Options for a Pet Friendly Landscape

One of the most common requests we get in designing landscapes is to create something “dog friendly”. Accent Landscapes is filled with dog lovers, many of us have owned dogs for most, or all, our lives. We often joke, “You can have a dog, or you can have a nice landscape.” If you’ve owned a dog, you probably know that feeling! However, whether your dog is well-trained or rambunctious, there are a number of things we can recommend that will create a pet friendly landscape for you and your pet to enjoy!


    Artificial Turf:

    Clients often ask us if artificial turf is a good fit for a pet. It has a number of attractive attributes that make it a good pet friendly alternative. Dogs can be really tough on a lawn, and it’s rare to see a dog owner's grass looking perfect. Artificial turf isn’t going to yellow or die from being used as a pet potty area. It will also hold up to rowdy dogs much better than sod.

    It does have a couple of drawbacks to consider too. If used as a potty area, it can sometimes hold that strong ammonia-like smell. Accent Landscapes uses an antimicrobial infill product to help with this, but if your turf space is being used heavily, you may need to hose it down periodically. While it is far more durable than sod, if you have a pup that is particularly destructive, damage to the artificial turf is going to be far more costly to repair than filling holes and patching sod.

    The last thing to consider is that artificial turf is a synthetic product, and it gets hot in the sun, it may not be the most comfortable for dogs’ feet in the summer, but on the flip side, it may be a spot your dog loves to lounge on cooler sunny days.

    A previous client example of pet friendly landscape with artificial turf, plenty of rocks, and some shade sails.
    This dog-owning client went with artificial turf, and included some shade sails to make sure there’s always a cool spot. 

    Plant toxicity:

    Not all pets are inquisitive eaters, but if yours are, or you’re considering a new pet, it’s good to know what plants might pose a problem. Chewy offers a great list of toxic plants for dogs and cats. At Accent Landscapes, we are always happy to review a list like this as we are putting together the plant palette for your landscape. However, we aren’t pet care providers and always recommend you take the final plant list to your veterinarian just to be certain.

    Other considerations for Pet Friendly Landscaping:

    • If you have dogs that dig, rock beds tend to be more challenging to dig in than mulch beds, so if they are easily deterred that’s great, but if not, it’s a lot more work to repair digging in a rock bed than a mulch bed.
    • Pea gravel is a good material for potty areas, it lets the liquids drain and is easy to poop patrol.
    • Strategically placed shrubbery can sometimes help break up the routes of habitual fence runners.
    • If all else fails, you can create and fence your own oasis, and have a separate space where the dogs are free to play.

    While you may not be able to have a perfectly groomed landscape and furry friend, you can still have an attractive and functional space to share.

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