The Terrapin Landscapes team are true dog lovers and nothing makes us happier than clients who come to us hoping to make more dog-friendly landscape decisions. Hardscaping and landscaping for dogs means thinking about safety, usability, and aesthetics from your pup’s perspective—and no one turns landscapes and hardscapes into dogscapes quite like Terrapin.
The best dog-friendly backyard designs create opportunities for dogs to do what they do best— protect their people—while making sure that dogs are contained and protected while they play outdoors. For that reason, most dog-friendly landscapes incorporate some form of fencing around all or part of the yard.
Traditional fences can frustrate dogs by keeping them from monitoring what they see as potential threats. No matter what their breed, dogs are, to some degree, territorial. They naturally want to keep a watchful eye on your property and your family. Our designers can show you attractive fencing options that offer privacy while providing ways for your dogs to see passersby and keep a wary eye on the wider world. We’ve even helped clients create “portholes” in fencing their pups can peek through!
Terrapin Landscapes designers know that planting near fence lines will also frustrate dogs, who instinctively wish to frequently patrol the perimeter of your property. By turning over a few feet along the fence line to your doggos you provide them with a productive place to prowl. Sturdy plantings like ornamental grasses can stand up to paws while a buffer made of paw-friendly material like flagstones, pebbles, or smooth rocks will keep your yard looking wonderful while your dog stands watch.
We know you also want your dog to play! What else is a backyard for dogs for? While your dog’s preferred activity level depends upon its breed and will change over time, all dogs benefit from heart-healthy outdoor exercise.
Terrapin designers often ask to walk your property, looking for paths your pups have naturally worn into your turf or garden. Turning dogs away from favorite runs can be frustrating and ineffective. We can lay flagstones or other hardscaping features along these preferred paths to protect your lawn or design organically around them so they are always bounding through beautiful, welcoming spaces. Dog friendly yard design can also group plantings more densely in no-go zones and open up other areas of the yard to encourage playful exploration, stick- and ball-chasing, and more.
Dog friendly landscape ideas carve pathways and create play spaces for active canines using hardscaping and landscaping techniques and pet-friendly materials. Ask us how we can encourage people and pets to spend more time playing in the yard!
#2: PERSONAL COMFORT
Dog-friendly landscaping ideas should also make your dogs more comfortable spending time outdoors. The key components Terrapin landscape designers look out for are access to water, protection from sun, and a designated place for toileting.
Water features are cooling, melodic, and inviting for humans and dogs alike. Splash fountains and streams have another benefit: encouraging your dog to stay hydrated. Small ponds and pools can also work in a dog friendly landscape but only if you are careful to make sure that dogs can climb out as easily as they fall in.
Another thing both pets and people appreciate in a backyard landscape: shade. Dogs get sunburned and experience heatstroke just as people do and you may not always notice that your pup is in danger. Large trees, pergolas, and awnings can all provide shelter on hot or bright days.
And finally, any dog spending time outdoors will relieve themselves outdoors as well. Many of our clients come to Terrapin Landscapes trying to restore lawns that are withering due to repeated exposure to dog urine, which contains high concentrations of both nitrogen and salts. Dog friendly lawns have a designated area designed just for this purpose—usually using crushed stone mulch and drought-resistant plantings unlikely to soak up the moisture.
Not all dogs respond to designated toileting areas as well as their owners might hope. Terrapin Landscapes can also work with you to transform dog-spotted or burned grass through hardscaping or by replacing it with green ground covers better able to resist dog marking, like lovely and environmentally friendly clover.
A big part of dog ownership is feeding, watering, and picking up after our pet. Water features delight you and your guests and hydrate your dog, while shady areas encourage everyone to stay outdoors longer. And our dog friendly landscape designers can help you improve your lawn’s health and appearance with a targeted toileting area.
#3: PLANT SAFETY
Landscaping for dogs takes toxicity into account as well. Many dog owners have potentially poisonous plants growing in their lawns and gardens and don’t even realize it. Some of the most common plants have leaves, roots, or berries that are very harmful and even dangerous for dogs to eat. For instance, Maine garden stalwarts like iris, foxgloves, clematis, yarrow, begonias, hydrangeas, mums, and tulips are all toxic for dogs, as are most ivies. Mountain laurel, a native Maine shrub in the blueberry family, is also very dangerous for dogs.
Terrapin pet-friendly landscape designers also look out for your dog’s eyes! Spiny or thorny plants at eye level can harm puppies out playing in the yard.
At Terrapin, we also pay attention to pet-friendly landscape maintenance. Did you know that dog owners should never use cocoa mulch? It causes the same stomach upsets in dogs as chocolate if ingested. And many baits and traps for snails, mice, ticks, and other pests can be fatal for dogs, too. If you have doubts about a product or a process, talk to us!
Dog-friendly backyards are free of toxic plantings and other potential hazards. Let Terrapin landscape designers talk to you about pet-friendly plants, shrubs, and maintenance options.
We saved the best for last. Designing doghouses and other pet hideaways that blend into beautiful landscape and hardscape designs while delighting their inhabitants is a true joy for our dog-friendly design team. We can match any architectural style or use materials that complement other features on your property, like natural stone or wood.
Bring your dog yard ideas to Terrapin! We can’t wait to help you make your property as pet-friendly as it can be.