Not All Turf Base is the Same: The Silent Culprit of Unpleasant Odors

By John Pla, Owner of TurFresh, with 20 years of expertise in artificial grass cleaning and installations.


When pet parents decide to switch to artificial grass, they’re often looking to elevate their property’s curb appeal and relish in the prospect of a low-maintenance yard for both their front and back lawns. The dream? A yard that’s forever green and immaculate and without an odor. However, for pet owners, especially those with playful little or big canines, that picture-perfect yard can sometimes be marred by an unexpected foe: odor. And the culprit isn’t just the type of artificial grass or infill you choose but the 2 – 4” of base lying and compacted underneath.

In my twenty-year journey at TurFresh, dedicated to mastering the nuances of artificial grass installations, I’ve encountered numerous projects where the turf wasn’t the problem; it was the base material beneath it. Let’s unravel the mystery of bases and understand how a misguided or misinformed choice can lead to lingering, unwelcome odors.

5 Types of Base Layers for Artificial Lawns

Thanks to industry advancements, homeowners now have a range of reliable options for base layers, each offering unique advantages:

Pea Gravel Base

Comprising tiny, rounded rocks, pea gravel, commonly used for pathways and patios, can be a tricky choice for turf bases. Their round and slippery nature can lead to shifts, resulting in a less compacted, uneven surface over time.

Crushed Misc. Base

A preferred choice for budget-conscious homeowners, this type of base is a blend of Portland cement and asphalt concrete. It’s not only economical compared to granite but also boasts commendable compaction. Plus, there’s the option of using recycled materials for the eco-friendly homeowner.

Decomposed Granite

Consisting of smaller granite fragments, this turf base provides a smooth underlying surface and top-notch drainage. However, it’s on the pricier side and tends to settle in the first year, causing potential unevenness.

Crushed Aggregate

Distinct from the miscellaneous base, this variant can comprise different mixes of crushed rock, asphalt, and concrete. Its array of particle sizes and jagged edges allows for durable and reliable compaction. Homeowners also have the flexibility to select between finer or coarser aggregate materials.

Class II Road Base

A premium choice for artificial turf enthusiasts, this base is a specialized blend of small and large aggregates, perfect for various applications, from driveways to patios. With its permeable nature ensuring exceptional drainage and resilience even under frequent footfall, it’s a top choice for quality installers.

Navigating and Neutralizing Odors

The secret to an odor-free artificial grass lies in:

Optimal Drainage: Regardless of your base choice, it’s crucial to guarantee swift drainage, preventing the stagnation of liquids like urine and liquified feces.

Routine Maintenance: A consistent cleaning regimen with TurFresh is indispensable. Regular rinsing, combined with the TurFresh BioS+ Enzyme cleaner, promises a continually fresh-smelling turf.

Quality Turf Selection: Lean towards artificial grass variants that boast anti-microbial features, assisting in minimizing bacterial growth which would include the proper Turfill.

For those already dealing with constant odor challenges, the path forward might necessitate anything from a comprehensive turf cleanse to a total revamp of the base, contingent on the issue’s depth.

In Conclusion

At TurFresh, our core mission has perennially been empowering pet parents to extract maximum joy from their artificial lawns. The essence of an exceptional artificial grass installation, metaphorically and practically, rests in the perfect type of base. Make informed choices, stay committed to upkeep, and when in doubt, always lean on experts. Your dream of a fragrant, picturesque lawn is absolutely attainable!

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