Lively lawns and happy hounds: How to create a dog-friendly landscape you’ll love

Small dog with sunglasses on sitting next to ball around dog-friendly landscaping.

As a pet owner, you already know that keeping a healthy lawn and a healthy dog at the same time can be challenging to say the least. But there are still plenty of dog-friendly landscaping ideas that will keep both your pet and your neighbors happy.

Gravel pathway and dog standing on wooden porch to show dog-friendly landscaping ideas.

Keeping pets and humans happy

There’s no way around it: Humans like to plant flowers, and dogs love to dig them up. This is just one of the many conflicts of interest that arise when you and your pet use the same landscape for your very different ideas of recreation. These dog-friendly landscaping tips will help ensure that you don’t spoil each other’s fun:

  • In areas of high dog traffic, replace the grass with a more durable surface, like pea gravel or decomposed granite. These materials are safe for your dog to run on but won’t wear out. Perennial rye grass is a good turf option that can handle frequent pet use.
  • Use a low fence or a border made from pieces of wood to naturally discourage dogs from entering areas where you don’t want them to go (but keep in mind that this is more effective for some dogs than others).
  • Plant your vegetable garden in a raised bed outside of your dog’s reach.
  • Make sure your sprinkler is in good working order to keep your lawn healthy and more able to withstand frequent use from your pet.
  • In high-use areas, such as along paths, fences and walkways, choose hardy plants that can withstand a little roughhousing from your dog.

Dog-friendly landscaping with mulch bags around a garden section.

Avoiding hazards

One of the most important aspects of dog-friendly lawn care is ensuring that your pet stays safe. Here’s how you can ensure that your lawn doesn’t contain any pet hazards:

  • Avoid plants that are poisonous to pets, including common garden and landscape plants such as irises, tulips and azaleas. The ASPCA offers a handy online listing of plants that are poisonous to pets.
  • Use natural mulch (shredded cedar and pine are great) and avoid mulch that contains resins, insecticides, herbicides or fertilizers.
  • Always check the label when you apply fertilizers, pesticides and other chemicals to your lawn and garden. Many pet-friendly options are available.

Grass with dead spot in the middle of it.

Dealing with brown patches

One of the biggest headaches for dog owners comes in the form of those persistent brown patches that occur when your dog urinates in the same spot again and again. Dog urine contains a high concentration of nitrogen, which causes the grass to dry out and die. You can deal with this in a few ways:

  • Gently hose the area each time to dilute the nitrogen.
  • Train your dog to use a certain area, preferably on a surface of mulch or pea gravel instead of grass.
  • Re-seed dead patches as needed.

We can’t wait to see how our homeowners use these dog-friendly landscaping ideas! For more home decor and curb appeal tips and tricks, check out our blog.


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