dogIf you are a dog owner and dog lover, you'll want to create the perfect landscape for your dog while, at the same time, creating a landscape you can live with as well. This will provide every member of the family, including those with four legs, a landscape they can enjoy.

Challenges for Dog-Friendly Landscapes

There are quite a few challenges for the dog owner that wants a landscape that is perfect for the pet but pleasing to humans too. Dogs tend to wear paths, especially along fence lines because they are territorial. They are known for lying down in your favorite flower bed and smashing all the plants. They often like to dig down to the cool soil, and their urine can create burn spots in grass.

The first planning step to resolving these challenges is to study you dog and how it likes to use the landscape. Where does he like to nap? Where does he play? What are his favorite spots to urinate or defecate? What views does he like to sit or lie down and watch? And, where does he simply insist on digging a hole for snuggling into cool soil? Oh, yes, lets not forget to identify where he tracks mud into the house!

Solutions for the Perfect Dog Landscape

First, lets look at the problem of dogs wearing pathways through the landscape. If the dog is using this pathway, you might as well accept it as a necessary path in your landscape and create a walkway of stone or paving blocks. You could also solve the problem by using mulch, but that can invite digging, so it is best to create a pathway using a hardscape method. If your dog wears a path around the fence line, include that in your pathway creation and it will discourage the dog from wanting to attempt to dig underneath the fence.

To prevent mud being tracked into your house, create a buffer space between the landscape and the doorway your dog uses to allow him to wipe his feet or allow the dirt to wear off his feet before entering the house. An area of small gravel will do the job nicely. A long walkway to the entrance can solve the problem very attractively as well.

Dogs love shade in which to lounge but they also love to dig which can damage the roots of trees. To protect the root systems, you can apply thick layers of mulch around the trees and edge stones around the mulch. Or, if the tree is large and very well established, you can accept the fact that shade trees do not make a friendly spot for grass anyway and allow the dog to do what comes naturally.

Including Landscape Flowers

If you want to include flowers in your landscape, you will need to place them behind a fence if you want to ensure the dog does not smash them. Or you could choose to train your dog that this simply is not the place to lie down. Teach your dog that good manners are expected both in the house and outside and provide him places he loves, he won't be nearly as likely to invade your flower garden.

Once you have identified the places your dog likes to go potty, create him his very own bathroom area there. Place a thick bed of mulch over the area he normally does his business and encourage him to go there and no where else. Dog urine can burn grass, so if you want a lawn, this is a necessity.

An important step in planning a is making sure the plants you select are not poison to your pet. Many of the old standards  for landscaping, such as rhododendron, asparagus fern, gladiolas, and many others, can make you dog ill if he chooses to ingest enough. Get a complete list of the plants common to your region that are poisonous to pets from your local county extension service agent or garden shop.

You will have a landscape that you and your dog can enjoy together. The landscape will be attractive and practical, and actually quite low maintenance due to the use of hardscaping

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