By Brittany, Landscape Designer
Most pet owners take measures to ensure the inside of their home is pet-friendly by removing chemicals stored in easily accessible areas, tucking away exposed electrical cords and putting away prized possessions such as shoes and electronics so dogs are not tempted to chew on them. What many pet lovers fail to consider is the importance of safeguarding the outside of their home too, which is where a lot of pets spend a good amount of their time. Pet owners or Pet owners-to-be can make their property safe and beautiful at the same time, so their landscape won’t take such a beating, and more importantly, their furry friends are safe. Our designers make a point to incorporate all ‘household members’ needs and safety into their considerations for landscape designs. If you have outdoor pets it’s important to create a pet-friendly landscape.
Of course, you can train your dog to not chew your shoes and eat your plants but unlike a chewed shoe, a single run-in with a toxic plant could prove fatal for your pet. There are approximately 145 different types of plants that can be harmful to your pets. Fortunately, there are even more that are non-toxic and visually appealing; therefore, your yard doesn’t have to be plant free or filled with boring plantings in order to keep your pets safe. This is it is important that you communicate to your designer if you have pets that spend time outside. Our designers enjoy the challenge of locating and incorporating appropriate plant materials specific to your property’s needs. If you are installing your own landscape, we suggest reviewing the ASPCA’s complete list of toxic and non-toxic plants before choosing plants on your own.
You may already have a fence or be interested in installing one. If you are looking to install a new fence, there are options that are both aesthetically pleasing and successful in keeping your pets contained. We suggest choosing fences constructed with either wooden or vinyl materials verses a chain link or electrical version. Electric fences, also known as ‘invisible fences’ because they are planted underground, won’t deter stray animals or unwanted visitors from entering your property. You also won’t have to subject your dog to unnecessary electrical shocking in order to keep them on your property. Fences constructed of wood or vinyl will also assist in increasing your property’s value, whereas a chain-link fence could actually do the opposite. If you already have a chain link fence but don’t want to replace it, we suggest incorporating non-toxic climbing vine such as Rosa ‘New Dawn’ (Climbing Rose). Screening plants installed near your chain link fence can grow up onto or in front of the existing fence and mask its appearance. Ornamental grasses are another great example of a screening plant to hide unsightly fencing.
If you already have an existing fence it is important to assess the integrity of the entire fencing structure to locate and repair any holes or weaken areas where your pets may squeeze through. It is also important that all gates securely close. You’d be surprised how puppies and small breed dogs can squeeze through a hole that appears to be ‘too small’ or push open a gate that does not properly latch.
Grass and Groundcover
Yellow polka dots may work on bikinis, but most homeowners don’t appreciate it them on their lawn. One way to curb dog urine and excessive traffic from damaging your lawn is to install grasses that are more resistant to pet urine such as Tall Fescue, Kentucky Bluegrass, or Buffalo Grass. Another option would be to install artificial turf. There are many artificial turf options available today which are very visually appealing and they eliminate maintenance and provide a year-round surface that can be used without worry of water pudding or other damages that can be sustained when the ground is overly saturated.
Another great option for protecting your landscape is to install a flagstone or paver patio. A patio will allow your dog to run around as he or she pleases without damaging your lawn and furthermore you can utilize the space for your own enjoyment and entertaining! Another perk of a patio in relation to pets is that they are dig-proof. Patios are a favorite option among our customers desiring a dog-friendly landscape.
Professional Grounds, Inc. is a dog-friendly company. Many days you will find one or two employee dogs hanging out at our offices. If you are interested in professional pet-friendly landscape options, look no further, Professional Grounds is your company. Contact us today!