Is your landscaping going to the dogs? Is your lawn riddled with “dog spots?” There’s no reason that you can’t have both dogs and attractive landscaping. But landscaping with dogs does present challenges that may require some compromises. The goal in this balancing act is to achieve an attractive, dog-friendly yard. If your dogs are to be allowed to run about in your yard, you’ll probably have to make adjustments to your landscaping. Here are a few tips:
Avoid Dog Spots With Hardscape: Stone and masonry are especially useful for landscaping with dogs, because they minimize the mess dogs make through urination (dog spots), digging and plain old wear and tear.
Know Your Grass Types: Some grasses hold up better to foot traffic (and paw traffic!) than others. Among the warm-season grasses, Bermuda grass is among the toughest. If you need a cool-season grass for landscaping with dogs, try Kentucky bluegrass.
Clover lawns have many advantages over grass lawns. If you’re landscaping with dogs, you’ll especially appreciate the fact that clover doesn’t stain the way grass does after being subjected to canine urine. If you can’t bring yourself to renounce grass, you can still prevent dog spots by vigilance. When you see a dog urinating on the grass, rush to the garden hose. Turn it on and bring it over to the area where your dog has just urinated. Douse the area with water, thereby flushing it and diluting the harmful elements in the dog urine.
Fences for Dog-Friendly Yards : One way to keep dogs away from the delicate plants in your yard is by building fences around them. Place wire cages around trees and shrubs to prevent dog urine from reaching their trunks and roots and damaging them. If a fence surrounds your property, do not try to grow any plants in the area immediately adjacent to the fence. Dogs are territorial, and their favorite path in a fenced-in yard will be right along the fence. Unsightly “dog paths” are the result of this predictable behavior.
A Final Consideration for Dog-Friendly Yards : If the plantings in your yard possess any significant degree of diversity, there’s a good chance that you’re growing poisonous plants — without even knowing it. You’d be surprised at how many of the most common landscape plants and native volunteers contain at least some parts (leaves, berries, etc.) that are toxic.
(taken from an article by David Beaulieu, About.com)