If you have a dog, you may think having a beautifully landscaped yard is impossible. Fear not, you can have both, but it takes a little creativity and forethought when planning your outdoor space. Read on to learn how to make it work in your home.
5 of the Best Dog Friendly Landscape Ideas
Start With Good Fencing
Ideally, you want to be able to contain your dog in your yard even when you’re not able to watch it, so it can stretch its legs, get some fresh air and go potty. Having fencing will keep your dog on your property and also keep other animals, like neighborhood cats or raccoons, from coming in your yard.
There are hundreds of fencing choices out there, so you just need to find one that works with your dog and the aesthetics of your home. Wood, chain link and plastic/resin are all popular choices. Make sure your fencing is high enough, so your dog can’t jump over it, and if your dog is a digger, you may need to extend it below the surface of the ground.
If your homeowner’s association or neighborhood covenant prevents you from using conventional fencing, you could try electric fencing, which gives your dog’s special collar a little shock if it tries to cross the perimeter of your yard. This is best installed when you put in your landscaping, as it involves some digging beneath the ground.
Think Carefully About Your Plantings
There are a lot of pretty plants out there that can be harmful or fatal to dogs. Make sure you don’t have any poisonous plants in your yard, especially if your dog is a chewer. Save the foxglove and other hazards for areas where your dog can’t roam, or forgo them completely. Likewise, think twice about planting cactus or other prickly plants where your dog could be injured.
Used Raised or Vertical Beds for Flowers and Vegetables
Flower beds can easily get trampled, and vegetables can be dug up or eaten by your dog if you’re not careful. One way to curb this is by using raised beds for your blossoms and produce. Raised beds elevate plants above the interest level of many dogs and provide natural pathways through the garden to direct your pets. If you have young children, they work the same way. There are many attractive ways to build raised beds using wood or stone to retain them.
You could even consider vertical gardening for your most precious plants. This entails using an up-and-down approach to planting, versus laying out your garden horizontally. You can purchase ready-made vertical planters, or you can even make your own from old wooden pallets. Vertical gardening frees up more space in small yards too.
Build a Tough Lawn
When you own a dog, you can pretty much give up the idea of having a lawn that looks like a golf course. You can, however, make your yard a little more “dog-resistant” by using the toughest grass you can find. This usually means forgetting about sod and starting your lawn from seed.
Use a grass mix that is made for parks or heavy wear. Keep the lawn regularly mowed, and avoid over-watering, as this can make the grass too fragile. Use spot treatments where your dog potties, or better yet, teach your dog to go in a designated corner of the yard on pea gravel or wood chips.
Create a Play Area
If you create a play area just for your dogs, you can eliminate many of the concerns mentioned above. A long fenced dog run will allow you to keep your dog outside when you’re not home and provide a space for running and play that won’t interfere with your plantings. You can work with landscape professionals like Classic Jack Landscape, who are landscape designers in Salt Lake City, to design the perfect fenced play area for your dog.
If you want to take your imagination to the next level, try making a digging area just for your pets. Fill a pit with sand to avoid dirty paws, and bury some dog toys there to seduce your pooch.
Don’t let having a dog get in the way of your dreams for a gorgeous yard. Try the tips above and see how happy both you and your pets are with the results.