Artificial turf may seem like an easy, maintenance-free alternative to real grass. But in reality, its downsides are numerous — including one drawback that a homeowner who installed it probably never saw coming.
“I bought a house that has artificial grass in the backyard,” wrote a Redditor seeking advice on the r/landscaping subreddit. “Previous owner’s dog would urinate here and the smell comes up when it rains. I used NaturVet Yard Odor Eliminator, vinegar, and simple green odor remover. The smell still exists… Help!”
In addition to trapping the smell of animal urine (which real grass does not do), artificial grass or turf has several other negative consequences, including leeching microplastics and other toxins into the soil beneath it, adding to overall plastic pollution, trapping heat, and harming actual wildlife by depriving pollinators of their access to food.
Plus, it just doesn’t look very nice. It’s a fake version of something real, after all. And it’s not as low maintenance as people believe it is when they install it. Weeds have been known to grow right through artificial turf, necessitating frequent and difficult maintenance projects.
Although the original poster may have been looking for a less drastic solution, the answer from the comments section was clear: Rip that artificial turf out and replace it with something living.
“I would rip it all up and plant some wildflowers with stepping stones,” wrote one commenter. “They actually help prevent ‘weeds’ and are pretty low maintenance. That will definitely get rid of the smell. Otherwise scrubbing it with a broom, salt and cold water could help.”
“Odor remediation 101, you cannot get rid of the smell until the source is gone,” wrote another.
“If you’re totally against the idea of using any kind of ground cover plant just put down some mulch. The artificial turf is awful for numerous reasons,” contributed a third.
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