Building an outdoor bathroom area
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Thread: Building an outdoor bathroom area

  1. #1
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    Building an outdoor bathroom area

    Hello,

    I'd like to section off a 10x6 area of my yard for my new puppy to do her business and I'm wondering what material to use, she already uses this area now and it's a nice little distance away from the house and the rest of the yard.

    My landscaper suggested 3/4" River Stone and said he's built them for other clients.

    My neighbor has a "mulch pit" and he said his dogs loved it and he would just go out there and turn it over with a shovel once a week.

    It seems like the mulch would get messy in the rain? Has anyone else built one of these? What materials would you recommend?

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  3. #2
    Senior Member kerplunk105's Avatar
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    Re: Building an outdoor bathroom area

    I really really want to do this as well. We used to have an amazingly nice backyard-great grass. Now its 95% dirt and then mud.

    I hope some people post up suggestions!
    Elizabeth
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    Tegan, 11/22/2009, Weimaraner/Labrador

  4. #3
    Senior Member Shell's Avatar
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    Re: Building an outdoor bathroom area

    Mulch holds moisture to the soil which is why its so good to place around plants and trees to keep the roots damp. But it also drains the water down to the dirt, keeping it away from the surface. The wood chips get damp but it doesn't turn into a mud pit. Try feeling some mulched flower beds at a neighbors or a park after a rain to see how it works with your local soil. The problem I see with it is that pee will be soaked up by the mulch rather than draining through. Most dogs love to pee on mulch. Make sure to get regular wood mulch and not the cocoa shell mulch (cocoa being poisonous to dogs)

    Some people use sand, fine playground grade which will drain well and pack down. Will drain the pee away and the poop will be easy enough to grab on top. Downside is that while mulch breaks down to dirt and can later be replated with grass, it will be harder to turn a sandpit back into a yard.

    Pea gravel is efficient at drainage and the larger sizes of it isn't tracked into the house too much. Some dogs don't seem to like the "splash-back" effect though. But it freezes very slick if you tend to get wet and cold winters. It is also nearly impossible to remove to later plant grass.

    An alternative is basically a moving poop spot-- make 2 areas and alternate between them to give the grass time to recover.
    Last edited by Shell; 04-15-2010 at 01:23 PM.

  5. #4
    Senior Member hanksimon's Avatar
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    Re: Building an outdoor bathroom area

    I have a 60 lb dog and he goes potty on a grassy area hidden between two flower beds. The grass is St Augustine, similar to Centipede, and poop is fairly easy to scoop up, pee doesn't seem to burn it.

    So, I suggest leaving the area with grass rather than having to maintain pea stones, etc.

  6. #5
    Senior Member nekomi's Avatar
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    Re: Building an outdoor bathroom area

    I really like the pea gravel kennels I have. The stones do freeze together in the winter, which is the major drawback. But, they are easy to scoop and clean in the summer, easy to hose down and deodorize if needed, and stay looking good all summer. They don't hold any odor and if you lay them down over a landscape cloth or hardware cloth, it's easier to get them back up off the ground if you want to go back to grass.

    A friend has a beautifully landscaped yard that is mostly river rock. It's gorgeous, and it's very, very easy to clean up after her dogs (at one point she owned 3 huskies there). It always looks beautiful and smells completely clean.

    I'd strongly recommend NOT using mulch. I use wood shavings on the deck kennel and have to change them out frequently - they get wet with urine and quite gross, even when scooped twice daily. I would think that it would hold odor pretty bad in the summer if you meant for it to be permanent.
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  7. #6
    Senior Member Shell's Avatar
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    Re: Building an outdoor bathroom area

    Quote Originally Posted by nekomi View Post
    A friend has a beautifully landscaped yard that is mostly river rock. It's gorgeous, and it's very, very easy to clean up after her dogs (at one point she owned 3 huskies there). It always looks beautiful and smells completely clean.

    I really like this option for its ease of maintainance- no mowing grass mostly!
    But make sure its river rock which is smooth and not just large rock gravel (as opposed to pea gravel) because regular road gravel is hard on the paws.

    Maybe its just my dog's foot shape, but the pea gravel size gets stuck between his paw pads. Personally, I just have grass and it has stayed fine even after a cold and wet winter. I hate mowing it but its easy enough to keep clean. Try planting a dense grass or groundcover to reduce the mud issue.

  8. #7
    Senior Member railNtrailcowgrl's Avatar
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    Re: Building an outdoor bathroom area

    Quote Originally Posted by nekomi View Post
    I really like the pea gravel kennels I have. The stones do freeze together in the winter, which is the major drawback. But, they are easy to scoop and clean in the summer, easy to hose down and deodorize if needed, and stay looking good all summer. They don't hold any odor and if you lay them down over a landscape cloth or hardware cloth, it's easier to get them back up off the ground if you want to go back to grass.

    A friend has a beautifully landscaped yard that is mostly river rock. It's gorgeous, and it's very, very easy to clean up after her dogs (at one point she owned 3 huskies there). It always looks beautiful and smells completely clean.

    I'd strongly recommend NOT using mulch. I use wood shavings on the deck kennel and have to change them out frequently - they get wet with urine and quite gross, even when scooped twice daily. I would think that it would hold odor pretty bad in the summer if you meant for it to be permanent.
    Is the mulch bad for solids? Pebbles pees sporadically through out the yard only occasionally urinating in her 'pooping grounds'. I would like to make a cheap and easy poo cleaning solution in that part of the yard. Due to us renting I don't want to take the time or spend the money to dig down, lay fabric, and stone the top, ect... I just want to fence off a section with 'garden fence' (like what hulk has in his back yard), spray the weeds that are growing there, and top it off with mulch. Do you think that it will hold odors horribly if she only poops there? I'm not worried about the ammonia smell because she honestly probably pees there once a week, if that.

    All my dogs have been scamps and thieves and troublemakers and I've adored them all. ~Helen Hayes

  9. #8
    Member sukhakuli's Avatar
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    Re: Building an outdoor bathroom area

    We sectioned off our side yard for the dog. It was a lot of work, so you may want to hire someone.

    For one thing, I suggest that you put it off of your house so you can have a dog door. It's really nice having a dog door! At one place we lived he had free access, right now he has to ask and I just let him out in the garage, and there is a door there to the dog run. It's nice if he can just go out whenever he wants.

    My husband did all the work, so I'll just tell you what he did. We have a wood privacy fence, so we only blocked off the entrance to the rest of the yard, but we wanted it longer so it goes out to the end of the patio and makes an L turn to the house. He dug holes 5 feet deep (no joke, and it was a lot of work, but my husband does not believe in doing anything half way) and poured concrete in these holes. Inside the holes he inserted the poles for the chainlink fence. Once they were dry he covered the ground one foot in front of and one foot behind in concrete (to prevent digging out). He then installed the gate and the fence. Our dog is pretty smart, and we had to redo the gate latch a few times because he could open it. Then he started climbing it (yeah, my 80 lb GSD can climb), but now he has given up and happily uses the facilities. I think he was worried that he wouldn't ever go in the yard with the kids. Once he figured out he can still go out there and play with them, he was OK.

    Half of the substrate is grass, and half is mulch. DO NOT USE COCOA SHELL MULCH. It's like chocolate, it can kill dogs. I covered the chain link fence with grape vines, so it's pretty, and yummy!. The whole area is about 15x40, or so, so we scoop it out a couple of times a week. It's so large it doesn't really get yucky.

  10. #9
    Senior Member railNtrailcowgrl's Avatar
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    Re: Building an outdoor bathroom area

    Quote Originally Posted by sukhakuli View Post
    We sectioned off our side yard for the dog. It was a lot of work, so you may want to hire someone.

    For one thing, I suggest that you put it off of your house so you can have a dog door. It's really nice having a dog door! At one place we lived he had free access, right now he has to ask and I just let him out in the garage, and there is a door there to the dog run. It's nice if he can just go out whenever he wants.

    My husband did all the work, so I'll just tell you what he did. We have a wood privacy fence, so we only blocked off the entrance to the rest of the yard, but we wanted it longer so it goes out to the end of the patio and makes an L turn to the house. He dug holes 5 feet deep (no joke, and it was a lot of work, but my husband does not believe in doing anything half way) and poured concrete in these holes. Inside the holes he inserted the poles for the chainlink fence. Once they were dry he covered the ground one foot in front of and one foot behind in concrete (to prevent digging out). He then installed the gate and the fence. Our dog is pretty smart, and we had to redo the gate latch a few times because he could open it. Then he started climbing it (yeah, my 80 lb GSD can climb), but now he has given up and happily uses the facilities. I think he was worried that he wouldn't ever go in the yard with the kids. Once he figured out he can still go out there and play with them, he was OK.

    Half of the substrate is grass, and half is mulch. DO NOT USE COCOA SHELL MULCH. It's like chocolate, it can kill dogs. I covered the chain link fence with grape vines, so it's pretty, and yummy!. The whole area is about 15x40, or so, so we scoop it out a couple of times a week. It's so large it doesn't really get yucky.
    Just to let you know grapes are known to be just as toxic to dogs as chocolate!

    All my dogs have been scamps and thieves and troublemakers and I've adored them all. ~Helen Hayes

  11. #10
    Senior Member poodleholic's Avatar
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    Re: Building an outdoor bathroom area

    I went with rock. Far more sanitary and easy to keep that way. Mulch is . . .in a word, yuk! It stnks, too.

  12. #11
    Super Moderator RonE's Avatar
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    Re: Building an outdoor bathroom area

    Pea gravel is efficient at drainage and the larger sizes of it isn't tracked into the house too much.
    Shouldn't that be pee gravel?

  13. #12
    Senior Member winniec777's Avatar
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    Re: Building an outdoor bathroom area

    We've used a mulched area for 4 years with no issues. There's no smell and the mulch is easy to top off and replace when needed. Just be sure to pick up after every poo. You can spray every so often with a water/bleach solution (10 parts water/1 bleach), but I'll admit that's not as effective as it would be on pea/pee (!) gravel.

    Our potty area is part of the landscaping - it's connected to a low berm with bushes, another line of evergreens that form a low screen, and there's a tree planted on one side of it. Although pea gravel performs better as a potty area, I like the look of it integrated into the landscape vs. having it be an obvious separate area used for a doggy bathroom.

  14. #13
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    Re: Building an outdoor bathroom area

    Hello, I am new here, and I have a puzzling situation, my wife and I built our dog (Izzie) a very nice 4 x 12 with 3/4" river rock outdoor spot, she goes there 99% pf the time, except when the area wet from rain or grass watering, does someone have an idea as to why?
    Thanks

  15. #14
    Senior Member hanksimon's Avatar
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    Re: Building an outdoor bathroom area

    Guessing - Some small dogs don't like the feeling of getting their feet wet. My dog is a large Lab, who loves water ... and puddles :-(
    But he tries not to get his feet wet in the back yard... possibly, because he really doesn't like it when I dry his feet! How large and what type of dog is Izzie?


    @RonE: Pea gravel is useful for good landscaping. But pee gravel is more efficient for drainage... so you are correct ... ;-)

  16. #15
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    Re: Building an outdoor bathroom area

    Hello HankSimon,
    Izzie is a 65lbs GoldenDoodle
    Thanks

  17. #16
    Senior Member hanksimon's Avatar
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    Re: Building an outdoor bathroom area

    No clue, except a learned response that might be similar to my Lab. If Izzie gets her paws wet, do you dry them off ? Most dogs really don't like to have their paws handled (the tops are sensitive, and the Webbing between the toes appears to be sensitive... for dogs with webbed feet). You can train them 'not to mind' as much by providing treats.

    I imagine that a golden doodle loves water...

  18. #17
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    Re: Building an outdoor bathroom area

    Thanks Hank,
    Izzie does love the water, and she does not mind when her feet get wet and we have to dry them.

  19. #18
    Senior Member hanksimon's Avatar
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    Re: Building an outdoor bathroom area

    ... No other guesses :-)

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