DIY dog grass potty box for apartment pets
Living in Boston proper means that you're pretty much guaranteed to be in an apartment. In our case, we live in a condo on the 10th floor, which means that any pets won't have free run of a lawn any time they like. Charlie was actually born on a farm in South Dakota, and we felt so bad that he would now be walking more on hardwood and concrete than grass and dirt. Luckily, Charlie turned out to be a bit of a prima donna who enjoys the air conditioned life. However, we still wanted an easily accessible bit of nature where he could lounge and do his business. Not to mention the frigid Boston winters, when taking your dog out to potty means bundling up in a million layers and venturing out in the cold. Especially when you live in an apartment and it's not as simple as just opening the door to the backyard, all those trips can add up.
Anyway, we're lucky enough to have a balcony, and we wanted him to have his own little patch of grassy in the concrete jungle. A lot of our inspiration came from looking at city garden designs, and also the subscription grass boxes that some people use for their dogs to go potty. All of the supplies came from Home Depot, and cost a little over $100 in total. It took about 2 hours to assemble from scratch, and it's a great fast DIY project if you have a dog, or just want your own little urban oasis! Here's the finished product, with supplies and directions below and step-by-step photos. We decided to go with a 4x4 foot patch that fit perfectly on a corner of the balcony, but you can customize it to any size you'd like!
Supplies for a 4x4 ft grass box
- Pressure-treated lumber 2x4 (quantity = 4, cut to 4 ft length)
- L bracket or corner brace (quantity = 8)
- Screws, whatever fits your corner brace (quantity = 32)
- Gravel (not essential)
- Pegboard 4x4 (or whatever gets you to 16 sq ft total)
- Topsoil (2 cubic ft)
- Sod of your choice, we got ours from Home Depot (16 sq ft)
- Lay out all your supplies. We found it was easier to assemble the wood frame indoors and then do the rest outside.
- For the wood frame: arrange the lumber strips into a square with the wider side facing in.
- Use the L brackets and screws to secure the corners, with 2 brackets per corner like this
- Lay the first layer of gravel (a single layer should be enough. This isn't necessary, but it helps with water drainage).
- Place the pegboard on top of the gravel. You may have to cut it to fit, but just get it in a way that covers the gravel.
- Pour a 2 inch layer of topsoil on top of the pegboard.
- Unroll the sod and place on top of the topsoil. We had two 4x2 ft pieces of sod, which meant we just laid them down side by side and they took up the entire 4x4 ft area of the box.
- Water THOROUGHLY. For your sod to grow and last as long as possible, you have to water every day, sometimes twice a day. At the very start, I recommend watering 2-3x/day to help it settle into the topsoil.
- Enjoy! You will probably have to change out the sod layer every few months, depending on how well you water it (and how much puppers pees on it, which can be toxic to the grass). It sounds like a lot of work, but actually it only took an hour to assemble and a few minutes every day to water the grass. And Charlie LOVES It. It's totally worth it to have a little green space for him that's always available, and it's also been super helpful with potty training!