Turn your backyard into a doggy paradise. ATTRIBUTION: Flickr – Eric Sonstroem

Most dogs enjoy a playful romp through the backyard. To help create a safe, fun environment for your pup, consider adding some design elements that can benefit both you and your canine companion. From plenty of shady spots to rest in to a water feature that provides cool drinking water, there are plenty of landscape features you can add to your yard to make it more dog-friendly. Here are a few ideas to get you started.

Water Feature

If you have the skill and the budget required, consider adding a water feature to your backyard. The sound of running water can be relaxing for pet owners, and your pooch will love the opportunity to retrieve cool drinks after strenuous play or exercise. Choose a sturdy water source that your pup can’t knock over, such as a splash pad. Short fountains and shallow ponds can also provide fresh water, while adding beauty to your yard.

Shade and Shelter

If you live in a sunny, warm climate, shade and shelter for your pet is a must. If left exposed to the elements, dogs can suffer from heatstroke. Natural shade can be found under large trees that block sunlight, such as the following tree species: hybrid poplar, nuttall oak, red maple, and weeping willow. If possible, provide your dog with enclosed shelter for rainy days, such as a spacious dog house or outdoor canopy.


Fencing around the perimeter of a backyard offers privacy for pet owners and safety for curious dogs. Establish boundaries for your pup by installing a fence, either above ground or via a wireless fence system. While chain link fencing is one of the most affordable options, more aesthetically-pleasing options are also out there, such as wood picket fencing or strong wrought iron varieties.

Walking Materials

Dogs are inquisitive creatures that like to roam and explore their environment. To meet your dog’s comfort and curiosity needs and to beautify your backyard further, consider adding a variety of walking materials. Pathways made of cool materials, such as concrete, smooth rocks, or pebbles, allow dogs to wander the area with ease. Also add softer areas for dogs to walk in, such as those covered in mulch or small bark chips.

Safe Plants

Even if your pup doesn’t nibble on the plants in your yard, it’s better to be safe than sorry. Choose non-toxic plants that won’t make your dog ill if ingested. Some plants that are non-toxic to canines include orchids, roses, African daisies, celosias, and Peruvian lilies. There are also plants you can add that are specifically beneficial to pets, such as lavender, tansy, and other herbs that repel fleas.


If your dog is not a big barker, you may want to consider installing small windows into the fence itself. Windows allow your dog to see the outside world from the safety of the backyard. Windows for pets can be purchased commercially, or you can make your own with pieces of plexiglass, or with metal screens surrounded by durable wood or aluminum frames.