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Something for the Furry Friends – Pet-Friendly Landscaping Ideas

Having pets can seriously limit the kind of garden you can have with animals like dogs around. Anyone with a dog knows they like to dig and scratch and create ‘dog-spots’ all over the lawn. It can be difficult knowing how to please everyone. You want your patio clean and free from dog poo, and doggy wants his yard free for him to dig up as he chooses. There are however, ways to please you and your furry friend and to create a garden that looks great and is great fun.

Aside from using pet-friendly fertilisers and pest control, research plants types and varieties that can be toxic to animals and also look into what kind of plants they like to eat.

Go with the Flow

If your dog has path it seems to walk in your yard, instead of lamenting the loss of lawn in that area, just work with the path. Place stepping-stones or create a mulch walkway along this path. This will not only look attractive but it will prevent the lawn from becoming muddy or damaged.

Fences and Digging

Dogs like to dig for many reasons. They might be afraid, hot, anxious or excited. Try to modify the behaviour by addressing these key issues. Provide a doghouse for the dog. This will provide a safe place for the dog to retreat to, reducing anxiety and stress. Next, try a digging mound or area. Fill it with sand or soft soil and encourage the dog to use this area as a place to bury bones and dig up. Finally build a little pond or again, get a doghouse. Dogs dig holes and lie in them to cool down, so if it has the shade of a doghouse or the cool water of a pond, it might further reduce the chance of holes.

Grass Varieties

Dogs love grass. They like to play on it because it is soft and they can be rough and tumble without hurting themselves. They love to dig it up and bury things and they also like to eat it. Grass is a good and healthy part of any doggy diet; it helps cleanse their systems and staves off infections.

But, grass is the first thing to suffer when a dog is in the yard. Dogs like to dig it up and their bathroom habits cause unsightly ‘dog spots’ which is when the grass dies because of the chemicals in dog urine. When looking for a grass that will best withstand a dog, your best bet will be to stick with kikuyu or couch grass. Both are hardy varieties, with deep roots that withstand digging and it grows quickly which means it will recover quickly from damage.

Grass Alternatives

There are grass alternatives, if you just can’t stand the site of an imperfect lawn. Clover is an excellent choice for a yard with a dog. It does not suffer from staining due to canine urine and will provide a lovely soft, green carpet for you and your dog to enjoy.

Mulch is another solution. While you might not want a yard full of mulch, why not try using it in tandem with a paved patio or verandah? If you remove the grass, the dog won’t dig it up.

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