even on a slope. The only things I've noticed with it have been the fact that it crunches when you walk on it, like frosted grass does, and it can get very, very hot in summer if you get hot summers, depends where you are. It can be cleaned, and any dog mess should be cleared and hosed off as soon as possible. Otherwise, hot items such as barbecue coals will burn it, so its not good too near a barbeque. On the plus side, it never needs mowing, always looks green and doesn't get muddy... one supplier's information here https://www.synlawn.com - if you do consider it, ask for samples of the turf.

  • Thank you, but after reading the recommendations, I doubt this is feasible with two dogs. Even if we cared for the turf properly, it seems like it would get stained and odiferous very quickly. As well as the need for the recommended detergents and soaps, which we can be fined heavily for using on a regular basis. Also, the reason I usually don't like grass is because it doesn't contribute many nutrients to the soil, and neither would artificial turf. Also, we have a quarter of an acre, so it's outside our budget. I might just put the cells down with some bark. Apr 1 '18 at 19:55
  • That's a better idea, trying to keep the area grassed even with cells will be very difficult. Not sure how well flexible cells will hold on a slope though.... There are other suppliers and fitters of artificial turf though,so prices may vary. As for the soil, well, I know what you mean, but AT is really just another form of soft 'hard' surfacing, like paving. Otherwise, create a run for your dogs in winter and keep the rest grassed or planted...
    – Bamboo
    Apr 1 '18 at 20:04
  • Thanks for your suggestions! I think I will start with bark on the less sloped areas, see how it goes, and then go from there. The geocells I'm looking at are made for slopes ,typargeosynthetics.com/products/geocells/… according to the manufacturer, but it's always good to test it out. I might have to give up on ground cover and landscape the yard to minimize their impact. Apr 1 '18 at 20:12

I know North Idaho, well. Dogs plus slope is tough to see success. There is another option. Provide the dogs their own paddock or dog run. Cultivate a separate lawn for dog play perhaps another for human play or additional paddock to add relief to the first paddock. We do this with horses...

Makes a far more interesting landscape than one seen at a glance from the backdoor. Heavily planted peninsulas can substitute for fencing. Boulder retaining walls placed to look natural. You should be thinking about terracing a bit to create outdoor rooms that feel and look stable?

before steep lawn

top 'room' right off deck flagstone floor

transition from deck to stone



transition from formal to informal

firepit water feature  kids don't use those swings anymore

  • Grass crete, geo tiles are expensive and trust me, I've never ever seen healthy grass in this stuff. Think more outside the box. Lawns aren't for slopes, or dogs, or horses. Grins. Rotated paddocks where you control the use or non use...i have two huge dogs, and we made a 40X30 paddock with 2" no jump wire fencing 6' high. No lawn but don't need them digging up the rest of the property and making it into mud. A cougar proof run for night would be good unless you allow them into the house during winter. Pea as well as crushed gravels are your friend.
    – stormy
    Apr 1 '18 at 20:44

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