Dog Friendly Landscaping

Kate Mitchell

February 8, 2024

If you are a pet owner, you might find that you need to think carefully about landscaping and maintaining your yard.

You still want a beautiful outdoor space, whether that means flower beds, a water feature or a lush green lawn. But it's important to ensure that your yard is designed to keep your furry friend safe and provide everything they might need.

There are also some steps you can take to make it easier to care for and clean up after your pet!

A great professional landscaping company will work with you to accommodate pets and make sure they feel right at home in your beautiful backyard.

A Dog-Friendly Lawn

A black and brown dog with pointy ears, lying on the grass

A natural grass lawn does not always mix well with a puppy or dog. Dogs are inclined to dig, and, of course, there will also be puppy bathroom cleanups to take into consideration. Artificial turf can sometimes be a good solution.

However, if you don't want to use synthetic turf, there are various types of lawns that are suitable for dogs. Several of our recommended grass varieties for Florida are also suggested by pet experts as a good choice if you have a furry companion. Zoysia Grass, Bermuda Grass and St Augustine Grass all have deep roots. This makes for good pet turf as these grass varieties will resist being torn up.

Creating a Doggie Zone

A fluffy dog sleeping in the shade with a bowl of water

If you decide that a turfgrass lawn just isn't going to work as part of your dog-friendly yard, it might be time to consider an alternative to grass. However, this does not have to mean completely sacrificing a natural grass lawn.

One simple dog-friendly landscaping idea is to create a dog run, where your beloved animal can run, sniff and play without any worry about dead patches or brown spots on the lawn. A contained dog area allows you to create a safe zone for your pup to enjoy without needing constant supervision.

You'll need to give your dog a patch of yard appropriate for their size, and one that's reasonably easy to keep clean. Your pet needs plenty of space to run around and a shady spot to rest in. Ensure there is a water source, and make use of pea gravel, mulch or artificial grass to keep your canine companion comfortable.

Flea-repelling plants like mint, rosemary or citronella will help to keep your pup comfortable at the same time as making your yard smell great. Cedar chips have a similar effect, and are often used in dog beds. However, some dogs can have an allergic reaction to them, so make sure this is a suitable option for your pet before you incorporate cedar mulch into your pet-friendly landscape design.

Before you leave your pet alone in this new puppy paradise, make sure that your dog is going to be comfortable by including adequate shade and a water bowl. In the Florida heat you may even want to use a kiddie pool or other water feature to provide a cool spot for your dog to rest in.

Indoor-Outdoor Transitions

A wet dog shaking off droplets of water

One of the difficulties of dog ownership can be the dirt, mud and water that your animal companion brings into the house after spending time outside. Of course, a dog run with grass alternatives such as synthetic grass or gravel will reduce the likelihood of your dog getting muddy paws in the first place. However, if your dog is coming back from a walk with dirty feet, there are a few steps you can take to help keep your house clean.

Once simple solution is to keep a mat beside the door. Many dog owners use two mats, one outside and another inside. You can train your pet to step onto the mats before coming in. There are mats designed specifically for absorbing water and dirt from muddy paws at the door.

It is also a good idea to have an old towel on hand, to clean off any excess dirt before bringing your pet into the house. Creating a paw-wash station, either inside or just outside the door, can be as simple as finding a bucket or tray of a suitable size.

Landscaping For You and Your Pet

A white, brown and black dog in a yard

Incorporating hardscaping in your landscape design can help to designate mud-free, dog-safe zones. Paths, raised beds, areas of gravel or low rock walls can be used to create visual interest as well as to break your yard up into separate areas.

Try making use of plants with lots of ground cover and uninviting textures close to your home, patio or other high-use areas. Ornamental grasses such as mondo grass, or common landscaping plants like ferns, are perfect for adding visual appeal and encouraging your pet to avoid those areas.


Two puppies surrounded by grass and flower petals

Finally, you'll want to ensure that your landscape design helps to keep your pet safe by avoiding any potentially toxic plants. Azaleas, daffodils, tulips and foxgloves are all poisonous plants that could be harmful to your dog.

Hardscaping or fencing may not be enough to avoid accidental plant poisoning, so you'll need to work with your landscaper to make sure your yard doesn't include any harmful plants.

Contact your landscaper today to get some help designing an outdoor space that will be perfect for you, your guests and your pet!

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