Dog-friendly backyard

Top 7 Dog-Friendly Ground Covers for a Long-Lasting and Beautiful Backyard

No doubt dogs are valuable family members. Despite that, they create havoc in your backyard. While your best bet is to set up hardscape such as pavers, with grass-loving pets at home, this isn’t always a realistic option. But the good news is that you don’t have to choose between a well-maintained backyard and a happy dog.

With a few changes, you can have a dog-compatible yard that keeps your pet safe and provides great looks. Choose from these dog-friendly backyard ground cover ideas and create a paradise for your dog that you will enjoy as well.

What are the most common problems with your ground cover when you have a dog? 

When homeowners introduce a pet dog in their family, they agree to absorb both the good and bad. In short, they are well aware that their backyard will never be the same again. And, there are good reasons for that as well. A protective or nervous dog will wear paths along the fence whenever they pace.

Besides, whether or not it is for fun or other reasons, dogs will dig up plants or things within minutes. Although digging is normal for dogs, it will annoy you a lot. Stains on concrete or brown spots on your ground cover appear regularly because of urine. 

In high foot-traffic areas, grass and other plants will have issues when it comes to growing. Certain ground covers such as wood products or natural grass can worsen flea infestations. Besides, homeowners who allow their pets to play outside or use the restroom after or during rain, have issues with mud being tracked back to the house.

What are the best ground covers that are dog-friendly? 

Keep in mind that there is no such thing called a full-proof dog-friendly ground cover. Despite that, you would want to provide them with a clean and safe environment for having fun. Here are some improvements that you can consider to transform your backyard into a paradise for your furry friend.

1. Designate dog paths

When your pet walks over the same stretch of ground regularly, the soil and grass contract and create a dog path. However, you can compensate the dead grass with paving stones. That way, your pet will have its path instead of walking on the grass. Also, make sure that the gravels don’t get too hot and are comfortable to walk on.

2. Dirt

The good old-fashioned dirt is another ground cover option. But it doesn’t mean that your entire backyard should be covered with dirt. What you need to do is leave a designated spot for your pets. That way, it will serve as the right solution for your yard. The area will provide them with the space to dig, roll around, or use it as a restroom without harming the landscaping.

3. Grow dog-friendly flowers and plants

When it comes to designing your backyard for landscaping, ensure that the plants aren’t poisonous if ingested by pets accidentally. Hence, if your dog has the habit of nibbling everything around it, make sure that the flowers and plants are dog-safe

While you won’t allow your pets to chew on flowers or plants, you can feel relaxed with certain plants. These include Snapdragons, Petunias, Pansies, Marigolds, Impatiens, Hibiscus, and Aster.

4. Live grass options

No natural grass is 100% dig-proof. Also, urine spots and diggings are inevitable. However, if you wish to have a natural grass lawn and share the same with your pets, you may narrow down your choices to a perfectly manicured lawn and consider the options below.

St. Augustine 

This kind of grass has deep roots and great option if your dog loves to dig. But it won’t tolerate excess pet urine and high foot traffic. Immediately water the area when you catch your pet’s urine on the lawn. It will decrease the intensity of the brown spot. 

Kentucky bluegrass

It is a kind of grass that can withstand high foot traffic and reseed itself. Also, people use the Kentucky bluegrass seed to patch bare areas on other types of lawns because they grow fast. The grass helps you maintain the right balance between an attractive lawn and happy pets.

Buffalo grass

This kind of grass is considered drought-resistant, low-water grass. And, you can buy them as seeds or plugs from local nurseries. Although the grass looks fragile, it can grow up to three inches and needs little care. 

5. Artificial grass or ‘Pet Turf’

Maintaining a live lawn comes with its challenges. So, if you don’t like these kinds of challenges, consider installing artificial grass for pets or ‘Pet Turf’. They have earned popularity in recent times. Besides, they are 100% safe for pets and kids

6. Pea gravel

It is another great option for dog-friendly ground cover. The best part is that gravel is not an expensive ground cover material if budget is your constraint. Moreover, the smooth stones will be gentle on your pet’s paws. 

On the contrary, if your backyard doesn’t have sufficient shade, the gravel could heat up and burn your dog’s paws. Also, they might get stuck between the paws of bigger pets. 

7. Mulch or wood chips

These are inexpensive, safe, and look beautiful as dog-friendly ground covers. Apart from that, they are natural bug repellents and fight ticks and fleas. However, don’t use cocoa bean mulch because it could hurt your dog if ingested.

BONUS: Dog-friendly backyard tips

If you want to prevent your dog from digging soil, ensure that there is adequate shade around. Dogs prefer cool spots and digs hoping to find one. Train your pet to relieve in a specific area. Make good use of pest control methods naturally to prevent ingestion of chemicals unintentionally. 

Moreover, when you move into a new house or are planning to have a new dog, observe their behavior for some time, say about a few weeks. That way, you can be sure of whether or not to invest in hardscape or new plants. 

If there are areas where your pets love to stroll, consider adding gravel or pavers there. Keep in mind that it is easy to juggle your pet’s current habits rather than teaching new ones.

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