As any loving dog owner will know, keeping your garden lawn looking pristine in a house inhabited by hounds is so not going to happen.

However, I am here to tell you that there is a magic solution that will completely dog-proof your lawn for the long-term. Despite the best efforts of our two naughty Jack Russells, our lawn is still looking fabulous and green a couple of years down the line - here's how we did it...

First up, here's how the lawn looked when we first moved in:

One massive garden renovation later, and things were looking a little like this:

On yes. More people should accessorise their gardens with random old nasty concrete flagstones, I feel.

Our garden design called for an oval lawn, so we measured one out with the aid of a hosepipe and some bamboo canes:

We ordered the turf, stomped down the soil, laid down the rolls, and cut it into a nice oval with a kitchen knife.

It looked good for about three weeks, and then the dogs basically destroyed it (dog pee + lawn = scorched yellow holes).

So we dug up the scorched parts, planted new seed, and waited for it to grow. The grass that did manage to grow (rather than being ripped up by eight enthusiastic paws) was immediately peed on, turned yellow, and had to be dug up and replanted.

Culprit Numero Uno:

This continued for a good six months - Andre was determined that he wasn't going to be beaten into submission by a 6m x 4m oval of grass and a couple of terracotta and white beasts, and so he headed out there every weekend to patiently dig up and replant the grass. Meanwhile, I had been researching online, and had come up with a solution - however, said solution was expensive, and my husband is stubborn, so The Great Andre Versus Lawn War of 2008 continued apace.

Until eventually Andre cracked and admitted defeat, we ordered the new turf, and laid it in a very similar way to the first lot. Only this time we used long wooden pegs  and a few screws to secure it to the ground.

Check it out:

Let's take a closer look:

Can you tell what it is yet?

Yep, we laid an artificial lawn. And it's awesome. It feels soft underfoot, it looks great, it requires zero maintenance, and we never have to mow the lawn again. We did agonise over the various samples, but eventually settled for a short, luscious green one, on the grounds that although the longer ones with brown grass woven into the green looked more realistic, why on earth would we want a fake lawn that permanently looked as if it needed a good mow and decent amount of watering?

Alice and Andre 1 : Penny and Enrique 0.