Gardeners and landscapers are experts at creating inviting outdoor spaces for us humans, but what about your dog? Your back yard should be a haven for your dog, too. What are the components that go into creating a dog-friendly yard? There are lots of easy ways to incorporate dog-friendly elements into your landscaping. Check out these inspirational ideas from the gardening experts at Sunset Magazine.
1. Create a designated exercise space for your dog.
Dogs love to run around the yard, and many also like to “patrol” their territory. You can accommodate both of these needs by creating a path around the perimeter of your yard, just inside the fence line. The path should be around 3 feet wide and made of paw-friendly materials like smooth stones or soft mulch. You can also add plantings in front of the path to screen it.
2. Make a spot for your dog to do his business.
Devote a corner of your yard to your dog’s bathroom area. Train your dog to go there exclusively. Good ground coverings for doggie toilet areas include things like cedar chips and pea gravel. Male dogs will appreciate a marking post. Sunset recommends a nice-looking piece of driftwood for this job.
3. Provide shade for hot summer days.
Your dog will need relief from the sun when it’s hot outside. There are many ways to provide a shady spot for your dog and add visual interest to your yard at the same time. You can install things like arbors and pergolas and plant them with flowering vines for inviting spaces you can share with your dog. A doghouse can provide your pup with her own private retreat as well.
4. Dog-proof your garden.
There will be certain areas of your yard that you don’t want to encourage your dog to explore. For these places, plant densely and in raised beds or on mounds to help keep your dog away. You can also add a low border like rocks or fencing. Keep small, delicate plants away from the borders of these planting areas and stick to larger, heartier plants like shrubs.
5. Chose plants that are safe for dogs.
Do your research on plants that are poisonous to dogs before heading to the garden center. The ASPCA has a comprehensive list of plants that are toxic to pets. You should also remove any mushrooms that appear in your yard, and keep your dog away from the compost area. And remember that plants with thorns or spines (roses, cactus, etc.) can also injure a curious dog.
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