8 Pupper-Friendly Backyard Features

pet friendly cover

It’s fun to watch our furry little friends run and romp in the backyard. There’s something about a dog’s hilarious havoc that put a smile on our faces. However, we can’t expect the fun to happen in a boring outdoor space. As dog owners, we can design an outdoor space that works for us and our four-legged friends too. Here are pet-friendly garden features and amenities that appeal to us as well:

1. Water features

pet-friendly poolA dog’s dream backyard has a source of fresh and clean water. After all the crazy chase in the garden, your dog needs a drink. You can set-up a small splash fountain in your yard. It improves your landscape and serves as a doggie drinking fountain that can beat the outdoor heat.

You can also build a tiny pond, stream, or a pool in your outdoor space. These water features inspire more bonding moments outside the house. Just make sure that your pet and any member of your family is safe around it. Your dog and your kid must be able to get out of the water in case they fell into it.

2. Pet-friendly boundaries

Dogs have a natural urge to escape. If they have got a chance to run away, they’ll bolt to the neighbor’s yard, hang out with another dog, or chase stray cats until they’re tired.

When they’re out of your sight, you’re not of their safety. They can get lost or dog-napped. Worse if they damaged someone else’s property or hurt a passerby.

pet-friendly garden


To avoid these troubles caused by runaway dogs, build boundaries. Use borders and fences to prevent them from wandering outside your property. Make sure that your fences are well-designed, safe, and strong. Some dogs end up getting trapped and hurt in the fence because they tried to escape.

You can also include a path in your landscape design. If your dog likes to prowl and patrol, they’ll love it.

3. Prickly plants

Grow thick bushes or vines that crawl and cling beautifully on a fence. If you really don’t want your dog to escape, plant several prickly plants along the edge your property. I recommend rosebushes and barberry. These plants bloom pretty flowers but dogs avoid them because of its thorns.

4. Toxin-free plants

Some common garden plants are dangerous if dogs eat them. Flowers such as azaleas, tulips, and lilies, when ingested by dogs, result to serious body system malfunctions. You can check this list provided by the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) to know more about the plants that can irritate or kill your pet.

5.  Shade and shelter

pet-friendly dog house


Your furry companion is also in danger of heatstroke when they spend too  much time under the scorching sun. Take care of their health by providing shade and shelter. If you have trees, better! If you don’t make the covered porch or patio accessible for them. You can also use shade cloths, tarps, or an umbrella to shade your patio. If the space permits, build a dog house. You can purchase this from a pet store or you can DIY.

6. Play place

If you’re one of those homeowners who invest in landscaping, creating a play space will prevent your dog from ruining the entire garden. Build them a sandbox where they can dig and do their potty training. This way, you can keep dogs from destroying the lawn. It’s also a smart way to control your pet’s poop in one place.

7. Beautiful and safe landscape materials

pet-friendly grass

For the landscape pavement, choose a material that doesn’t overheat, easy on the foot, and won’t cling to fur. The ideal flooring materials are concrete, brick, and flagstone. Pebbles and river rocks are great because it discourages digging. If you don’t own a digger, then you might pull off a good lawn. Don’t use artificial turf because it might overheat and burn their little paws. Avoid cocoa mulch too—these give the garden a chocolatey smell but it’s as bad as chocolates when ingested by  dogs.

8. Fun features

An obstacle course can keep your pup in good shape. This doesn’t have to be expensive. You can recycle PVC pipes, wood, wheels, and trash cans to create outdoor tunnels that your dog and kids will enjoy. This is their playground, a spot where they can chase each other. It can also work as your dog’s hiding spot. Your pooch needs some private time too.

A true dream backyard for us dog lovers is more than a crazy playground. It must  address the needs and wants of our family, including our furry friends. It might take some time to create a pet-friendly outdoor space of your own, but you can do it.


About the author: Charlene Ara Gonzales is the design writer of the Gold Coast architects of Superdraft Pty. Ltd. This team of design professionals is leading the way in architecture and design in Australia. They’ve made a lot of dog lovers happy with their sustainable, pet-friendly home designs.