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 to do it consistently anymore. So when they are left outside unattended they have
The Basic Dog Necessities
- Food and water
- Dog House
- Plenty of toys, bones, and other treats
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 a while we left him in reach of the trash cans to keep other animals out of them. So we bungee corded the trash cans to our porch railing. It worked but was an eyesore. Enter the weekend project to build a shed to keep the trash cans in.
For the Destructive Bored Chewer
- Keep everything put away
- Hose reels are life and money saver
- Keep the trash cans secured
How do those yellow spots die?
At this point, the grass looks terrible. What grass was left anyway and what is left has brown spots. Now we are watering the grass more, especially the brown spots caused by 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 ryegrass and turf fescue. The rye is great for high traffic areas and recovers quickly from the damage caused by 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 than 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 lifesaver. We used cement pavers at the bottom of it for easy cleanup 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.
Ultimate dog proofing
- Fence off garden areas
- With either a solid floor or artificial turf for easy cleanup
A dog-friendly landscape can be a chore and take some ingenuity to create. The overall effort is worth it to keep both ourselves, our families, and our 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 dog-scape.