Pet Friendly Landscapes

From preventing your dog from digging up the yard to avoiding products that could be harmful to your pet's health, here are some tips on how to create a pet-friendly yard:

Pet-friendly edging

This is the material that separates the grass from the flower or shrub beds and if it's the commonly used steel variety with a sharp edge on top, it's very dangerous for both pets and children. Stepping on the sharp edge will cut paws and feet or any part of the body if you happen to fall on it. 

Better choices: Safe metal edging that's designed to be paw and foot friendly. With its rounded edge, it is a much safer alternative to standard steel edging. Poured concrete edging, brick pavers and concrete blocks are other safe options for edging material.

Mulch that works with pets

Mulch—the material that is placed around shrubs and flowers—can be a wood product, cocoa bean product, or rock. Bark and shredded wood tend to get kicked out of beds more easily by dogs. Cocoa bean mulch lasts longer than wood mulch, but pet owners beware: this mulch has chocolate which is a toxin for dogs. Eating this good-tasting mulch can cause over-stimulation of the heart and even seizures, so it should never be used in a yard where dogs live. 

Better choice: Rock mulch, especially river rock which is rounded. Avoid granite because it has jagged edges that can cut paws and little feet.

Problem: Digging, the ruination of many a yard!

Tip: Certain landscape elements, like exposed landscape fabric, are "triggers" that entice dogs to dig. If you place landscape fabric under the mulch, it should be secured with special landscape pins and covered fully with mulch so the dog isn't tempted to dig. 

Tip: If your dog is an escape artist who tries to dig under the fence, use chicken wire over the landscape fabric. This treatment will stop the digging.

Problem: Chewing up above-ground irrigation pipe (or cords to the AC unit)

Tip: The above-ground drip irrigation pipes and emitters are an invitation to chew for many dogs. Solve this problem by placing the emitters under the landscape fabric which will then be topped with mulch. The emitters will still be above the soil and around plants, but just not where Fido can see them and be tempted to chew. 

Tip: Wrap outdoor electrical cords, like those for the AC Unit, with chicken wire.

Problem:  A paw path across the grass

Tip: Dogs are creatures of habit whose regular strolls across the same place in the grass have created a well-worn path. You can't change your dog, so work with him by simply placing a flagstone path where he likes to walk. This remedy eliminates unsightly patches of dead sod and "mud holes" that develop where the grass has worn away. Grass will grow between the stones and you can run the lawnmower across the stones with no problem.


For more information on creating a pet-friendly landscape, contact a Landscape Contractor.