If you have a backyard, you might love your landscape. But for us, who are parents of dogs, when we are thinking about dog-friendly landscaping ideas, we need to thing in two things:
1) A space where the lawn and garden are protected from dog-related damage and,
2) A space where your dog can have fun!
5 Ideas how to make your backyard more dog-friendly:
Have a water feature
Water is a must for your dog-friendly backyard, even if it’s just a sturdy bowl filled with fresh water every day. If you have a water-loving pooch, try setting out a child’s hard-sided swimming pool and fill with water.
Plenty of shade
Dogs need lots of shady spots to relax and cool down, especially in summer. If you notice your dog often digs holes and then lays down in them, she’s probably just trying to cool off. Providing more shade could eliminate their need to dig.
Create more shade in your backyard by:
- Planting tall shade trees
- Installing an awning, pergola, or other covering
- Adding a doghouse
Install the right fence for your dog-friendly backyard: Dogs need plenty of space to run and a safe place to play off-leash. A fence is a must to keep your dog safely inside your dog-friendly backyard. The type of fence doesn’t matter – it can be plain or fancy, but its main job is to keep your dog inside, so select a fence type that you can easily maintain. Choose a fence that matches your landscaping, or opt for an electric or invisible fence.
Create patrol paths for your dog
Dogs are hardwired to patrol their territory, namely, your dog-friendly backyard. Dogs will usually patrol the perimeter of the yard, right at the base of your fence. You can’t stop your dog from patrolling, so adapt your yard to your dog’s behavior patterns. Wherever your dog has worn away the grass and created dirt paths, lay down mulch or stone along this patrol route. This will make your dog-friendly backyard more attractive, and also reduce the likelihood of muddy paws from rainy-day patrols.
Install a sandbox for digging
Digging, and digging some more, is a behavior that dogs naturally engage in. But who wants holes in the middle of the backyard? To redirect your dog from digging in your yard, think about making a sandbox to create a dog-friendly backyard. Scoop out a large hole and set a child’s plastic swimming pool into the hole, so the top of the pool is level with the grass. Place some of your dog’s favorite toys at the bottom of the pool. Fill with play sand and let your doggie dig to their heart’s content!
If your dog is constantly digging, this could be a sign of boredom or loneliness. Engage in active play with your dog often, take them on long walks, or let them hang out with you as you work in the backyard. They’ll be too tired to dig after all this activity!
If you already have holes in your dog-friendly backyard courtesy of your furry friend, fill the holes with soil and place a layer of chicken wire an inch or two below the surface level of your yard. Place a section of sod or spread a layer of fine dirt on top of the chicken wire, then sprinkle grass seed on top of the soil. Water the sod or seed daily for a few days until the grass becomes established. The buried chicken wire is an effective solution for preventing new holes in the center of your yard or along the base of a fence.
Place a paw-washing station by the back door
If you are concerned about muddy paw prints when your dog comes back inside after playing in your dog-friendly backyard, create a paw-washing station near your back door. Before you bring your dog inside, just dip your pooch’s paw in a bowl of water, wipe with a wet cloth, and dry with a fluffy towel. To minimize muddy paws, keep the fur on your dog’s paws trimmed short.
Enjoy spending time with your dog in your dog-friendly backyard
By creating a dog-friendly backyard and trying some of these backyard landscaping ideas, you’ll keep your outdoor space attractive while your furry friend enjoys exercise, comfort, and safety. That adds up to a happy and healthy dog! Your dog will thank you by showing their devotion as you hang out together in your dog-friendly backyard.