6 Dog-Friendly Landscaping Ideas

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If you love a well-manicured lawn, it may be hard to imagine how to keep that lawn looking gorgeous while catering to the needs of your dog. Your dog has regular access to your yard, and you may notice that their presence takes a toll on the appearance of your grass and foliage.

So how can you maintain the beauty of your backyard while providing your dog a space to live their best doggy life? With just a few changes, you can balance the needs of your furry friend with keeping your flora fancy.

Here are 6 dog-friendly landscaping ideas you can easily add to your property.

1) Give Your Dog a Zone

Dogs need plenty of exercise to expel their energy, but they don’t tend to respect property lines. We need a way to give them free rein of the yard while keeping them safe and contained. One way to accomplish this is a GPS fence, a great way to let your dog run free without breaking the bank in the process.

Setting up your custom, the virtual fence is easy. There’s no installation required, and no wires to be buried, which makes getting going easy. All you need is a smartphone with the app installed and the SpotOn GPS collar. That’s all there is to it.

The two-tone alert system does require training, however, so both you and your pup understand the system cues and where the boundaries are. A GPS fence works especially well if you have a large yard and fencing the entire area seems overwhelming, or you need to fence through water or tricky terrain.

The app also allows you to set up different fences for day or night play, in case you want to keep your pup closer at night or only enable swimming access on the weekends or during the warm weather only. This provides you with additional flexibility that a physical fence cannot offer.

Speaking of zones, some folks like giving their pup a proper place to potty so the dog does not ruin the grass everywhere. If you don’t love the idea of your dog soiling your soil, you can add a dog potty as an alternative, which is easy to clean and will keep your grass green.

2) Grass Alternatives

Brown spots and dirt patches in the grass can drive any lawn lover a bit crazy. These spots occur with a lot more regularity when your dog uses the yard as both a play space and a bathroom. But your dog can’t ruin your grass if there is no grass to ruin.

You can replace the grass in your dog’s favorite hangout spots with ground cover plants. Ground cover plants are plants that grow low to the ground and give off the same appearance as turfgrass. Irish moss, snow-in-summer, and creeping thyme are just some of the types of ground cover plants that are low-maintenance alternatives to natural grass.

If you don’t want to deal with the hassle of maintaining any type of plant life, mulch is a dog-friendly landscaping alternative that requires virtually no maintenance. Mulch isn’t alive so your dog stands no chance of killing it.

3) Dog Paths

You may notice that your pup likes to walk the same path around your yard each time they are let out. Dogs are naturally territorial animals that like to keep an eye on their “territory” by patrolling it frequently.

When a dog walks the same path time after time it can lead to the grass getting trampled and compacting the soil beneath it. This leads to thin, bare, or empty patches of grass which can be unsightly to look at day after day.

To avoid this, you can build your dog their very own dog path out of paver stones or smooth gravel. Make sure to use stones that do not retain heat in the warmer months to protect your pup’s paws from getting too hot.

With that in mind…

4) Create a Shady Space

Some dogs love to sunbathe until the sun sets, but ensuring they have easy access to shade is important in protecting them against overheating. This can be accomplished by installing tall trees or bushes that your dog can lounge under when they get too hot. 

Tall trees and bushes can also add an element of privacy that you and your family will appreciate as well. Of course, be sure the trees, bushes, or shrubs you select to provide a fine shady place for your furry friend are also dog-safe, non-toxic, and pet-friendly!

Installing an awning is also effective and will allow you and your pet to enjoy consistent shade throughout the day too, but the cost may be a bit high.

If your dog enjoys their alone time, adding a doghouse gives them their own dedicated space to cool down. Some dog houses even come with air conditioning installed to really give your dog their own chill zone.

5) Add a Water Feature 

While we are on the topic of keeping our pets cool, putting a water feature in your yard both helps accomplish this task and adds a pleasing aesthetic to your property. A fountain or small pond can be professionally installed to add ambiance and easy water access for your pup.

If cost is a concern, you can purchase a plastic kiddie pool and let your dog splash in it to their heart’s content. Avoid inflatable kiddie pools as their sharp claws and teeth can puncture it. That will give your yard a water feature you definitely don’t want.

6) Install an Agility Course 

If you're handy and your dog is the athletic type, creating and installing a dog-friendly agility course will be a great way to show off both of your talents. Creating jumps, tunnels, and balance beams will make your dog feel like they have their own personal dog park right in their backyard.

If building an agility course seems too daunting or time-consuming, you can purchase things like dog tunnels and ramps and simply place them outside for your dog to enjoy.

It might seem like a large task trying to maintain a picturesque yard while also catering to your dog’s needs and making them happy, but with the ideas outlined above, you can consider your own landscaping preferences while still giving your dog an environment where they can be safe and have a great time.

You can create a place where you and your most loyal friend can enjoy both of the beauty and functionality of your property for all the years to come.

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