Landscaping When You Have Dogs

lady in large hat laying on her front on the lawn reading a book with her dog beside her

Our tips on sharing your garden with pets, in particular, landscaping when you have dogs.

Sharing your garden with pets is a real joy provided that the space is pet-friendly AND that your pet is garden friendly. Here are our tips on garden landscaping when you have dogs.

  • Make your garden escape proof
  • Think carefully about surfaces and how they could affect paws etc
  • Provide shade for hot days 
  • Ensure that none of your plants are toxic to dogs
  • Train your pet to toilet in one area of the garden – leaving the rest free for you to enjoy
  • A doggie shower in the garden could help to keep your house clean
  • Your garden is no substitute for regular dog walks and good training – in fact those are the things that will help keep your garden beautiful.

Landscaping To Keep Your Dogs Safe

black labrador and yellow labrador in a garden looking towards an open gate

Secure gates are important landscaping features when you have dogs

Sometimes I think its just as difficult to keep your dog safe as it is to keep a toddler from harm. But careful landscaping when you have dogs is a good start.  

Let’s start with security.  Can your dog escape from your garden? Or even worse, is it possible for potential dog thieves to whisk your pet out of your garden?  

I’m a strong advocate of having a well fenced garden with lockable gates when you have dogs.  Ideally your pet could have plenty of freedom within the garden but cannot be seen from outside.  That way potential thieves are less likely to be tempted.  

When designing a fence, make sure that Fido won’t be either to jump over it or to dig under it. You could use horizontal cedar battens for a modern look and feel. Or how about composite fencing that will never need maintenance.  Alternatively, what about a wire fence with a hedge planted beside it?

Of course, if you’d rather not enclose your whole garden with a fence, why not create a dog-safe zone within it?

Safe surfaces for dogs

Your dogs won’t care what your patio looks like, but they will mind if it is dangerously hot for them to walk or lie on in hot weather.  So when designing your garden, you might want to include some areas where the surfacing stays at a reasonable temperature.  Either that, or be prepared to lay rugs down so that Fido can access the garden in all weathers. Bark mulch, natural grass, self binding gravel and aggregates are all good choices (unless of course your pet likes to eat stones)

Having said that, when I’m landscaping for dogs, I always encourage clients to have hard surfacing beside the entrance to their home. It’s one way of catching some of the mud from dirty paws before they get on to your indoor flooring.

Shade and Shelter

As I’m writing this, the weather forecast for next week is unbearably hot.  It’s going to be difficult for the landscaping team to stay safe whilst working, and even more difficult for pets wearing fur coats.

Dogs – and especially young dogs – cannot regulate their body temperature as well as we can.  Humans can remove layers of clothing and they can sweat to help keep their internal organs cool.  Heat stroke in dogs is often fatal and at the very least, it’s an awful thing for them to go through.

So when you are thinking about landscaping when you have dogs, don’t forget to create at least one area that will be as shaded and as cool as possible in summer.  You might want to plant some trees. Or perhaps you could include a pergola in your garden design.  

Modern pergolas have louvred roofs and removable sides so that you have some control over the amount of shade and ventilation.

Don’t forget to have fresh water available. Your dog will thank you and it’s quite possible that birds, insects and wild creatures will be glad of it too.  A carefully designed pond or water feature will do the trick and it will look great too.

For winter time, nothing tames chilly wind like a natural hedge.  Think about including one in your garden to provide shelter for your pets and your plants.

lady in hijab training her GSD puppy to sit

Investing time in dog training will help to protect your landscaped garden against damage

Protecting Your Garden From Pet Related Damage

From pee-patches on the lawn to dug up flower beds, chewed shrubs and permanent ‘race tracks’ around the garden, there are all kinds of ways your pet could potentially damage your garden.

Landscaping when you have dogs is all about thinking ahead and creating solutions to problems before they arise.  Having said that, a little bit of time spent on training your dog can also help avoid garden damage.

We’ve talked about security, and the possibility of creating a dog zone within your garden. That’s the most obvious way to protect the main part of the garden from damage. But your pet is part of your family and perhaps you don’t want to confine him or her to a pen. Or maybe your garden design doesn’t leave scope for an outdoor kennel.

Dog trainers will tell you that the best way to stop your dog practising unwanted behaviours is to give them something else to do instead.  Regular walks will help to keep their brain occupied. And you could create a sensory area within your garden especially for your pet to enjoy.  Join the Facebook page “sensory gardens for dogs” for some ideas.  

Lawns for dogs

Natural lawns provide the perfect surface for pets.  However, girl dogs are notorious for leaving brown patches on the lawn where they have peed.  This video from Premier Lawns in Belfast offers some handy tips on managing lawns for pets.  

Dog Training Tips To Protect Your Garden

Landscaping when you have dogs can go a long way to ensuring that your garden is safe for your pets and will look good all year round.  However, like most things in life, a multi-pronged approach gives the best results.  So yes, you can landscape your garden to avoid some problems, but training your dog will definitely help you to enjoy your new garden much more.

Train your dog to go to the toilet in just one part of the garden. That will protect your lawn and make the clean up much easier. Most dogs prefer to pee on an absorbent surface, so perhaps create an area of grass in a quiet part of the garden. That way you won’t be frustrated by a less than perfect lawn.

Providing your pet with lots of mental stimulation is the best way to wear them out so that they don’t wreck your garden.  You could try trick training, scent work, brain teasing toys, walks with lots of sniff stops or joining a local dog training class.  Zoe Willingham’s DogVersity online dog training has lots of brilliant ideas for keeping your pet out of mischief.   

Keep Pup Safe While The Landscapers Are Working

A landscaping site is no place for a dog – at least not whilst there are machines running, holes in the ground, wet cement and the potential for your pet to get under the workers’ feet.  If your dog needs to use the garden while landscapers are working out there, please use a lead and keep the visit brief.  At the end of the working day, we’ll let you know where it’s safe for your dog (or children!) To be in the part-finished garden.

Questions About Landscaping When You Have A Dog

When you have your garden refurbished by Manor Landscapes, we are always very happy to answer any questions you may have about landscaping when you have a dog. Click on this link to find our contact details.

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