Many dog owners enjoy watching their dogs run around the backyard, but you immediately regret it after seeing them dig up your favorite plants. Don’t blame your canine friend for its natural instinct. We all know how hard it is to adjust dogs to the landscaping. Try dogscaping instead. Dogscaping is a new trend in landscape design that requires you to plan your backyard based on your dog's habits.
Nonetheless, every breed has a different personality. While terriers love digging, beagles always want to escape. To help you start off right, I listed seven dog-friendly landscaping ideas that can work with the most common dog behaviors. Make sure you include each one in your next backyard design so your dog and plants can live in perfect harmony.
Install Fences to Ensure Safety
Neither you nor your neighbors want to see this happen to your dog and their kids. After all, we can’t expect another cat hero. To keep your dog from escaping and attacking children, you should build a backyard fence. Of course, you can choose any type of fence that matches your home or landscape style, however, no matter what style you go with, don’t forget to install an underground barrier, such as chicken wire. As you may know, dogs are escape artists. They can tunnel under a fence with amazing speed.
Want to keep your yard free of clutter? Electronic dog fences is an attractive alternative. Electronic fences allow you to set up invisible boundaries that your dog can’t jump over or dig under. If your dog gets too close to the boundary, the receiver on your dog’ collar will warn the dog with a high pitch sound.
Add Patrol Paths
Dogs love to patrol, and in most cases, they will create their own paths. If there is an existing dog path in your backyard, you can simply turn it into an inviting walkway with paw-friendly materials. According to ImproveNet data, most homeowners spent $2,637 on the walkway installation. See how much it costs in your area.
If you have no clue where your dog’s favorite path is, consider creating a three-foot wide path or a dog run along your fence. Our personal experience shows that most dogs enjoy romping around the edge of the yard.
Landscape Your Yard with Less Lawn
Don’t waste your time and money on lawn care when it comes to dogscaping. Dog urine will burn your grass and leave ugly spots. Furthermore, he or she will consistently try to tear it up. To create a problem-free and low-maintenance landscape, replace your lawn with as much hardscape as possible. Concrete, brick, flagstone or smooth river rocks are all popular hardscape materials among dog owners.
Mulch is another option giving you the soft touch of grass. Beware, you should avoid cocoa bean mulch. Even though cocoa bean mulch smells great, its chemical compound can be harmful to your dog, just like chocolate.
Be Careful When Selecting Plants
Some dog owners didn’t know the plants they were growing were toxic until their dogs got poisoned. Indeed, there are so many common plants—such as dahlia and aloe— that can result in great harm. As a result, before you head to the gardening store, take a look at our guide to pet-safe plants. This will give you access to a full list of non-toxic and toxic plants.
Provide Access to Water
Dogs need an endless supply of cool, fresh water, or they will easily get dehydrated. To ensure your dog has enough water at all times, you should add a water feature to your landscape. If your budget allows, go with an auto refill dog fountain. This way, you won’t have to worry about it going dry when you’re away on vacation.
Given that some breeds love to splash around, consider installing a small dog pool. A paw-shaped pool will not only keep your dog cool in hot weather, but also add some interest to your dog-friendly yard. Additionally, to help your dog make an easy exit from the pool, don’t forget to use a Scamper Ramp.
Create Shady Retreat
Excess sun exposure could give your dog a sunburn and even heatstroke, which may lead to severe injury. Try to plant a large tree or install a shade cloth to block the sun and heat, so your dog can have a cooling retreat. A doghouse, of course, will be a better option, since it can keep your dog safe in either hot or stormy weather. More importantly, your dog will love to have its own shelter.
Give Your Dog Some Entertainment
Another way to prevent dog damage in your backyard is to give your dog a few “jobs” to do. As we know, a busy dog seems less likely to look for trouble. Here are a few ideas:
- A Lookout Platform: Remember, dogs are territorial; they have sharp instincts to guard their home. To help them perform their duties, consider adding a large flat rock as a lookout platform. You'll see how much your dog enjoys it.
- A Digging Pit: Believe it or not, a designated digging pit can efficiently deter your dog from tearing up your plants. Just bury some treats in the pit and fill the pit with sand or mulch. The smell of treats will entice your dog to dig only in the area you allow.
- Dog Toys: Dogs tend to act up when feeling bored. Hence, it’s rather important to keep your dog entertained. Try putting some chew toys throughout your yard so your dog can play.
Dogs are known as man’s best friend so it’s time they had their say in the backyard. While most of the dogscaping ideas above are DIY-friendly, you may still need experts to tackle larger projects like a walkway installation.
Before you hire a contractor, don’t forget to request four free quotes from your local pros.