Tips for a More Dog Friendly Yard

emma
I will wait by the door until you get my leash

We love our dogs. They are caring and loyal, I can’t imagine my household without a dog. But some days they try my patience, especially when it comes to my yard and garden beds. We’ve jumped through some pretty major hoops and tried some really odd things to make our yard more dog friendly. I know we aren’t alone; about 35% of American households have at least one dog.

 

Keeping our dogs happy and entertained does help make a huge difference in the amount of destruction they cause. So keeping food, water and toys out for them is pretty easy. Unfortunately we are very busy people and I am sure you are too. Walking our dogs a few miles a day or every other day made the biggest difference for us. Now we are back to that big BUT. Life is busy and as much as I love to walk my dogs I just don’t have the time do it consistently anymore. So when they are left outside unattended they have

The Basics

 

Food and water

Dog House

Plenty of toys, bones and other treats

Exercise

 

hose strung out
Water hoses that aren’t properly put away are begging for your dog to chew on them.

For a few weeks heck even a couple of months this worked out great minus maybe the strip of grass that no longer exists where they are constantly walking. Then we come home to the new garden hose shredded. So we bought a garden hose reel and make sure that all the outdoor tools and kids toys are always put away.

 

A few days later the trash cans are turned over the day before garbage day. Uhhh we never had this problem with our old dog, actually when he was on a chain for awhile we left him in reach of the trash cans to keep other animals out of them. So we bungie corded the trash cans to our porch railing. It worked but was an eye sore. Enter weekend project to build a shed to keep the trash cans in.

 

dog grass trail
Build hardscape paths to keep areas with high traffic from deteriorating and becoming an eyesore.

For the Destructive Bored Chewer  

 

Keep everything put away

Hose reels are life and money saver

Keep the trash cans secured

 

tracks
Proper landscaping can keep your yard from looking like this, and tracking dirt into your home.

At this point the grass looks terrible. What grass we have left anyway and what is left has brown spots. Now we are watering the grass more, especially the brown spots caused from the dogs doing their business. Watering these spots help dilute the nitrogen that is being added into the soil. After some research we used a mixture of perennial rye grass and turf fescue. The rye is great for high traffic areas and recovers quickly from the damage caused from urination. The fescue is drought tolerant which is great here in Northwest Arkansas and doesn’t have a problem growing in our poor soil.

 

We considered artificial turf. There is a great option that was designed specifically with dogs in mind. It is very durable and washes off easily with a garden hose or power washer. But we didn’t think our chickens would approve of this option. So we built a stone path that goes almost all the way around our house in the spot that the dogs like to run the most. For a little more pizzaz we planted some walkable ground cover between the stones. We used golden sedum, it is gorgeous and doing great with all the traffic.

Shrubs and ornamental grasses are a great and hardy choice. Shrubs and tall grasses are much more dog friendly then a lot of the pretty and dainty flowers that I love. Please check to make sure that any plants you choose are safe for your dog first.

 

For the horrible grass damage

 

Perennial Ryegrass

Turf Fescue

Walkable Ground Cover Plants

Shrubs and Ornamental Grasses

Artificial Turf

Pathways and other Hardscapes

Water those brown spots where your pets like to do their business

 

After all of this and building fences around the gardens (one of our dogs really likes broccoli). We Finally invested in a kennel. As much as I hate having to put my dogs in it, the kennel we bought is a life saver. We used cement pavers in bottom of it for easy clean up and so they can’t dig out. Honestly this isn’t the first kennel we purchased. The original chain link one didn’t stand up to the abuse from our large dogs and they were hurting their paws and nails on it. After a lot of research we bought a very expensive heavy duty version that is constructed from steel tubing. No more sore paws or stretched out the chain link.

 

Dogscaping: build a pathway for a dog friendly yard and save your grass while cutting down on the mess that gets drug into the house.

Ultimate dog proofing

 

Fence off garden areas

Kennel

With either a solid floor or artificial turf for easy clean up

 

A dog friendly landscape can be a chore and take some ingenuity  to create. The overall effort is worth it to keep both ourselves, families and dogs safe and happy. Studies show that about 30% of dogs that end up in animal shelters are given up because of destructive behavior.

Give us a call if you need help creating a dogscape.