If you’re like most dog owners, you love the idea of watching your dogs play and run around in the backyard. You enjoy the freedom of opening the door and letting them roam and get out some energy. However, those positive feelings change pretty quickly the first time your dog digs up the garden. 

    What are you supposed to do? Should you surrender the yard to the dogs, and let them destroy it and run amok?  Should you just forget about backyard barbecues forever? No way! The problem with most backyard designs is that they don’t’ consider your dogs’ needs.  

    There are plenty of backyard design ideas that make your backyard better for your dogs and better for you. Here are some ideas to get you started. 

    Re-Think Your Fencing

    If you don’t already have a fence, it’s a must-have with a pup. Keeping your dog in an enclosed area creates a safer space for everyone. Also, it means that your dogs can run off-leash. That freedom to roam is essential. 

    There are a couple of ways to make your fence extra dog-friendly. If you have a particularly curious pup, you could add some peep windows to the fence so that your furry friend can watch all the things going on over the fence. (Warning, if your dog is already a barker, don’t do this. It’ll exacerbate the issue.) 

    If you want your dog to feel less like they’re trapped in an enclosed barrier, consider lining the fence with greenery, like bushes or vines. Doing so helps to create a more natural feeling for your dog.

    Make Some Shade

    It’s essential to give your doggo a place to cool off. As a bonus, shade areas are also excellent for people. A porch cover or a deck are great options. With a porch, both you and your dog can get a reprieve from the heat. With a deck, your dog can easily go underneath to cool off. 

    If you go with the deck option, be sure to watch out for exposed nails or screws, as those can be dangerous for your pet’s paws. Consider using hidden deck fasteners instead to avoid any safety issues. 

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    Think About Pathways

    Pathways make your backyard beautiful to look at and easy to navigate. Dogs love them, too. Paths create an excellent way for dogs to explore the backyard quickly. It also ensures that your dog won’t use the restroom in the same area people walk. 

    When you create pathways, dogs will rarely eliminate on them. So, if that’s a concern, pathways are a great solution. You can also set up marking areas using pieces of driftwood or large stones, to encourage your dogs to only use certain parts of the yard for their restroom. 

    Use Dog-Friendly Materials

    If you build that pathway, be sure to use dog-friendly material. This applies to your entire yard. Make sure to plant grasses that won’t cut their paws. Make sure you’re purchasing toxin-free fertilizers and non-toxic plants. 

    Avoid any materials that will be too hot or cold on their feet. Many pet owners are looking towards artificial turf for this reason. It’s safe for their paws, and it also dissuades digging. For an extra punch, dog owners are looking into permeable yard paving, which provides the benefits of artificial turf while respecting the natural ecosystem of the earth.

    Consider a Water Feature

    Ever wanted a fountain, stream, waterfall, or pond in your backyard? Well, now you have more of a reason to do it. Dog’s love splash pools. They’re great features for a quick cool down for your furry friend. 

    You can go as high-end or budget-friendly as you want with this feature. Go all the way with a manmade pond, complete with a waterfall. Or, go simple and invest in a sprinkler system. Either way, your pooch will love having a water feature in the backyard. Just be sure that you think about your backyard drainage design if you add a water feature. Doing so ensures that you don’t end up with standing water or bug issues, which could mean big challenges for you and your dog later on. 

    Go All Out: Add the Fun

    All the above design ideas are great for both you and your dog, but if you really want to wow your dog, think about ways to make your yard more like a puppy playground. 

    Add a sandbox, if you have a digger. Build a mini-obstacle course if you have an active pup. Also, most dogs love tunnels, so just adding a tunnel somewhere in your yard could mean tons of extra joy for your dog. 

    Get creative. You don’t have to sacrifice your yard for your dog to have a good time. Instead, use the ideas above to create a backyard design that both you and your dogs will love. 

    Matt Lee is the owner of the Innovative Building Materials blog and a content writer for the home building materials industry. He is focused on helping fellow homeowners, contractors, and architects discover materials and methods of construction that save money, improve energy efficiency, and increase property value. 


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    Bill Lyons

    Bill Lyons is the Founder, CEO & President of Griffin Funding. Founded in 2013, Griffin Funding is a national boutique mortgage lender focusing on delivering 5-star service to its clients. Mr. Lyons has 22 years of experience in the mortgage business. Lyons is seen as an industry leader and expert in real estate finance. Lyons has been featured in Forbes, Inc., Wall Street Journal, HousingWire, and more. As a member of the Mortgage Bankers Association, Lyons is able to keep up with important changes in the industry to deliver the most value to Griffin's clients. Under Lyons' leadership, Griffin Funding has made the Inc. 5000 fastest-growing companies list five times in its 10 years in business.