Dogscaping Basics

Dogscaping is exactly what it sounds like - landscaping with the dog in mindDog-specific landscaping has taken off in recent years as dogs become more and more accepted in all types of housing, and as dogs become parts of many more families than ever before. Having a dog does result in some fairly specialized considerations in the garden and landscape. Here are some ideas for creating a landscape that is not only safer for the dogs in your life, but is also more functional than traditional landscaping is when it comes to everyday life with your pet.

Your landscape needs to be able to stay clean. We’re not talking about the bathroom habits of dogs just yet. We’re talking about a yard that your dog frequents that stays clean and dry. This includes either limiting access to wet boggy areas in your yard, or repairing them so that the wet areas are able to drain away and dry out. Muddy, wet areas are fun for dogs, but they can become a horrid mess. And, in some cases, wet and muddy areas can retain mosquitoes and disease, which can make your pet very sick.

You need a landscape that you can keep clean yourself as well. Dog feces are easier to clean up off of soft surfaces such as grass and artificial turf, but can be hard to clean up on solid surfaces.

Most dogs need access to a large enough area to be able to run. In smaller yards, long areas dedicated to a “dog run” are often very beneficial, as they accommodate a game of fetch and offer a place for the dog to get up to full speed before having to turn around. These areas should be soft and gentle on feet while still be able to stand up to minor damage and moderate foot traffic. Typical healthy turf is good for this. Investing in a strong, healthy lawn in the dog run area will not only be good for your pooch, it’ll also look great too.

If you have a dog that enjoys digging, your landscape will need to be able to put up with the damage. Many dog owners find that for very aggressive diggers, creating large dirt or sand boxes specifically for digging helps to minimize digging damage elsewhere in the landscape. Opting for larger, heavier-duty metal landscape edging will also help keep mulch in the garden beds and out of the lawn.

Dogs like to eat meat first usually, but many dogs do like to sample plant material as well. Make sure that what you plant in your landscape isn’t poisonous to dogs. Some plants are more poisonous than others, so it’s up to you to judge what you think you can risk and what you can’t. Here’s a comprehensive list of what you will want to avoid planting in your dogscape.

And finally, never be afraid to try different things.  No two dogs are alike. If you have a small dog, you may not need a large turf dog run like you might for a larger dog. If you are like the author of this article and only adopt old dogs, you may not need a run at all, since old dogs aren’t always keen on constantly running about like pups. What matters is you and your entire family, including your pet, be able to safely enjoy time outside in a landscape that is beautiful and functional. Many times, simpler is better.

We hope you are able to use this information in a way that can help you further plan your landscape in a way everyone can enjoy! For more detailed information, be sure to read our article on making your landscape safe for pets and children.