Landscaping for dogs

How to design a landscape when you have a pet (such as a dog) is the subject of this blog. Backyard landscaping should be done with an eye for all members of the family, including the family dog or cat.

dog on lawn“We love our pooch and he loves the outdoors, but how can we maintain a landscaping with a dog?” Dog friendly backyard landscaping is a challenge and I hope this blog will help. If a dog is bred to run or dig it is very difficult to break them of this instinct. I suggest, it may be easier to make a few adjustments to your backyard landscape to keep the area as dog-friendly as possible without losing aesthetic appeal.

Dog friendly backyards

Landscaping for dogs that need to run requires creating enough wide open spaces, trails or pathways that are appropriate for their use. If the entire garden is designed for people (such as all vegetable or flower gardens with walkways only intended for people), then dogs will create their own dog run and it may not be in a desirable location. Grass pathways that inter-connect are suitable, but other soft surfaces are also good for dogs that need to run.
Digging is another instinct that is hard to break. If your dog likes to dig holes under the fence, try placing a couple layers of chicken wire about 6 inches below the ground and not lower than the bottom of the fence. Another landscape idea is to build an area that dogs can dig in and are trained that this is where they can do so without being punished. This allows a dog to be a dog and keeps you happier. Such an area is best if it is self-healing or easily repairable. See How to get your dog to stop digging.

Having dogs means having places for them tobelong within the landscape.Environmental Construction can build you a dog pen, kennel, or dog run that blends in with your landscape and works with it to minimize wear and tear on soft-scapes, lowers environmental impact, and can help with noise management.

Dogs have needs too. Dogs also might need places to relax, stay out of the sun and out of the rain. Some dogs love to roll around on the grass and making a grass or other plant "lawn" that will be good to roll on will go a long way to having a happy dog. Always ensure that a dog has access to drinking water, but beware of ponds;many dogs will love to swim in it and then become muddy and possibly track dirt and water into your house.

Make a place for a dog to be happy in. Sometimes all that is is a place where you will be, so make a place that humans will want to be in and be comfortable in alongside the family puppy. This may mean some trade-offs

If your property is too large for a fence and you are concerned that your animal may run off, consider asking Environmental Construction to install an in-ground electric fence. This device is very successful at teaching dogs where they can run. It does require that the dog wear a special collar. When the dog gets close to the invisible fence, a sound is heard. If the animal remains at that location, a small shock is felt – just enough to deter behavior. Note that such a "fence" can be made so that spots within the landscape can be made off-limits as well as perimeters. These "fences" have the advantage of not changing the landscape, so they can be added after a landscape has been put in.

Be aware that some plants are toxic for your dog (or cat). See toxic plants for dogs and cats, especially if your dog is a chewer. Always call a vet if your dog starts behaving differently after having been inthe yard. Be particularly aware of dizziness, vomiting, salivating. Having an in-ground electric fence can direct dogs away from areas where you might have toxic plants. There are plants that dogs don't really like the smell of too. Dog smelling plants Citrus smells are one thing and while lemons don't commonly grow in our area, lemon verbena and other citrus smelling plants are available and thrive. However what one dog will not go near might not affect another. It isn't just plants that you need to be worried about. Barks on some trees are toxic, but so can be bark mulches. Cedar is not very toxic to dogs except in large quantities but you might want to avoid cocoa mulches. See Cocoa Mulch Toxicity.

Artistically, combine canine elements into your landscape. Make the dog house look like your house; make the dog kennel blend into the surroundings so that the dog has much to look at and yet be kept safe; add fountains dogs can get clean water from; add a dog run with soft path materials that don't make a mess and yet add a color that winds through the yard. Having a dog doesn't mean being utilitarian.

Caring for burn spots on your lawn

Dog urine contains chemicals that will burn the lawn if too concentrated. If you see burn spots, there are a few things you can do (such as enticing your pet to drink more water), but the easiest solution is to plant grass that is more tolerant to these chemicals, such as Ryegrass. Be sure to water the burn spot heavily as soon as it appears and eliminate all grass fertilizing as this will increase the chemical imbalance. Adding lime to spots can help too, as this will counteract the acid in urine.

Noise barriers for barking dogs

Some dogs just need to bark, but this doesn’t make for a “peaceful oasis”. If you want to create a more restful sitting area that needs to be shared with a talkative canine, let us install an outdoor sound system that will allow you to listen to restful music. It just might subdue your pet into a restful sleep after their energetic run.

Waterfalls are beautiful, create a peaceful-sounding noise, and are a fun place for dogs to romp and play, if desired. Cool ponds and waterfalls also provide a place for dogs to stop and drink before their next lap around the yard.

See our page about privacy barriers and noise barriers. If your dog’s barking is a serious problem for your neighbors, call

Category: Animals and Insects

Environmental Construction, Inc.

It's not simply about designing and building beautiful garden spaces, it's about providing a landscape oasis where you can relax from the daily grind and recharge. Let us create an outdoor space that will enhance your home and quality of life.

Read More Here