When designing your yard it is important to consider the needs of all family members, including those on four legs. We talked to our landscape designers to see what they recommend when designing pet friendly landscapes.
Features to include
Thankfully, many of the things we humans enjoy about our backyards are also preferred by our pooches. A relaxing water feature for you can double as a fun water bowl for your pup. Keep in mind your pet’s personality when meeting with your landscape designer. If you have a dog that likes to run the perimeter of one portion of your yard you may want to opt for a path in that area, rather than installing plants or turf that could be easily trampled.
- Have an open space to play.
- Provide a designated spot to do their business. No one likes a spotted lawn, and, while they do make supplements to give your dog to help with the issue, these are often not recommended by vets. Train your dog to use a mulched or graveled area.
- Shade is important for humans and animals alike. A pergola, umbrella, or trees to provide cover will keep the entire family cool.
- Places to hide are a great feature to include if you have a cat that ventures out. They will enjoy stalking from the sidelines.
- Include a shallow water feature that recirculates as standing water can pose a danger. Clean it regularly to keep it free of bacteria.
- Plant bed areas densely and consider a defined border for areas you want your dog to avoid.
Plants to avoid
When choosing plants for your yard it is important to note that a wide variety can be extremely harmful to your dog or cat. The ASPCA has a long list of toxic plants on their website. Some of the common ones used in landscapes in Colorado Springs include:
You should make an effort to avoid plants with berries as these can be harmful if ingested. It is also wise to avoid plants with thorns or barbed seeds. These can cause eye injury, stick in paws, and mat into fur.
Materials to avoid
Some products and materials used in our backyards can also be harmful to your furry friends. For example, certain varieties of mulch, those using cocoa, can be extremely toxic if ingested in large quantities. If you have a chewer it is best to use a natural mulch from a local provider.
Many of the chemicals used to control pests and weeds can be incredibly toxic to your pet. For more information on natural pest control check out our blog post here. Read labels carefully before applying as you may have to take certain precautions and keep your pets out of your yard for a period of time. Chemicals used for snow and ice removal in winter months can be paw irritants, so be sure to wash your animal’s feet when they come inside.
Guard your compost. Many of the items that are awesome for your compost are very bad for your pets; coffee grounds, grapes, and varieties of mushrooms just to name a few. As items in your compost decompose they can produce mold and other harmful toxins. Be mindful of predators. In certain areas of Colorado Springs it is not uncommon to run into fox, coyote, mountain lion, or even the occasional bear. Each of these can pose a serious threat to cats and small dogs. Check your fences often for potential escape routes and damage.
If you would like assistance with design and installation of your dream backyard (or your dog’s) contact us!