Dog in the backyard

When designing your dream backyard, you make it a point to keep the safety and well being of your family a top priority. And since your pets are a part of the family, it’s important to consider their well-being in relation to your gardening landscape. With these helpful tips in your back pocket, you’ll find creative ways to have the best of a beautiful backyard while keeping four legged friends out of harm’s way.


Fence Fancy

The first step in ensuring that your furry friends stay safe in the backyard is installing appropriate fencing. Dogs and cats alike are keen to explore their environment, and a wide open yard with no boundaries opens up opportunities for them to wander too far and end up lost. Simple fencing setups, such as those made of chain link or classic wood, are perfectly suitable for preventing dogs from leaving the parameters of your backyard. If you decide on a chain link fence, be sure to have a fence privacy screen to maintain some separation from prying eyes.


Cats, on the other hand, are capable of jumping over even relatively high fences or squeezing through even the tiniest of spaces that can appear in fence slats. Taller fences with angled guards at the top can keep kitties from making a grand escape, and regular maintenance on wood fences ensures that no crooks and crevices form. No matter what type of fence you choose for your pet friendly backyard, it will give you the peace of mind you need as a pet owner.


Throwing Shade

Throwing Shade

If there is one thing we have in common with our pets, it is a love of relaxing in the sunshine. The summer months are the perfect time to play catch or take a catnap in the afternoon sun. But as relaxing as warm weather can be, too much time in the sun can be just as harmful to our pets as it is to us. Extended exposure to sunlight can cause heat stroke and dehydration in dogs, especially if they have been highly active and not provided with enough water. Keep your four legged friends healthy and safe by making sure you have ample sources of shade in your backyard, be that trees, umbrellas, or even canopy covers. Lacking in shade options? Many dog owners buy or build dog houses for their pups to relax in and escape the rays, along with other Do It Yourself Challenges. Having multiple hydration stations throughout your backyard will help prevent dehydration and keep your pets energized so they can enjoy their time in the sun.


Garden Goodness

Garden Goodness

Your backyard garden is your pride and joy, but it’s also prone to pet mischief and mayhem. Dig-happy dogs will jump at the chance to get their paws into your gardening soil, and curious cats will not hesitate to take a bite out of whatever plants you happen to have growing. Thankfully, there are a number of ways to plant a garden that will protect both your plants and your pets. Steer clear of fertilizers, pesticides, and plants that could be harmful to your pet if they were to ingest them. Some of the most common plants that are toxic to pets are:

  • English Ivy
  • Tulips 
  • Lillies 
  • Mums
  • Hydrangeas


With a little research on pet friendly plants you’ll be able to find a natural pesticide or a recipe for a homemade pesticide. If you’re a cat owner, plant a patch of catnip for your kitty to enjoy. And if you want to keep your garden completely protected from pets or other animals, place a custom cover atop your plants for added security and peace of mind. No matter how tempting your flowers may look, pets will have a hard time trying to get past a cover. 



When your pet is spending the better part of the afternoon running around your backyard, the last thing you want is for them to be running and playing on the wrong kind of ground cover. Just like humans going on jogs, the surface on which pets run, especially dogs, is important and should be considered when constructing a pet friendly environment. Pebbles, unique mossy grasses such as elfin thyme and Irish moss, and bark chips are all great choices for cover that will be easy on your pet’s paws. And like the rest of your backyard, make sure that the areas your dog loves to run around in have sufficient shade and protection from the sun, as even the best ground cover options can heat up under the rays and sting sensitive paws. 


Water World

Who doesn’t love a dip in cool water on a hot summer’s day? Even if you don’t own a backyard pool, there are a number of ways to beat the summer heat without breaking the bank. A simple sprinkler is an easy way to entertain pets and water your backyard garden. With hose attachment options available, you can get a multifaceted tool perfect for getting two jobs done. If your backyard is fortunate enough to have natural water areas, such as a pond or perhaps a creek, try to build a garden area around these areas in order to highlight their appeal in the landscape. This will also deter pets by establishing a natural barrier around them.