If you’re a dog owner, you know the truth — your furry friend is the master of your universe. At Amy Belt Landscape Design, we love dogs — I’m a dog mom to Baxter & Dexter and then a grandma to Frankie, Walter and Bentley… and yes, they run the house whenever they’re all together.
Some questions to consider to make a space pet-friendly:
How does my dog interact with outdoor spaces — is he too curious, which can lead to tearing up parts of a garden? Will he try to eat the flowers?
How much time does my dog spend outside?
Amy Belt Landscape Design’s dog-friendly tips—
Safety (and Sanity) First: Take time to assess your property to understand if there are any areas that might encourage your dog to escape — like spaces in the fence. Before starting any project, you want to make sure your dog will actually stay in your backyard. It’s worth getting a sense of what gets your furry friend excited as well and trying to mitigate any barking that may annoy your neighbors.
Dog-Friendly Ground Cover: Dogs love to run around open spaces. They also love to urinate in these open spaces, which can lead to brown spots in grass. We favor visually appealing but hearty ground covers like Isotoma, grass like St. Augustine…or even leaning into synthetic turf.
Shade is Key: Dogs are masters of relaxation. Honor them by designing shade features throughout a backyard—whether that’s by planting trees, finding space for a dog house, or creating artificial shade structures. Be sure to provide plenty of options for hydration as well—a perfect situation in our mind is a dipping pool and shade structure. Lucky dog.
Keep Your Backyard Toxin-Free: Be diligent about what’s in your backyard. We like to use the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) list of dangerous plants so we know what to avoid. This sentiment goes for any fertilizer you may also use. As a rule of thumb, when a dog is exploring your backyard, you want to keep any products natural.
Create Space to Play: A dog is a curious creature. Make sure there’s plenty of space for them to run around and stretch their legs — and imagination. This looks like limiting unnecessary bells and whistles in your backyard that might limit space for them to explore.