From Spotlight: Make Life Easier for Your Pets (and You!)

Landscaping for Dogs: Do’s and Don’ts

Dog-friendly landscaping tips so you can have a beautiful yard and a happy dog.

Happy puppy on a yard landscaped for dogs
Image: Haus of Cruze

Landscaping for dogs is easy with these tips about what to do and what NOT to.

Like choosing the right mulch.


DO: Use gravel, shredded hardwood mulch, or wood chips; they won’t stick to longhair coats.
DON'T: Use cocoa mulch, which may contain theobromine, the same ingredient that makes chocolate poisonous to dogs.

Dog-friendly yard with mulch and a fire hydrant
Image: Down to Earth Landscaping, Inc. of Bellevue, WA

Yard Features

DO: Create a water feature so your dog can cool off on hot days.
DON'T: Install a pond or pool that's hard for your dog to enter and exit.

DO: Add a sandbox your dog can feel free to dig in. Bury bones and treats at first to pique their interest.
DON'T: Think that sandboxes are maintenance-free. Keep a shovel and rake nearby to cover holes and clean waste.

Related: How to Stop Your Dog From Digging in Your Yard


DO: Use organic fertilizers, herbicides, and pesticides on lawns and plants.
DON'T: Spread toxic lawn and plant care products, which can harm dogs. Studies have shown that exposure to pesticides may affect dogs similarly to how it affects humans. Scientists have linked lawn chemicals to canine cancer, according to EcoWatch.

DO: Select plant species that reduce fleas, such as lavender, rosemary, and mint, and others that are good for dogs to eat -- blueberries, strawberries, wheat grass, and oat grass.
DON'T: Select plants that can make your dog sick, like foxglove, iris, monkshood, and lily of the valley.

DO: Landscape with urine-resistant plants, such as Euonymus japonica (Japanese spindle tree) and Burkwood osmanthus.  
DON'T: Freak out when you find yellow and brown spots in your lawn caused by urine. Reseeding is a simple and easy cure for those spots. Or create a potty station.

Related: Why is My Grass Turning Brown?


DO: Create paths or walkways along routes your dog already travels. 
DON'T: Think you can redirect your dog away from areas they've already claimed. Don’t resort to planting thorny shrubs or other plants to deter them. You’ll both be sorry.

Dog-friendly xeriscaped back yard

DO: Edge flowerbeds with rocks or foot-tall shrubs to protect your posies.
DON'T: Use a metal edging that can cut your pooch.

DO: Give up the idea of having a perfect yard -- a place that's perfect for you and your pet is better.
DON'T: Let your dog rule the roost. Train them to respect boundaries and do their business in a designated spot.


Housing And Real Estate Expert Lisa Kaplan-Gordon
Lisa Kaplan Gordon

Lisa Kaplan Gordon is an award-winning, Pulitzer Prize-nominated writer who contributes to real estate and home improvement sites. In her spare time (yeah, right!), she gardens, manages three dogs, and plots to get her 21-year-old out of her basement.