Whether you have a large open backyard or just a small area, you want to use your outdoor space so you — and your dog — can enjoy it year-round.
There are many simple upgrades that will make your space a pup-friendly place without spending a lot of time and money.
These ideas may inspire you to create your own outdoor oasis for your dog that’s sure to make him happier and healthier.
Paths and Turf
You may notice your dog tends to run to the same spots every time he goes outside or he may like to patrol the perimeter of your fence.
Adding a path around your yard using permeable paving will give him a trail to roam and give you a place to walk with him. Choose a material that is easy on his feet and won’t get too hot in the summer, such as flagstone or smooth rocks.
Also, consider what kind of ground cover you should use around the rest of your yard. Houzz suggests bark mulch as an alternative to grass as it doesn’t get hot, is safe for animals and is easily replaceable.
A Shady Place to Rest
Summer is here and with it comes scorching temperatures that bother your dog just as much as they bother you.
To make sure your pet can enjoy the yard even when it’s hot, create shady spots he can retreat to when he needs a break from the sun or the ground is too hot for his paws.
Sunset recommends a plant-covered pergola or a cool grassy spot where they can relax. Adding plants and water features to shaded areas will help keep temperatures down and your pet cool and comfortable.
Keep Your Yard Clean of Toxic Plants and Materials
You may want to have beautiful shrubs and flowers scattered around your yard, but before you start landscaping, check to make sure the plants you selected are safe to animals.
The ASPCA created a list of plants that are toxic to dogs and other animals that you should avoid having in your home or yard if you have free-roaming pets who might want to chew on them. Some of these plant species you may already know are bad for your pup, but some may surprise you.
Fences and Borders
Maintaining a secure and sturdy fence or border around your yard will not only keep your pet from venturing too far, but can also keep him safe from other neighborhood animals and wildlife that may want to explore your yard.
While your dog may not love the idea of being fenced in, dog expert Cesar Millan suggests making it more natural and free feeling by lining fences with a border of shrubs or vines or adding doggy “viewing windows” where he can look through the fence when he is curious without escaping.
While there are many practical ways to make your yard safe and comfortable for your dog, you want him to have fun, too.
The possibilities are endless, and you can get as creative and elaborate as you’d like by using materials you may already have around the house.
For example, you can use leftover wood or pallets to build a sandbox for digging or dig a small hole and insert a child’s plastic pool into the ground for a pup-sized swimming pool.
You can use old tires or find sturdy and affordable new ones online to build an obstacle course, jumping ring or stack them up to make a platform your dog can climb.
Get creative and make your yard a place you and your canine pal will never want to leave.