For most owners, a dog isn’t just a pet, it’s part of the family and deserves a place to enjoy the great outdoors just as much as we do. But some people sacrifice their beautiful gardens and yards and just hand over the reins to their pooch. This can lead to relentless digging, dead grass, and more. But what if I told you that you don’t have to give up your outdoor oasis? There’s plenty of ways to create a beautifully landscaped garden that’s also dog-friendly, and I’m going to share them!
Flowing Fresh Water
This is number one, especially during those hotter months or if you live in a constantly warm climate. Dogs tend to push themselves when playing outside and can dehydrate really fast. But carting the dog’s water dish in and out of the house every day can be a pain in the butt.
You can remedy that by working some simple water features to your backyard landscaping. Something like a little fountain or a pond would do the trick. Not only does it look great and attract birds, but it gives your pooch a fresh supply of water.
If you plan to install a pond, be sure that it’s easy and safe for your dog to get in and out of in the event that they fall in unattended.
A Look at Safety
This point ties in with what I just said above. Water feature aside, anything you add to your backyard landscape needs to be safe for your dog if you want it to be a co-existing environment. So, first, make sure any water feature is safe for them. Provide a way to get to and from it without your help.
Then consider the plants you add. Dogs have iron stomachs, except when it comes to simple things like cocoa plants, azaleas, daffodils, and more. For a more detailed list of what plants to avoid check here.
This one is a no brainer, but some people don’t think of it. If your dog is going to spending long periods of time outside in the yard, then they absolutely need proper shade and shelter. A stylish doghouse is a good way to offer this. Or you can get creative and install halfpipe and cover with sod to create a hobbit house for your pet! Practical and unique!
Swap the Toxins
Take a look at the products you use for controlling weeds, fertilizing, and other things like grass seed or nutrients. Most of these chemical-based products are extremely dangerous for dogs to touch or ingest. Try swapping them out for all-natural weed killers and fertilizers.
Bonus tip: instead of fertilizer from the store, start your own compost bin and give your awesome garden nutrients that are safe for everyone.
Room to Play
Regardless of what you decide to do with the design of your dog-friendly yard, they need room to play. Dogs are hyper and playful creatures by nature, and they love to run, jump and chase. Don’t overload the space with plants and other things that might look nice but take away from the usable space that was there before. Make sure to keep it well mowed too to avoid things like ticks that hang out in tall grass. Having a good reel mower can help with that. Find a good balance, and you can both enjoy it.
Dogs are curious little things, and they love to explore. So, creating little walking paths in and around your backyard is a great idea for them, but also adds that little extra touch of design. Use things like gravel, sidewalk blocks, or mulch to install winding paths that everyone can use.
Note: if using mulch be prepared to replace it each year as the weather, and your dog, will disturb it. Also, do not use cocoa mulch. It’s deadly for dogs.
The Fun Stuff
Now that you’ve figured out a water feature, plants, flowers, and some walking paths, it’s time to finish off your backyard oasis with the extras. Cut a circle in your fence that’s about the height of your dog’s head and install a bubble window. This allows them to see the world outside of the yard and appeases their curiosity. But it’s also a super cool design feature.
Another great idea is to bury tires hallway into the ground and paint them fun colors! This adds some flare to space but also provides your pet with some extra playthings.
I hope these tips help you with planning and designing your dog-friendly backyard. It’s important that you create a space that both you and your dog can enjoy together, but also apart. Don’t give up on it, don’t just hand it over to your pooch. Reclaim your backyard and be proud of it!