When you take a dog into your home you want to make sure that you have everything it needs to give him the best life possible. Today we dog parents treat our furry buddy like a child, this means we are willing to give everything and anything for them to have the best life possible.
One aspect of your home you need to take into consideration is your yard. Does it give your dog a safe place to be outdoors? Dogs love to spend a lot of time outside, and they need to be able to run to get their energy out. A tired dog is a happy dog. You want to be sure that your dog is going to have a space that is both fun and most importantly safe. So first let’s take a look at some things to avoid when planning to landscape the yard for your dog.
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Landscaping Things to Avoid for Dog Owners
Once you have decided how you want to landscape your yard, you want to ensure that you are using the best and safest materials for your dog. To be sure you choose the right materials, you need to be aware of some things that you want to avoid in your dog-friendly backyard.
- Avoid materials that get hot in the sun. Materials such as pavement, asphalt, wood, metal, and sand can absorb heat from the sun and retain heat for hours after the sun has set. While this is nice in the wintertime, the summer sun causes them to become too hot and poses a risk of burning your pet’s paws.
- Avoid materials that can cling to your dog’s fur. Things like burrs and sap are commonly found in the outdoors and can quickly become stuck in your dog’s coat. Try to avoid putting your dog’s area near these things, and if you can, remove them from your yard.
- Avoid materials that are toxic to dogs. Some things are essential to keep out of your yard to protect your dog. Many plants are especially toxic to dogs, such as onion plants, tomato plants, ivy, cocoa bean mulch, and more!
- Avoid sharp plants. Some plants and grasses are sharp and can hurt your dog if he gets into some of them. For example, the foxtail plant is a grass-like weed. This sharp weed can work its way into any part of your dog, especially if he likes to roll in the grass. Another thing to avoid having in your yard is a lot of loose twigs. While dogs do like to chew on twigs, they can be dangerous for dogs if they accidentally swallow any part of the twig, I recommend sticking to appropriate toys that are designed for dog safety.
9 Dog-Friendly Backyard Landscaping Ideas
1. All Grass Lawn
An all-grass lawn is an excellent choice if you have a dog who likes to have the freedom to run around as much as possible. This choice is especially ideal for people who have a large yard and do not need to worry about their dog leaving the yard. Keep in mind, dogs love to dig. So, if there are any parts of your yard that you want to protect from being dug up, you should fence them off. It would be best if you also fenced off any area that might have plants that are toxic to a dog, like a vegetable garden.
2. Have a Water Feature
Dogs love to play in the water and need access to water to drink. When you consider options for a water feature, keep in mind that you want something simple to use, easy to clean, and fun for your dog. There are many different choices to what you can have in your yard for your dog. You can have a fixed water fountain that allows your dog to drink from it, or even one big enough to climb in. You can also get a plastic wading pool for your dog to play in. Another common option is using a yard sprinkler system as a way for your dog to play in the water and cool off. The best choice for your yard will depend on your budget and the space available.
3. Provide a Shelter
Like humans, dogs can get sunburned and suffer from heatstroke. There are many options for how you can provide a safe, shady shelter for your dog. One choice is a large tree or group of trees. If trees are not a choice, you can set up an overhead tarp to provide shade for your dog. Finally, there is a traditional doghouse. A doghouse does not need to be a cheap-looking plastic or wood shelter. There are many beautiful doghouses on the market that give your dog a nice place to cool off. Another alternative is to build a dog shelter yourself.
4. Create Patrol Paths
Dogs love to prowl and patrol. So, building in paths is an excellent way for your dog to exercise that natural behavior. An advantage of creating your own patrol paths is that it will deter your dog from making his own paths. Giving you the ability to control where the trails are. Of course, there is always the chance your dog will create his own way anyways, but you can also take the time to train him to use your paths when he is outside.
5. Mulch Lawn
A mulch yard is appealing to some dog owners because they offer a low maintenance durable option. Mulch easily handles heavy traffic, and it can easily be kicked back into place if your dog has created a pathway from patrolling. Mulch also will not stain or stop growing from being urinated on. It is also inexpensive, attractive, and drought tolerant. If searching for the best dog landscaping idea on a budget this could be a good option, if interested in affordable yard ideas read 9 Cheap Ways to Cover Dirt in Your Backyard.
Even with all these benefits to mulch, you must be aware of the risk. Some mulches are made from wood products that harbor fleas, can give dogs splinters, and some dogs might eat them, resulting in splinters in the mouth or throat. If your dog will eat the mulch its best to avoid this option.
IMPORTANT – Cocoa bean mulch is toxic for dogs so avoid this type of mulch, the best alternative mulch options that are good for dogs are cedar and pine mulch. Choose a natural mulch that has no ingredients that can harm your dog.
6. Rock/Gravel Lawn
A yard of rocks is another alternative to grass appealing for dog owners because it is easy to repair if the dog digs it up. Another significant advantage to the rock lawn is that picking up your dog’s solid waste is easy, and liquid waste will drain to the soil beneath the rocks without staining. However, a rock lawn should only be considered if you have adequate shade or live somewhere that does not get very warm. If an area of gravel spends a long period in the hot sun, it can get pretty hot and burn your dog’s paws. Another downfall to the rock lawn is that some larger dogs can potentially get small gravel stuck between the pads of their paws.
The best choice rock for a yard with dogs would be to use pea gravel because of its smooth soft surface. This is safe for their paws and provides the most comfort for them to run around freely.
7. Artificial Turf for Dogs
Some dog owners do not want to maintain their yard from the digging and the urine stains. It can also be a hassle to clean wet grass and mud off their floors after their dogs have been out in the rain. For them, artificial dog turf is a great answer. Artificial dog turf is easy to clean after your pet goes to the washroom and provides a level surface for your pet to play. One thing to be aware of is that artificial pet turf can keep urine odors. To combat this, you can have the turf installer apply a deodorizer to the turf to help prevent them, and you can also treat the odor problem with a urine odor eliminator formula. Proper drainage will let you easily spray to clean too, plus rain will help as well.
If you live in extremely hot temperatures be careful the turf is not too hot for your dog. Artificial turf can heat up and potentially burn your dogs paws, be aware and be careful of this.
8. Fully Fenced Yard
Some dogs are happy to range through their yard freely and will never wander away. Other dogs need boundaries that prevent them from leaving the yard. For these dogs, a fence is a good option. There are different options to consider when installing a fence, from chain link to wood, but there are things to consider regardless of which type of fence you install. First, make sure that your dog cannot dig underneath your fence. Second, make sure the boards of a wooden fence are close enough together that a curious dog cannot get his head stuck in between the boards. Finally, make sure the fence is tall enough that your dog is not going to find a way to jump over it, some dog breeds can jump 5 to 6 feet high! However, this issue is more important for the larger breed dogs, smaller dogs may only jump a few inches high.
9. Dog-Friendly Patio
There are a few different types of patios you can have for your furry friend. Paverstone patiors are a great option for your dog, it is a safe place for them to hang out and even run around depending on the size! Other patios like wooden decks you want to be careful. First, like fencing, make sure that your dog cannot fit between the railings of your deck patio. If you want to keep your dog on the patio and off the yard like while you are mowing the lawn, consider using a baby gate to prevent the dog from exiting the patio area. Another thing to consider is that your dog might just want to relax with his human. Putting a dog bed on the patio is an excellent way to invite your dog to lounge with you on those hot summer days.
Some patios can heat up and can be a potential threat to your dogs paws. If you can hold the back of your hand on the ground the surface is safe enough for your dog to walk on without being burned.
Now that you know some of the best options for creating a dog-friendly yard, and some things to avoid, you are ready to start planning your landscape project. Remember, the most important consideration when you are landscaping your yard is what is best for you and your dog. Good luck!
Jamie is the founder of The Backyard Pros. When he was 15 years old he started working at a garden centre helping people buy plants, gardening products, and lawn care products. He has real estate experience and he is a home owner. Jamie loves backyard projects, refinishing furniture, and enjoys sharing his knowledge online.