Last year we replaced our grass in the backyard with a layer of wood chips to cut down on maintenance. This works really, really well. The wood chips don’t need to be mowed or watered. Every couple years we will have to put another half ton or so of wood chips down to fill in the gaps, but that maintenance is very easy and not very expensive. The big problem with wood chips is that it’s harder to pick up dog poop out of wood chips than out of grass.
To fix this problem, we taught the dogs to poop in one corner of the yard and then installed turf over in that corner. We did this project quite a while ago, but just recently made a change to it.
The turf that we used was cheap, I think it was around $200 total. We used a bag filled with sand attached to a string as a compass to mark cut lines and then sliced it with a box cutter into this neat curvy shape.
The turf area was originally edged with plastic landscape edging, which I would not recommend. When the dogs run and slide into the edging, it flexes and wiggles free from the ground. Normally I would use metal edging, but the fact that the dogs can run and slide into it means that the dogs could get cut on any burr or defect in the edging, even if it has a rolled top.
We decided that bricks would be a much better solution, since they are heavy enough the dogs won’t move them and they do not present any more danger to the dogs than any other hard surface would.