This blog was written in August 2018 to help homeowners create pet-friendly landscape designs. We updated with additional information in July 2021 to give our readers, even more, stand apart ideas.
There are millions of products sold to pet owners every day to accommodate furry friends inside our homes. But how often do we think about their outdoor space?
Landscaping adds great visual appeal to a home but can also benefit your pets. Pet-friendly landscaping adds to the aesthetics and usefulness of your property and your pet’s happiness.
Here are a few tips to make your landscaping pet-friendly:
Pet Safe Yard
Safety should always be the first thing you consider when looking at pet-friendly landscaping.
Research the kind of plants and flowers you intend to add to ensure they are not toxic to animals. Even some native plants to New Jersey can be dangerous.
Aside from your landscape designer, your vet is another helpful place to get recommendations about safe plants and flowers to use in your landscape.
The ASPCA also maintains a list of toxic and non-toxic plants as a resource for pet owners.
If you have plants that your pet shouldn’t interact with, such as fruits, vegetables, nuts, or certain flowers, consider installing barriers.
Proper fencing is the best way to keep your pet secure from the road and wandering off. Check your fencing periodically for sturdiness, evidence of digging, and cracks or holes.
Consider sectioning off areas of your yard if you want to contain your pet in a smaller space or away from gardens.
Your pet will love to spend hours in your well-manicured lawn. Pets, especially cats and dogs, love sunbathing.
But a well-designed landscape will provide both sunny and shady areas for people and pets. Shelter from the sun is important during really hot summer days.
Just like people, when pets spend extended periods in the sun they may suffer from heatstroke, dehydration, or sunburn.
While trees are the best option for shade, they can take years to fully mature. Tall shrubs mature faster and provide both shade and privacy quickly.
Try incorporating both trees and shrubs for the best long-term results.
Access to Water
Another pet-friendly option to include in your landscape is a water feature. While they are typically seen as a complement to any landscape design, they also double as a place pets can grab a drink.
Fountains, streams, and ponds are all great ways to use water in your landscape in a pet-friendly way.
Ensure that your water feature is safe by providing an easy way for pets to get in and out if necessary.
A Playful Landscape
Pets love to play. Creating plenty of room for them to roam and run makes for happy pets.
Knowing your pet’s play habits can give you great ideas to add to your landscape design.
Installing walkways or paths in your landscaping caters to your pet’s sense of discovery. Don’t overlook the use of hardscaping in your design. A clearly delineated path is good for both humans and pets.
Habitual animals such as dogs often love running along a boundary line. You can capitalize on this by converting these habitual paths to beautiful stone walkways.
If your pet enjoys digging, consider constructing a designated digging area or sandbox for their use.
Create a dog run if you don’t want your animals to have access to the entire yard. If you install a dog run, make sure there is adequate room for your pet’s exercise needs.
If you have decided to create a dog run, don’t forget to check regularly around the fence to ensure that it has not been compromised.
Small Pet Fun
Create areas for other pets, such as cats or rabbits, in your landscape too.
Cats enjoy climbing perches of varying heights and plants to nuzzle.
Rabbits love tunnels and lots of fresh greens.
Incorporating play areas for your pet can be done seamlessly with a landscape designer.
If your pet will interact with the materials, it is necessary to consider how much heat they retain. You do not want to use materials that can get too hot for your pet’s feet. It is also a good idea to use materials that will not get caught in or stick to fur and paws.
Remember to choose paw-friendly materials such as flagstone, brick or concrete. Such materials are pet-approved since they don’t stick to feet or overheat during summer.
Mulch and bark chips are pet-friendly materials, but it is important to choose the right brand as some are toxic if ingested.
Concrete, smooth stone, and river rock are also great choices that are more permanent and easier to clean.
If you are trying to decide which ground cover to use, visit out blog Rocks or Mulch for Residential Landscaping.
Water With Care
For any yard to thrive and bloom, regular watering is a must. To keep your landscape looking lush and beautiful, you will have to water the right way with a functional watering system.
And while having an irrigation system is great for your yard, it’s also a helpful tool for your pet. Why? Because regular watering of your landscape will keep your grass strong enough to withstand lots of traffic.
It will also cut down on the amount of “pet burn” you see in your yard where your furry friend goes to the bathroom.
The most effective irrigation systems come with a timer. They are convenient and ensure that your yard is always well-watered, but not a soggy mess.
When using a system with an automatic timer, it’s important not to water when your pets are just about to go outside. When the soil is wet, the surrounding area may be easily damaged.
Adding landscape elements to your home or creating an entirely new landscape design can be a big undertaking. When designing your dreamscape, keep your pet’s needs in mind for their benefit and yours!
This will enable both you and your pet to be happy with your outdoor space for years to come. It also takes the hassle out of being a pet owner by eliminating safety issues, digging ‘accidents’, and messy cleanups.
Contact Sponzilli Landscape Group for help making the best pet-friendly design choices for your landscape needs.