The end of summertime is near, but you still have time to cross a “honey-do” off the list. Having a pet does not mean you have to give up hopes of having a lush, well-manicured yard. Although dog ownership may pose some challenges in the quest to achieve garden greatness, it’s definitely not a hopeless cause. The key is balance. You may need to make adjustments to your landscaping design in order to create a safe, welcoming environment for your canine companion, and the dog should make certain compromises as well. The following tips will help you create a beautiful yard where you and your dog can happily coexist. Considering our canine companions when designing a landscaping plan is a perfect way to make our pets a true part of the family.
- Avoid Poisonous Plants and Materials- When selecting vegetation for your yard, stick with plants that are non-toxic for dogs. In addition, routine yard maintenance will promote removal of rogue weeds and mushrooms that may also pose a health hazard. Also, check labels and do your research before you use any fertilizers, pesticides, or mulch. For example, cocoa bean mulch contains theobromine, which is toxic for dogs. It is also often wise to water in lawn chemicals before letting your pet back into the yard. Follow the application instructions for these products.
- Remove Other Common Hazards- If your dog tends to get into everything, do a clean sweep of the yard and rid it of items that could be harmful to your pets. For example, if your dog has an appetite for odd objects (and many dogs do), keep items like garden hoses safely stored away when you aren’t monitoring your dog’s activity.
- Combat “Dog Spots”- The nitrogen content of dog urine tends to kill affected areas of grass. If you’re vigilant about monitoring your pet’s bathroom habits, you can dilute that nitrogen with water, which will help prevent a noticeable impact on your lush, green lawn. If that sounds like a lot of work, designate a grass-free area of the yard (preferably one that’s somewhat out of the way from your outdoor living space) and train your dog to relieve himself only in that spot.
- Confinement- Allowing your dog to roam freely outdoors puts his safety at risk and could potentially lead to problems with neighbors. Therefore, erect a fence that’s appropriate for your yard size and your dog’s size and personality. For example, fence slats should be close together to prevent small dogs from getting loose, and dogs that can jump high will need taller fences to keep them confined.
- Room to Move- The ideal pet-friendly yard will have plenty of space for active dogs to run and play. If you don’t have expansive outdoor space available, make sure your dog gets his exercise other ways and strive to create a comfortable space for Fido in whatever yard space you have. For example, make sure the ground surface isn’t hard on your pet’s paws.
- Don’t Discount the Importance of Durability- While you may have envisioned an outdoor oasis filled with delicate flowers and dainty bushes, having a dog will likely trample those dreams, literally and figuratively. There is no need to invest in expensive plants that your pet will eventually destroy. Therefore, consider focusing on a hardier variety of vegetation to fill your yard. And you don’t have to completely forgo the pops of color. Instead, use raised containers or hanging baskets to add some visual interest to your outdoor space.
- Make Your Pet Feel at Home- While the focus of your landscaping design may revolve around creating an attractive atmosphere and making humans comfortable, the family dog deserves consideration as well. If your dog spends a great deal of time outdoors, make sure he has ample shade to keep him cool in the summer months. Also, refresh a water bowl routinely outside to make sure your dog stays cool and hydrated. If you have the space in your yard, consider building a dog house as an outdoor shelter for your pet. If you think a dog house would disrupt the flow of your otherwise sophisticated design, take a look at some of the modern models available in stores these days. You might be surprised at how attractive they are.