4 Ideas for a Pet-Friendly Backyard

4 Ideas for a Pet-Friendly Backyard

When you’re home in the evenings and on the weekend, you want to include your pets in your outdoor fun. You can now transform your Hampton Roads backyard into a pet-friendly hangout.

4 Ideas Pet-Friendly Outdoor Spaces

Articles abound regarding pet-friendly plants. But it’s hard to find specifics on catios—a cat patio—and hardscaping for your dog. Here are four ideas for a pet-friendly backyard:

  1. Natural grass and artificial turf for playing, running and jumping: Whether you have a small backyard or a lot of acreage, you can dedicate a grassy space for your dog to play. And it’s not just a patch of land. Indeed, you can include ramps, long paths for running as well as an obstacle course to challenge your dog.

    Consider artificial turf if you have a small yard or want a place for your dog to run that doesn’t need any maintenance to keep it green. Today’s fake grass is made to look like the real thing. Plus, it’s easy to wash off dog waste.

    One caution though: artificial turf tends to get very hot when it’s in full sun. Keep your dogs and cats’ paws safe from burning as well as provide a cool spot to lay down by adding a shady spot or two on the fake grass area.

You can read more about synthetic grass for pets in this blog post.

  1. Healthy boundaries to keep your pets in and your landscaped beds safe: While you may want to give your dog and cat free reign over your entire lawn, you still will want your pets to stay out of certain landscape beds. First, make sure you’re building your catio or dog run where there are no dangerous plants or objects that could hurt them.

    Instead, use pet-friendly plants around play areas. Add edging materials, such as stones, rocks and wood chips around those flower and vegetable beds where you don’t want your pet to roam.

    Consider fencing—either underground or aboveground to keep your dog inside your property. If your dog is a jumper, consider getting an underground fence that uses electric impulses, a collar, and boundary training to keep Fido home.

Read about specific poisonous plants for your pet to avoid in this post.

  1. Catios and doghouses: No, this doesn’t mean that your landscape company comes out and designs a patio just for your cat—although if you have the means and desire, you can dedicate an outdoor room just for your cat.

    If you love your backyard patio, but don’t trust your feline to stay on your lap or in your yard, consider enclosing it. In your newly enclosed patio, add a tiered tower or townhouse for your kitty to climb as well as scratching posts to keep her from scratching the screens, furniture and rugs.

    Also, you may want to buy your cat a turf mat to nap on. Oh, and don’t forget the catnip garden—it’ll keep kitty happy all day long.

    While you don’t want your dog penned up outside by him- or herself, you still may want to include a doghouse with shelter and openings so he or she can go in and out at leisure while you’re puttering in the garden.

    If you want to keep Fido from digging in your yard, consider adding a sandbox as a safe place to dig to his heart’s delight. You can bury his favorite bones and toys for him to dig up.

    Just keep in mind that periodically you’ll need to scoop out dog waste as well as cover up holes.

Thinking about a catio or a doghouse? Read this article.

  1. Remember safety: It’s important to keep your furry friends safe. For example, make sure that your pets aren’t left outside all alone while you’re at work. And provide plenty of places for shade as well as water for your pet.

    If you have a pool, make sure your dogs have a way to climb out and keep an eye on them while they’re swimming.

    And don’t use cocoa mulch or plant any poisonous plants that your pet might eat. Finally, keep the surfaces safe—use wood chips or certain mulches that won’t cling to long fur and are gentle on paws.

It’s a joy to include your pet in your outdoor rooms. Consider these four ideas to add to your VA Beach backyard today!


We love our pets but boy can they make a mess of our landscape! Visionscapes Land Design of Chesapeake has put together a wonderful (and free) slideshow to give you ideas on how you can mitigate the mud with creative petscaping!

Got Mud? 6 Petscaping Solutions to Mitigate Mud and Improve Your Yard