Dog-Friendly Backyards: 7 Ways Hardscape Designs Play a Role
Many pet owners consider their dogs an extension of their family. They would do anything to ensure their safety and happiness. Creating dog-friendly backyards can keep your fur baby safe when playing outdoors. But have you considered how your hardscaping may contribute to their safety?
What Is a Dog-Friendly Backyard?
Dog-friendly backyards are an outdoor space where your canine friend can run, sniff, chase, and play. Ideally, this is an area where you don’t have to keep your eye on your dog, wondering when they will get into something dangerous. It’s a safe zone of sorts with clear boundaries. You can use many pet-friendly backyard ideas to make your outdoor space more dog-friendly. Let’s dig (pun intended) into it.
Low-Maintenance Pet-Friendly Backyard Ideas
You’ll want your dog to have a space for lounging, drinking water, and getting their daily exercise. To achieve this haven, we highly recommend adding hardscape elements to your backyard to protect your pup as well as the beauty of your lawn and the surrounding elements.
You can talk to your local lawn experts about incorporating hardscape and landscape for low-maintenance pet-friendly backyard ideas you can use in your outdoor space. There are also seven ideas that can help create dog-friendly backyards so you can rest easy knowing that your pup is safe and stimulated while roaming the outdoors.
1. Use Hardscaping to Reduce Wear and Tear
Have you ever met a dog that didn’t like to dig holes in the ground? When your backyard primarily consists of large grassy areas, this common canine tendency can wreak havoc on your landscaping. Opting for hardscaping can reduce the wear and tear on your backyard. You and your pup can both enjoy a covered patio without any destructive digging.
2. Build a Proper Drainage System
Another way to keep your dog from roughing up your backyard is to ensure that you have a proper drainage system in place. Wet, soft areas can encourage your four-legged best friend to dig even more. That’s where hardscaping structures such as retaining walls come in. Retaining walls reduce erosion and have built-in draining pipes to keep your yard in pristine shape.
3. Create a Dog Path
When your property is surrounded by a fence, you may find a pathway of worn-out grass from your dog. Animals can be territorial and will often walk the perimeter of their homes, leaving behind an unsightly dog path.
Instead of trying to train your dog to stop this, you can install a stone walkway. The stones will cover your dog’s existing path, hiding the worn grass and leaving you with a more impressive yard.
Long steps or ramps can also help older dogs navigate your yard. If your yard has any sort of elevation or multiple levels, installing a dog path in the form of a set of stairs or ramp can help your beloved furry friend enjoy all your yard has to offer as he ages.
Remember to use materials that will be comfortable on your pup’s paws. Choose smooth, round stones that won’t get too warm to ensure dog-friendly backyards.
4. Add a Pool or Pond for Cooling Off
Not much feels better on the hottest summer days than a refreshing swim — even for dogs. You can help your dog stay cool by incorporating a pond or pool into your yard. You’ll want to ensure this water is filtered correctly to keep any harmful algae away.
A pool provides a way for dogs to cool down and stay hydrated. Many dogs love to swim, and for those who do not, they can still paddle around and enjoy the water. Pools also provide a way for dogs to exercise and stay active, which can be beneficial for their overall health and well-being. It’s important to note that not all dogs are good swimmers, and it is important to supervise them while they are in the pool and to provide them with flotation devices if necessary.
Unless you’re adding a large pond, avoid adding fish. Smaller ponds will not permit the fish enough room to escape the grasp of your dog’s paws!
5. Install Water Fountains
In addition to your pond, you can provide your dog with a water fountain. During the summer, water quickly evaporates from a dog bowl, leaving your pup outdoors with no source of water.
Choose a style that matches your other hardscaping. Do this by using the same type of stone for the fountain as the patio pavers or retaining walls.
6. Add a Shade Structure
Everyone understands the dangers of heat. Dog-friendly backyards tend to include a nice shaded area. Shade doesn’t necessarily lower the temperature, but it will protect your pet from solar radiation. This reduces the chances for your pet to overheat.
You can add a permanent structure if it provides shade and air circulation. Closed designs retain heat, making them warmer inside and contributing to danger. Try adding a decorative patio cover, pergolas, or benches to create small areas of shade.
7. Use Hardscaping to Designate Bathroom Areas
Although it has less to do with safety and more with aesthetics, consider adding hardscaping materials to your lawn to eliminate urine spots. Using bricks, concrete pavers, and other natural stones will minimize your pup’s mess through urination. It will also prevent them from digging in this area.