Both our canine friends and our families love enjoying outdoor play. Ensuring you have dog-friendly backyard landscaping will protect your lawn from any of your dog’s negative behaviors that might damage your lawn. Plus, it can turn your lawn into an entertaining dog-friendly backyard that encourages your dog to exercise and have fun.
Ways to Create a Dog-Friendly Backyard
Maybe you’ve just adopted a dog for the first time or you’ve moved to a new house that lacks a dog-friendly backyard. It doesn’t have to be expensive to create a yard that your dog loves to spend time in. Check out some of these dog-friendly backyard landscaping ideas that you can start implementing today.
Keep It Fenced
Even the most well-trained dogs can have a difficult time staying put in an unfenced yard. All it takes is one stray cat or delivery person for them to go running down the street. Or, they could bolt if they get frightened by a noise like thunder or a car backfiring. There’s also the possibility that an unfriendly dog could wander into your yard and pose a safety threat to your dog playing outside.
There are tons of options for materials you can use to fence in your yard. There are choices that provide solid barriers like wood, metal, or vinyl which keep your dog from seeing through it easily. A physical fence will not only keep your dog from wandering away, but it also protects other pets and small children from wandering into your yard, potentially startling your dog. Even with these solid options, dogs can easily become frustrated if they are not able to see past the fence. Installing a plexiglass viewing area within the fence can satisfy their need to see outside of the yard and smell different smells. For an option that doesn’t change the appearance of your home, invisible fences are another popular choice for homeowners.
Dedicate a Digging Area
It’s just a fact, particularly with certain types of dogs, that they love to dig. When your dog digs up areas of the lawn, it kills the grass and dries out the soil. When they decide to dig in your garden, it destroys the plants you’ve worked so hard to grow. You might be able to train your dog to stop digging, but some dogs just can’t suppress the urge to dig. One way to make sure you have a dog area in your backyard that satisfies that need is to create a digging area. Without that specific area, any flower bed or newly planted garden will be an almost irresistible temptation for your pup.
Consider creating a specific digging area filled with fresh sand. You could even purchase a child’s sandbox for them. To make sure they understand that this is their area, you can bury treats and chew toys in the sand.
Offer Some Shade
During hot summer days, it’s essential to have a shaded dog area in your backyard where they can hang out when they need a break from playing. The fur coat dogs have put them particularly at risk of overheating when it gets hot out. In addition, small dogs and senior dogs are especially prone to heat stress.
There are many different ways you can create shade to make for a more dog-friendly backyard. Large umbrellas and pop-up canopies can do the trick when you’re in a pinch. You can also add shade by planting trees or taller grasses to produce some shade as the sun moves throughout the sky. In addition to providing shade, make sure your dog has water that is easily accessible. Place a dish of water in the shaded area to further encourage proper hydration and shade.
Plant a Flea-Repelling Garden
Worrying about fleas is one of the inevitable parts of owning a dog. Luckily, there are things you can do to prevent fleas in your yard like planting flea-repelling plants. Certain plants naturally overwhelm fleas’ senses and therefore steer them away from your backyard. Some of these plants that are both non-toxic to dogs and repel fleas are catnip, marigolds, rosemary, and sage. You can also fill the garden with cedar chips as mulch for even more flea-repelling abilities.
DIY Agility Course
Does your dog love the agility course at the local dog park? Does your dog have a lot of extra energy that they just can’t seem to get out? Creating your own version of an agility course in your backyard could be very beneficial. Get creative by setting up a series of obstacles for your dog to maneuver through. Hurdles, weave poles, and tunnels are all things that can keep your dog entertained for hours.
You can use things like bamboo garden sticks, your child’s old soccer cones, or a number of other materials to create weaving poles. To create a jumping rod, you can use things like the handle of an old broom or shovel or even a shower curtain rod. If you want to cushion any potential collisions, you can encase the handle of the item in a pool noodle. Finally, for an agility tunnel, you can often use a child’s play tunnel. Or, you can purchase a designated dog tunnel, typically inexpensively.
Dog-Friendly Alternatives to Grass
The fact that your dogs go to the bathroom on your grass can potentially damage it significantly. Well, they can’t do so if there isn’t any grass for them to ruin! You can designate a specific part of your yard just for your dog that features hardy ground cover plants or mulch instead. Ground cover plants are ones that grow low to the ground and spread horizontally. They create a similar appearance to a real grass lawn. However, they are very low-maintenance and much more difficult for your dog to damage. Make sure the options you choose are non-toxic to dogs. Some examples are Irish moss, silver carpet, labrador violet, and creeping thyme. Beware of certain choices that will be toxic if ingested such as clover, hostas, and chamomile.
Another option is replacing your grass with mulch. There is even less maintenance needed for mulch because it isn’t alive. Plus, your dog can even go to the bathroom in it without ruining it. Opt for smooth stones or gravel, with pieces that are not small enough to get stuck in your dog’s paws. Rubber nuggets, cedar chips, straw, and coconut fibers are also great options.