Dog Friendly Landscaping

More and more, we hear from clients looking to build yards that work for their babies. Their fur babies that is.

Dog-friendly landscaping is an area that we have some experience in and is an important one, especially in smaller Seattle lots where pups can run amok and have a big impact. With a little bit of planning, you can have a yard that works for people and dogs – while still looking great throughout.

Dog Proofing Your Yard

There are a variety of types of yards that can be pup friendly and, perhaps more importantly, dog resilient. If you’re worried about your dog killing your lawn with digging, running or urinating you can forgo your lawn entirely with hardscapes, like patios. Gravel and wooden play chips are other options for yard spaces that can withstand heavy dog usage.

One other lawn alternative that has gained popularity is artificial turf, due to its resistance to dog antics and pee. Its popularity has led to developments, such as holes for the urine to drain through. However, you may still need to hose turf down to remove urine and disinfect areas where feces occur as artificial turf does not disinfect naturally over time as grass does.

But you don’t need to swap out your yard for artificial turf yet, it is possible to train your dog to not pee on the lawn and in a designated, perhaps turf, area instead. Similarly, you can install barriers around planting beds to train dogs to stay away.

Grasses are a good dog-friendly option because they are resilient enough for dogs to lie on them without damaging them. A middle-ground between sealing off beds and letting dogs run amok is to place grasses around the front of planting beds for a dog-safe area.

Pacifica Landscapes - a leading landscape architecture design and installation firm located in Seattle - showcases some of their recent signature projects in the Wallingford, U-District and Ravenna neighborhoods of Seattle. Seattle Architectural Photography ©2017 Ari Shapiro -

Dog Safe Planting

As well as the impact dogs can have on your garden, it’s important to think about the impact the garden can have on your dogs. Some plants can be toxic to dogs if ingested, although it depends on the dosage. Rhododendrons, for example, are toxic but are rarely eaten. Other toxic garden plants include tulips and daffodils.

The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals has a whole list of plants that are and aren’t toxic to dogs here.

However, for a poisoning event to occur, the plant must be attractive enough to be ingested. Some dogs like to eat grasses and never leaves, others like flowers. By paying attention to your dogs habits, a safe garden can be created that is still fun for people.

Dog Runs

If you want to have a dedicated area for dogs in your yard, we can build one. A backyard dog run lined with play chips is easy to clean and you just need to replace the chips every few years. The cedar chips mask smells and prevent the ground from getting muddy. As an added benefit, fleas hate the smell of cedar chips and will stay away from them.

For a free consultation on building a dog-friendly yard, give us a call at 206-551-9872.