Hi, Lori – My wife and I are about to put our house on the market and the realtor is pushing for us to get it listed within the next two weeks. The problem is the lawn. We have a large hunting dog and he’s made a total mess of the backyard! We have a lot of patches of missing grass and even a few completely dead spots all over the place! How can we fix this before launch time? It looks like a war zone!


Panicked in St. Louis, MO


Thank you for the question, Panicked, though really nothing to panic about! I am sure your puppy enjoyed the time he spent out back, so perhaps the long-term positives will out weigh the short-term negatives in this case, though I most certainly do understand your dilemma.

A well-maintained yard is a huge selling point for potential buyers, and a lawn in less-than-stellar condition can be a turn-off for many. While planting grass seed from scratch might still be an option, with a two-week deadline looming overhead, my suggestion would be to go with sod for instant results! Buyers can only see what’s there right now, and in this case, you want to make sure they are definitely seeing green!

Check out the local home improvement stores and garden centers for a sod that matches the grass already in place. Then you will need to prepare the ground for planting. In the areas where the lawn has simply been dug up or has been stomped to death with all that chasing around your pup did, rake up the dead grass and roots, lightly till the ground beneath, then add a layer of top soil to fill in the gaps and even out the trouble spots before laying the sod.

However, if the grass died due to an over concentration of dog urine, you will need to flush the nitrates that remain behind with the garden hose, allowing ample time between each watering for sufficient drainage, then follow the same steps as directed above. Once the sod is in place, make sure to give your new grass another watering, then keep it moist, not drenched, during the next few weeks to give it a chance to take root.

Sod really is a fast and simple solution for a troubled lawn when your goal is to get your house on the market quickly and still appeal to the most buyers possible.

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