My backyard lawn has always been slightly "patchy." My yard keeper attributes this to my two female dogs. I've been willing to believe him as the front yard grass has not had this problem and the backyard grass eventually gets green (even if it fills in w/ a bit of clover).

Unfortunately, this year it is not getting green. I've included some photos to illustrate:

patchy grass patchy grass patchy grass patchy grass

What are my options to fix a yard which has become this patchy?

3 Answers 3


You will find a lot of questions about grass maintenance on the right side bar and the answers tend to cluster around similar themes.

  • Fast solution: re sod and water thoroughly for first few weeks
  • Slow solution: aerate and dethatch yearly, over seed and top dress twice a year

But...your dogs are playing a part with the "paw" traffic and a bit of digging. Consider fencing off an area for a dog run to let the rest of the lawn recover.

  • For the slow solution should I dethatch and then put down top dressing first or seed first and then put top dressing over it or other way around? I have big patches of patchy grass and I would really like to fix it up. I have no pets which will cause any issues either. Thanks!
    – user1546
    Commented Aug 23, 2012 at 18:55

My understanding is your lawn problem is part plant, part canine. Your dog's urine is burning your lawn, weakening it, and then killing it. (female dogs, in particular, cause this issue.) While your dog urinates apparently randomly, there probably is some sort of statistical pattern, as seen in the photos. :-)

If you didn't have a dog, and you had the patience, I would rake in fresh dirt into your bare spots, seed, rake, then water daily for 14 days. That will fill in your lawn, which is what I every year, so some extent.

But, because if your dogs, the seeding may not work as well. I would suggest sodding. go for the larger bare places first. place the sod (instructions all over internet) in open fresh dirt) then water the heck out of it for 7 days, cutting back the next week. this will make your lawn look much better. do this section by section, learning as you go. it wont be perfect, but it will look great.

You'll continue to have this issue, because of your dog. I would suggest working at in little by little. (sometimes, I'll rip out a piece of lawn, buy a piece of sod, and shove it in. I have a female dog too.) Also, and it maybe alittle OCD, but watering the lawn after the dog urinates will reduce the burning on the lawn. R

oh, consider keeping your lawn a little longer. I mean, ask your lawn guy to cut at a higher level.


They make these pills that you can give your dogs, a bit on the expensive side and you can give them any way they will take it. For my dog i have to shove it in her treats cause she wouldn't take em any other way. But i can say that it works really well, did it for a full summer and found a big difference by just doing that. And it tells you on the bottle how many pills your dog needs per day because its calculated by the size of the dog. And right now i dont remember the name of these pills but im sure with a bit of research you will find them, i hope this helps you out and if you try them i hope they work for you.

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