Dog Pee Killing Your Grass? The Solution

In my previous blog post, How to Build an Outdoor Dog Potty Area, I wrote step-by-step instructions (photos included) on the DIY home improvement project that saved my grass from urine burn.

Dog pee kills grass…period. There are all sorts of urine burn lawn repair products out there, but I don’t know any that really work.

I have four female retrievers. They produce large amounts of urine. There isn’t a product out there to help me. If I let them run in my backyard and do their business, their urine would take out my backyard lawn in one season. I had to come up with a plan.

Poop doesn’t kill grass. Urine does. So why not confine the damage to one area–an areas without grass. I made this dog potty area on the side of my house.

The outdoor dog potty built to save my grass from urine burn because my dogs pee kills the grass

How to Build an Outdoor Dog Potty

Word of Caution: If your dog is prone to eating inappropriate things like toys, rocks, bedding, etc. this project may not be for you unless you take the dog out on leash and correct the dog if it attempts to lower its head to eat the gravel. My dogs don’t have dog beds or crate mats because they eat them. However, this project worked for them because I keep them on leash when they use the area and they don’t have access to it at any other time. Remember, your dog relies on your supervision. Now on to the project.

The original blog post has been extremely popular and two years later, I still receive photos and thank you’s from folks that have taken my project and added their own style. Take a look at the fabulous results!

We start with Tony and Cheryl. This ambitious couple built their outdoor dog potty around a path with stepping stones that lead to their outdoor pool. Fantastic! I received this email from them along with the following photos:

Outdoor dog potty project is a path that leads to an outdoor pool.

Tony & Cheryl built their outdoor dog potty in a gravel path that leads to their outdoor pool.

“Your outdoor dog potty idea was just what I was looking for. We have 2 Havanese dogs that are inside dogs that only go outside to “do their business”. One of our dogs got ahold of a poisonous frog a couple of weeks ago and was very scary. We had to take him to the emergency vet and after keeping him all day and couple of charcoal treatments later not to mention $400 we couldn’t start our outdoor potty soon enough.”

“Since my husband is in the aluminum business, we decided to incorporate our outdoor dog potty area into an extension of our pool enclosure. We put an insulated roof over it and screened it in and put a gate to separate the new area from the rest of the pool enclosure. Now we can take the dogs outside rain or shine and don’t even have to get wet. It’s fantastic!  It took a little training to get them to “do their business” out there but it is so worth it. Great idea thanks for posting it!
Tony & Cheryl”

Excavating an area close to the house to prepare to build an outdoor dog potty.

Step One – Excavation – Tony and Cheryl’s outdoor dog potty project begins .

A couple puts pea gravel and plantings in an area designated as an outdoor dog potty.

Step Two – Laying the pea gravel for the outdoor dog potty, setting the stepping stones in place and installing plantings and fire hydrant.

Enclosed outdoor dog potty

Step Three – After filling the area with pea gravel, stepping stones and plantings, Tony and Cheryl put up the aluminum support beams for the enclosure.

Finished enclosed outdoor dog potty.

Step Four – Tony and Cheryl have added an insulated roof and screening and connected it as an extension to the original pool structure. A gate separates the dog potty from the original pool enclosure.

What a great job! Wow!

Here are some other folks and their original versions of the outdoor dog potty:

A spring themed outdoor dog potty area.

SPRING was the theme of Kim’s outdoor dog potty area.

Dog using outdoor dog potty.

Mauricio’s dog is already using the new outdoor dog potty!

Outdoor dog potty with fenced kennel area.

S.L. created his outdoor dog potty and included a fenced in kennel area.

Outdoor dog potty area with stairs.

@Wheatmonkeys built his dog potty against his back fence and garage using clean lines and adding stairs to keep the dog potty area level.

Next is Sam. His owner sent me this message: “…Sam when he had just arrived. It took him about four or five days before he finally went in his new potty. I actually had to cut a patch of grass and put it on it so that he would know to go there. Once he got used to it, I took it away and he just kept on going in the area, it has been awesome.”

outdoor dog potty

Sam getting acquainted with his new potty area.

Stephen J. was really clever! He converted a raised garden bed into a dog potty complete with a center section of artificial turf (great idea, right?!) AND outdoor motion sensor lights for nighttime bathroom breaks! Check this out!

Stephen's dog potty with turf

Greg G. tells us how he made his dog potty:

“I used 3/4” multi-tan gravel for the first layer, and pea stone multi-tan second layer.  I had the gravel delivered by the half yard and wheel barreled from the driveway. The cost of buying it by the bag was more than having it delivered from the local nursery (even after paying for two deliveries…they gave me half off second delivery since they don’t have a load separator in their trucks).  I bought a roll of the fiberglass screen at Home Depot for $29 that was 5′ wide by 24′ long; which fit my 8’x6′ box perfectly.  I rolled it the direction of the 6′ length left starting on the left side, with the 2′ seam overlap in the middle.  I staples it to the boards along the 8′ cross beam and stapled it to the sides as I rolled it down.  After I was done I finish cut with a good razor blade knife.  So roll, staple, then cut with razor blade (don’t bother with scissors).  I also hosed and tamped the layers of rock several times after taking out loads to aid initial settling.

Otis comes Saturday.  He’ll be an 8 week old Chocolate Labradoodle, and we’re hoping to exercise his intelligent “doodle brain” and train him to eliminate on this sweet new potty box!

P.S. If anyone knows of a good fake fire hydrant, it would make for a great piece of “useable” art!  All the ones I’ve found online look cheap and not durable.”


build an outdoor dog potty

Look how neat and clean this looks. Well done and solid!

dog potty area

Alex added a roof over his dog potty area. He lives in a climate where the sun bakes the stones. This will be much cooler for his dog’s paws and will protect the dog from the rain.

Alice L. made an outdoor dog potty for her chihuahua.

She used pea gravel for the enclosure and used a border of larger river rock to catch any pea gravel that got kicked out. She built it right next to the patio so the dog’s paw don’t get muddy. She used a gated enclosure because they have a lot of raccoons in the area. And because her dog doesn’t like rain or snow, she created a roof over top that keeps them both dry while she waits for him to do his business. A clever design, Alice!

Interested in making your own dog potty area and saving your grass? Read the instructions in the blog post How to Build an Outdoor Dog Potty Area and add your own flair. Just remember to build the dog potty on soil to allow for drainage. This design doesn’t work on concrete and should never be used on an apartment balcony.

Want me to post your success photos? Email your completed project photos to me at and I’ll post them here. Good luck everyone and say hello to green grass!