Backyards are the personal playgrounds of dogs everywhere. They can frolick, play, and relax without the worries of outside harm. But creating a space that is safe and healthy for your pet while also being a place humans can enjoy is sometimes difficult. Here are 7 fabulous backyard design ideas that will satisfy humans and dogs alike.
1. Dog Path
Whether or not you have a fence your dog will likely destroy the perimeter of your yard. Dogs are territorial and love to run along fence lines and property edges surveying the terrain and just getting in some exercise. Planning to keep grass alive along their favorite run paths is a futile goal.
Rather than deal with the look of dead grass and to help eliminate the issue of muddy paws consider putting in a dog path. This is just a stone or gravel path along the edges of your property, fence or wherever your k-9 insists on wearing down the grass. It will look nice and solve a few problems at the same time.
2. Grass Alternatives
While we’re on the subject of grass it’s a good time to discuss the dead spots your lawn is likely experiencing. Dog urine will kill most lawn grasses. Unless you’re following your dog outside and spraying where they relieve themselves there isn’t much you can do to stop it. If you would like to prevent the look of dead spots in your grass consider changing your grass.
There are several hardier varieties of grass that can be planted in your backyard. Or you can ditch the grass all together and go for a turf, gravel or mulch. Your choices are only limited by your backyard layout and your imagination.
A sandbox is a great addition to any dog-friendly yard. You can purchase a full sandbox or build a frame and drive stakes into the ground to hold it in place. Dogs love digging in the sand, burying their toys and even laying in the sand on a warm day. As sand is typically cooler than the surrounding dirt.
The first thing that comes to the mind of dog owners with a yard is whether or not it’s fenced. And with good reason. Yard fencing not only protects your dogs from getting out but also protects other animals from getting in. Fences can have many other benefits to homeowners as well such as; noise reduction, privacy and aesthetics.
5. Shaded Area
Dogs may want to spend a lot of their time outdoors in the warmer months. Shaded areas are often up to 10 degrees cooler than their non-shaded counterparts. Having a shaded place for dogs or humans to retreat from the heat is a great addition to any backyard. Trees are a great source of shade but often require lots of upkeep.
6. Water Features
As with added shade water features can help keep dogs safe and comfortable on hotter days. Installing a large in ground water fountain or small pond is an aesthetically pleasing option but can sometimes be cost prohibitive.
Other options include; putting in a sprinkler for your pups or installing a dog water fountain that attaches to your garden hose and allows them to step on a pedal to get a drink when they feel it necessary.
7. Dog Safe Plants
A wonderfully landscaped backyard typically induces images of fabulous plant life. Plants are an amazing way to add color and style to any yard. If you are sharing the space with a dog however; it is important to consider whether or not the plants are safe for your four-legged best friend.
There are several varieties of plants that can make your dogs very ill if ingested. Some stunning dog safe plants that can be added to your backyard oasis include: snapdragons, sunflowers and marigolds. Complete lists of safe and unsafe plants can be found online and most reputable landscaping companies have a working list of plants that are pet-safe and geographic ideal for you to choose from.
When designing a fabulous backyard hideaway there is no reason why dogs and humans alike can’t get everything they want. All it takes is a little forethought, some careful planning and an adventurous spirit. Let your imagination run wild and soon enough you will be sitting in your backyard dream come true, experiencing your own sense of satisfaction while witnessing the glee of your pup.
Abi Pennavaria is a dog mom and co-author of the the Saved By The Bark. She spends her free time as a volunteer veterinarian, and enjoys sharing tips and tricks for dog owners of all breeds.