Our furry, four legged friends bring us joy even as they present challenges in our lives. If you own a dog, and you have decided to redo your yard, it is best to consider the dog’s needs as well as your desires. We will help walk you through how to create the best yards for dogs from a recent project we did.
Love your dog. Love your yard.
If your residence is in an area where your dog needs to be restrained, i.e., not allowed to run free, you need to consider the impact of your dog on the landscape. Dogs have certain behaviors that need to be accounted for whether you are installing a new landscape or planning to improve an existing one.
We recently installed a beautiful patio and walls for a client in their backyard. The front yard is tiny and abuts the street, so it is not a good space for their large dog and young child to play.
The client then mentioned that their dog, Pancho, loves running around in the backyard. At close to 100 pounds, you can imagine the damage he could do to little one-gallon shrubs. I asked them where he likes to go, and like most dogs, he likes to run up and down the side of the backyard, near the fence.
The client also wanted some plants against the entire fence to hide the neighbors. There is no point in planting anything against the fence as Pancho will trample it.
As a temporary solution, along the muddy fence line (Image 2), we decided to just add more mulch. Maintenance of mulch is required over time, but it is the best solution for an active dog area.
We will return to the client’s home for planting of sturdy plants, away from the fence, so that Pancho can run and the shrubs will grow into a privacy screen from the nearby neighbors.
In short, as you envision your new backyard, take your pup’s behavior into consideration.
- Track where the dog normally goes before planting and leave this space open.
- Select plants that are either big enough or tough enough to be stomped on.
- Consider plants that are not poisonous to dogs. See Walter Reeves piece on “dog-scaping” https://www.walterreeves.com/insects-and-animals/dogs-landscaping-for/
- Give the dog some space to run especially around the perimeter of the yard.
- Use lots of mulch to keep down the mud – mud is inevitable – until the plants settle in.
Love your yard, and love your dog. You can do both. At Art of Stone Gardening, we specialize in envisioning and installing solutions for your particular back yard.