Pet Firendly BackYard - Knowledgebase Question

Escondido, Ca
Question by ashleymoffet
February 24, 2010
Hi, my name is Ashley Conn and I just moved into a Lovely house about two months ago. However, the backyard needs alot of work. (it's pretty much a disfuctional disaster) The problem is that I have two very rambunctious dogs. How can I make an outdoor living space that's pet firendly and eye pleasing so i can entertain friends and family? i really need help. Thanks!

Answer from NGA
February 24, 2010


Landscaping with dogs primarily entails making concessions to the dogs, as you'll see from the strategies below. Here are some suggestions: Strategy #1: Dogs and lawns don't mix well. For small areas, consider switching from a grassy expanse to hardscape. The advantages of hardscape go beyond solutions to landscaping with dogs, since hardscape offers a low-maintenance alternative to grass. Stone and masonry are especially useful for landscaping with dogs, because they minimize the mess dogs make through urination, digging and plain old wear and tear. Strategy #2: If you reject the idea of incorporating hardscape, sticking stubbornly to your wish for a green carpet of grass, consider switching to a sturdy type of grass. Some grasses hold up better to foot traffic (and paw traffic!) than others. Among the warm-season grasses, Bermuda grass is among the toughest. If you need a cool-season grass for landscaping with dogs, try Kentucky bluegrass. Strategy #3: Installing a tougher type of grass will solve only one lawn-care problem encountered in landscaping with dogs: namely, wear and tear on grass. It will do nothing to solve the problem of dog spots. Dog spots are the unsightly yellow spots on grass caused by the nitrogen and salts in dog urine. But there is a type of green carpet that solves the problem of dog spots: clover. Clover lawns have many advantages over grass lawns. If you're landscaping with dogs, you'll especially appreciate the fact that clover doesn't stain the way grass does after being subjected to dog urine. Strategy #4: If you can't bring yourself to renounce grass, you can still prevent dog spots by vigilance. When you see your dog urinating on the grass, rush to the garden hose. Turn it on and bring it over to the area where your dog has just urinated. Douse the area with water, thereby flushing it and diluting the harmful elements in the dog urine. Strategy #5: One way to keep dogs away from the delicate plants in your yard is by building fences around them. Wood picket fences are especially attractive. Plant some perennial flowers behind a white picket fence, and you're well on your way to creating an English country garden. Strategy #6: Place wire cages around trees and shrubs to prevent dog urine from reaching their trunks and roots and damaging them. That way, dogs can go about their business and you can relax, secure in the knowledge that Fido's urine won't be killing your favorite specimen. Strategy #7: If a fence surrounds your property, do not try to grow any plants in the area immediately adjacent to the fence. Dogs are territorial, and their favorite path in a fenced-in yard will be right along the fence. Unsightly dog paths are the result of this predictable behavior. Rather than fighting it, plan your yard around your dog's predictability. Install stone walkways over existing dog paths. Now everyone will be happy: the dog still has its path, and you get to have a better looking yard. Stone walkways exude charm and are a desirable addition to your landscaping regardless of dog problems. Hope this information is helpful!

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