Landscaping Tips with Dogs

Sharing your yard with your dog doesn’t have to mean a stark, uninviting place with dead grass and worn paths. Landscaping with dogs as a consideration can be challenging but the years of enjoyment easily make it worthwhile.

One of the joys of suburban living is spending less time walking the dog now that you have your very own yard. Only your dream of sleeping in while Fido uses the doggie door is replaced with the nightmare of shredded plants, browned, urine-burned grass and holes everywhere he feels like digging. You really can have fabulous landscaping and a happy dog with a little bit of planning.

The Dog Owns The Perimeter

Don’t fight this one. Your dog patrols his yard and investigates noises, smells and other critters along the fence line. Give him about 18” in from the fence on the perimeter. Planting a prized petunia in that space is just asking for heartache. Opt instead for some pea gravel or large chunks of wood mulch. Avoid plain dirt – it will turn muddy when it rains – and any stone with a sharp edge (like shale) that can cut paws. If you have the money, a stone pathway could be gorgeous.

Vary Elevations

Dogs like to survey their domain. Make a bank in a corner that is elevated a few feet to help him see everything that is going on. Use some mulch to make it soft, and use the opportunity to incorporate a boulder (great for climbing, too), a shade tree or some ornamental grasses. This improves the aesthetic and ensures plenty of variety for your dog, too.

Avoiding Dog Spots

Dog spots. Sounds much better than urine burned grass, but that’s exactly what it is. There are several remedies for this. The first is to chase Rover around with a garden hose and flushing the area with water until the acidity of the urine is diluted. Sound like fun? Didn’t think so. You can purchase some sprays at the local hardware store that will neutralize the urine with a few squirts. Better, but still a lot of effort. You can install sprinklers and hit the switch every time the dog comes in, but that is expensive and not terribly practical.

Ami Moore suggests training your dog to pee in one place. You can give him something cute like a fake fire hydrant to draw his attention and mark the spot. Lead him to the spot when he needs to go, and praise him for going there. Use gravel or clover to cover this area so it won’t look like his personal toilet. As a matter of fact, clover is an excellent groundcover for households with dogs. It is hardy and resistant to those unsightly burns caused by dog urine.

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Published in: Gardening


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