The Crappiest Lawns in America

Front yard sign urging folks to pick up their dog's pet waste.

Where are the crappiest lawns in America? They’re all over the country and likely on your own street. See, we’re not talking about yards that look crappy, we’re talking about lawns where your dog does his or her business.

We at LawnStarter mined our own data and surveyed our yard care pros about the challenges of mowing grass where Fido and Rover rule the roost or at least the yard. We ranked the Crappiest Lawns in America by metro area based on the number of pet waste complaints from our pros divided by the number of mowing jobs.

Man’s best friend, it turns out, is not universally beloved by the man or woman mowing your lawn — or your neighbors.

Table of Contents

  1. Metro Areas with the Crappiest Lawns in America
  2. Why You Should Clean Up After your Dog
  3. Lawn Care Professionals Survey
  4. Methodology

Metro Areas with the Crappiest Lawns in America

  1. Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, WA
  2. Colorado Springs, CO
  3. Toledo, OH
  4. Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale, AZ
  5. El Paso, TX
  6. San Diego-Chula Vista-Carlsbad, CA
  7. Buffalo-Cheektowaga-Niagara Falls, NY
  8. Lansing-East Lansing, MI
  9. Asheville, NC
  10. Albany-Schenectady-Troy, NY
Metro AreaPoo Incidents per 100 Jobs
1. Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, WA1.59
2. Colorado Springs, CO1.44
3. Toledo, OH1.16
4. Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale, AZ1.11
5. El Paso, TX1.03
6. San Diego-Chula Vista-Carlsbad, CA1.03
7. Buffalo-Cheektowaga-Niagara Falls, NY0.99
8. Lansing-East Lansing, MI0.7
9. Asheville, NC0.66
10. Albany-Schenectady-Troy, NY0.59
11. Portland-Vancouver-Hillsboro, OR-WA0.57
12. Spokane-Spokane Valley, WA0.55
13. Sacramento-Roseville-Folsom, CA0.53
14. Fresno, CA0.52
15. Denver-Aurora-Lakewood, CO0.48
16. Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, CA0.45
17. Cleveland-Elyria, OH0.4
18. Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, IL-IN-WI0.35
19. Providence-Warwick, RI-MA0.35
20. Salt Lake City, UT0.34
21. Detroit-Warren-Dearborn, MI0.33
22. New Haven-Milford, CT0.32
23. Charleston-North Charleston, SC0.31
24. Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington, MN-WI0.31
25. Pittsburgh, PA0.31
26. Allentown-Bethlehem-Easton, PA-NJ0.29
27. Indianapolis-Carmel-Anderson, IN0.29
28. Rochester, NY0.29
29. Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim, CA0.27
30. Columbia, SC0.26
31. Des Moines-West Des Moines, IA0.24
32. Oklahoma City, OK0.23
33. Virginia Beach-Norfolk-Newport News, VA-NC0.21
34. Madison, WI0.2
35. Milwaukee-Waukesha-West Allis, WI0.2
36. Baltimore-Columbia-Towson, MD0.19
37. San Antonio-New Braunfels, TX0.19
38. Worcester, MA-CT0.19
39. Austin-Round Rock-San Marcos, TX0.18
40. Chattanooga, TN-GA0.18
41. Stockton-Lodi-Tracy, CA0.18
42. Jackson, MS0.17
43. Syracuse, NY0.17
44. Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater, FL0.17
45. Dayton, OH0.16
46. Boston-Cambridge-Newton, MA-NH0.15
47. Cincinnati, OH-KY-IN0.15
48. Columbus, OH0.15
49. Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington, TX0.15
50. Deltona-Daytona Beach-Ormond Beach, FL0.15
51. Miami-Fort Lauderdale-West Palm Beach, FL0.15
52. Little Rock-North Little Rock-Conway, AR0.14
53. Philadelphia-Camden-Wilmington, PA-NJ-DE-MD0.14
54. Tulsa-Broken Arrow-Owasso, OK0.14
55. Memphis, TN-MS-AR0.13
56. Raleigh-Cary, NC0.13
57. St. Louis, MO-IL0.13
58. Louisville/Jefferson County, KY-IN0.12
59. Grand Rapids-Kentwood, MI0.11
60. Wichita, KS0.11
61. Charlotte-Concord-Gastonia, NC-SC0.1
62. Greenville-Anderson-Mauldin, SC0.1
63. Jacksonville, FL0.09
64. Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford, FL0.09
65. Knoxville, TN0.08
66. Lakeland-Winter Haven, FL0.08
67. Myrtle Beach-Conway-North Myrtle Beach, SC-NC0.08
68. New Orleans-Metairie, LA0.08
69. Richmond, VA0.08
70. Springfield, MO0.08
71. Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA-MD-WV0.08
72. Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land, TX0.07
73. Kansas City, MO-KS0.07
74. Nashville-Davidson--Murfreesboro--Franklin, TN0.07
75. Tallahassee, FL0.07
76. Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Alpharetta, GA0.06
77. Baton Rouge, LA0.06
78. Birmingham-Hoover, AL0.05
79. Hartford-East Hartford-Middletown, CT0.05
80. Huntsville, AL0.05
81. Corpus Christi, TX0.04
82. Pensacola-Ferry Pass-Brent, FL0.04
83. Palm Bay-Melbourne-Titusville, FL0.03

Why you should clean up after your dog

Local ordinances require dog owners to pick up after pets because pet feces spread disease. A potential fine has a way of getting you to sit up and take notice — or stoop over with a plastic bag.

But in your yard? Those rules don’t apply. But step in it yourself, or worse, if a neighbor or family member steps in it when visiting, and you’ll likely find time for your own yard cleanup.

In fact, all that dog waste annoys your neighbors, a LawnStarter survey found, especially when your mutt struts over to their lawns to poop.

Dog poop is terrible for lawns, water supplies, and even your pup. “Dog poop is not a fertilizer,” says John Woods, founder of All Things Dogs. “It actually contains high amounts of acid.”

Dog doo does spread disease, can take more than a year to fully decompose, and it (and pet urine) can kill your grass.

“Leaving dog poop in your yard is also bad for local water systems, as when it rains, the poop’s harmful bacteria can pollute these water systems,” Woods adds. “Finally, leaving poop in your yard encourages bad behavior from your dog, such as coprophagy (dogs eating their own poop).”

Infographic detailing dog poop facts and dog poop by the numbers, including statistics on the number of dogs per household, etc.

The poop on dog doo from lawn care pros

When mowing yards, dog doo comes with the territory, so we surveyed our lawn care pros for their reactions to all that dog waste. Not surprisingly, mowing crews are not fans of the minefields left behind in some yards.

Going beyond the numbers, some of our lawn care pros detailed how all that dog poop affects their jobs:

  • “The dog waste gets in the mower tires, weed eater and sometimes on the person doing the work.”
  • “You need to charge extra for yards full of doggie poops. It is nasty to run over that, and our equipment is stinky.”
  • “The worst feeling in the world is to be weed eating and you sling a fresh pile of dog poop right in your face.”

Yes, some properties are notorious because of all the dog poop, and a few lawn care pros even relayed the addresses and the name of the owners of their most dreaded properties. Here’s what the pros had to say about the crappiest lawns on their mowing list.

  • “There are not a huge number of them, but for the few that I do have the smell lingers on me, my equipment, my trailer, and I have to clean myself off throughout the day.”
  • “I’ve had multiple issues this year. Some yards are really bad with dog poop. It would help if there was a mower cleaning fee that could be applied.”
  • “Big dogs equal big poop.”

How big is the problem? A surprising number of lawn care pros said they have either dropped a customer or might do that someday because a yard with a lot of dog poop is just too much trouble.

Let’s go to our pros again for their comments:

  • “I have dropped one account, and I am close to dropping another because the amount of dog waste borders on animal abuse and a health violation.”
  • “There were a few yards, but I removed all of them from my schedule because I could no longer deal with it.”
  • “I’ve addressed it with a customer. If it isn’t resolved on the next visit, the account is dropped.”
  • “I dropped a property because of that.”

How common are crappy lawns? Nearly 60% of our lawn care pros said they encounter dog poop on a property more than once a week.

LawnStarter pros had some final thoughts, too, on the subject of dog poo:

  • “It’s a biohazard to humans.”
  • “About 70% of all my properties aren’t being cleaned up, and it gets on my mower and my shoes. It smells terrible, and it’s terrible for lawns in general, too.”
  • “I don’t like cleaning up dog poop!”

Methodology

To determine the crappiest lawns in America, LawnStarter mined its own data to come up with the Crappiest Lawns in America by Metro Area:

  • Number of dog poop incidents per mow
  • Number of dog poop incidents per property (includes initial and repeat mows)

Poop incidents are based on complaints, reviews and customer support tickets.

LawnStarter’s study includes metro areas in which the pros service at least 100 properties, the statistics are from 2019-2020, and more than 350 lawn care pros responded to a survey to assess how big of a problem dog poop is for them and how often.

Main Image Credit: Jeff Herman / LawnStarter

Jeff Herman

Jeff Herman

Jeff Herman, managing editor of LawnStarter, mowed lawns as a teen, and his uncle owned the biggest sod business in St. Louis. Previously, Herman worked at The New York Times, CreditCards.com, and most recently at AllAboutVision.com. Now Herman is All About Lawn Care.