Dog Holding a Frisbee Hanging Out in a Dog-Friendly Backyard

8 Backyard Ideas for Dogs

October 2, 2021

Your dogs are important members of the family and should be considered when designing or renovating your landscaping. Are you asking yourself, how can I make my backyard dog friendly? Or what kind of landscaping is good for dogs? Are you seeking dog-friendly backyard ideas on a budget? Then look no further. Our landscape experts can help you curate a happy, stimulating, safe place for the pup, and ways to keep things looking nice for humans too!

Not all properties and yards are created equal, so it’s important to know that it’s not one size fits all, and some of the backyard ideas for dogs that we discuss below may work well for some properties and not others. Let this post be a guide to help you plan your dog-friendly landscape design, but feel free to reach out to our landscape experts if you want one on one help throughout the process.

Dog Sitting in a Meadow with Flea-Repellant Herbs

Using Herbs to Keep Fleas Away

Using flee repelling plants is a great way to make your landscape dog-friendly. And, there are a lot of herbs and plants that can repel fleas from your dog-friendly landscape. Before pesticides were used, typically flea-repelling herbs were planted in order to keep them away. Flea-repelling plants can be planted by the entrances, by the foundation, and around windows. When deciding to plant herbs that repel fleas, make sure to do your research and make sure you are choosing plants that are non-toxic to animals if they will be in the areas your dog frequents. Here are a few herbs that keep fleas away that you can consider for your garden:

  • Catnip
  • Chamomile
  • Citronella
  • Eucalyptus
  • Fleabane Daisy
  • Fleawort
  • Lavender
  • Marigolds
  • Mint
  • Rosemary
  • Sage

Dogs Playing in a Pool

Water Features to Keep Dogs Hydrated and Cool

Dogs love water, and especially in the summer when the temperatures are rising, they would love to have a water feature in their dog-friendly landscape. Depending on the dog’s backyard lifestyle preferences here are a couple options to consider:

  • Swimming Pool – For some water dog breeds, a pool is a great form of exercise and a way to cool off in the summer. Try to make sure your dog isn’t drinking the chlorinated water though! Check out our Pool Landscaping Ideas blog post for inspiration.
  • Dipping pool – A shallower version of a swimming pool with only 6-8 inches of water for dogs to dip their bellies and relax in the water.
  • Fountain for Drinking – Coming in all shapes and sizes, a little spitting fountain is perfect to give your dog their own hydration station.

Dog Playing with a Ball in a Dig Pit

Dig Pit

Does your dog love to dig? A dig pit is a great dog-friendly landscape idea perfect for most backyards. Let’s design one for your pup so that they stop digging in your garden. A designated dig pit with loose dirt or sand will encourage your dog to hide their bones, toys, and treats, or just to dig for the fun of it. To encourage your dog to use the dig pit, bury some of your dog’s toys and bones just under the surface and reward your dog when they uncover them! To keep the game going, continue burying the toys or bones lower and lower in the pit each time. The dig pit can always be used if your pup digs to find a cooler layer of dirt to lay on!

Dog Sitting in the Shade


Shade is one of the most important things to consider for your dog-friendly landscape. The summer temperatures can get excruciating and it’s important for your dog’s health to have a spot out of the sun. Here are some shade options and ideas to consider for yourself, and your pup too!

  • Shade Sail – These fabric screens create shade below without blocking any breeze. They can be fully customized to be whatever shape and size you need for your space.
  • Sunshade or Awning – A retractable shade is a great way to generate some shade when you need it! This option gives you the flexibility to determine when you want to pull the shade out and for how long.
  • Pergola – Typically they are wood built structures that can form a large amount of shade. They stand the test of time and are a great way to have shade without blocking a breeze.
  • Lattice Wall – One of these can be used for shade in the shadow it casts. If your site gets high sun exposure to one side more than others, a lattice wall can help with a more aesthetically pleasing way of creating shade.

Three Dogs Hanging Out in a Dog-Friendly Backyard

Keep Landscaping Toxic Free

While there are many backyard ideas for dogs to choose from, it’s also important to consider what can harm them. There are a huge number of plants that are highly toxic to dogs. It’s important to remember which plants should never be kept within a dog’s reach. Be sure that your dog is not able to ingest any of the following highly toxic plants:

  • Sago Palm
  • Tomato Plant
  • Aloe Vera
  • Ivy
  • Amaryllis
  • Gladiola
  • American Holly
  • Daffodil
  • Babies Breath
  • Milkweed
  • Castor Bean
  • Rhododendron
  • Tulip
  • Chrysanthemum
  • Begonia
  • Oleander

Consumption of any plant material can cause vomiting and gastrointestinal upset in dogs, but be sure to check a full list of the toxic and non-toxic plants for your dogs before planting. If you think your dog has ingested a poisonous plant, be sure to contact your vet right away.

Dog Sitting in a Dog-Friendly Backyard

Nibbles and Bites

Gardening can be dog friendly when you plant safe to eat fruit and vegetables for dogs in your garden, whether that be using a raised planter or elsewhere. It’s an ideal backyard idea for a dog because they will always have something to munch on. Make sure to check the toxic and non-toxic plants for dogs before planning out your garden and make sure to use dog-friendly fertilizers. Here are a few wholesome fruits and veggies your dogs would be able to nibble on:

Carrots, cucumbers, apples, zucchini, green beans, spinach, watermelon, and berries.

Dog Running with a Ball in its Mouth

Dog Run

A dedicated outdoor space or structure for your dog to run free is a wonderful solution to make sure your pet has their own dog backyard playground space where they can romp around as they please. A dog run is not only a great backyard idea for a dog, but also an important one because it can be a good way to localize pet waste to a particular area so that it doesn’t interfere with your other outdoor areas and activities. A private area of their own can help them stay away from poisonous plants, chemicals, or other areas they aren’t supposed to mess with. Dog run ideas that work best for your dog and backyard will depend on the size and breed you have. Working dog breeds typically need a larger dog run area so they don’t feel confined in a small area.

Two Labrador Retrievers Side-by-Side

Need Help from Landscape Professionals?

Let our experts help guide you through the process of curating a landscape with your furry loved ones in mind. Whether it’s a residential or commercial dog yard area you need help with, we can help! Contact us today to get started on your dog-friendly landscape.