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dog jumping mid air in front of a soccer goal with soccer ball ©alexei_tm

10 Essential Backyard Features for Dog Owners

Moving to a new home opens an exciting chapter in your life, but your dog may look forward to it even more than you! Nothing beats having a big yard for your sweet pup to run around and play frisbee, nap in the shade, and splash in the doggy pool. Our Kerley Family Homes agents can help you choose which of our new neighborhoods is right for you so you can start enjoying the great features pet parents love!

We have incredible executive series homes at Carter Grove with full basements, estate-sized 1-acre lots at Hurricane Pointe, and spacious townhomes at Park View Reserve and Park Center Pointe that offer modest outdoor space and privacy for your family, nearby outdoor recreation, and other pet perks! Now is the time to make the move for you and your dog to live the lives you deserve!

African American family with fluffy dog outside enjoying time ©LightField Studios

What Kind of Yard is Best for Dogs?

Most dogs don’t need much. Their favorite stick, a yummy bone, and a sunny day can be enough to keep them happy for hours. However, when you have a new yard to care for, ensuring the landscaping is safe and secure should be your top priority.

The best backyard for a dog will include:

  • Plenty of space to run around
  • As little grass as possible to avoid urine damage (or a damage-resistant grass type)
  • Lots of shade-bearing trees, shrubs, and structures
  • Hardscaping materials that are kind to paws

Here are some other great backyard ideas for dogs so you and your pup can enjoy it year-round!

Australian Shepherd in tiny pool on a hot day ©Kenedyxx

Doggy Splash Pool

Pools are an excellent way for your furry dog to cool down in the hot summer heat. An easy and affordable option is buying a hard plastic kiddie pool. They sell for about $20-$30 and will offer your dog endless fun and exercise.

Double-coated breeds like huskies, chow chows, and German shepherds can also lay in the pool during winter. Filling it with ice is a clever way to keep them cool and help regulate their internal temperature.

Get Started: If you’d rather not add a puppy pool to your landscape, consider installing a water feature such as a fountain, sprinkler, or shallow pond so your dog can run through the water instead.

dog and owner doing an agility course ©Kamil Macniak

DIY Agility Course

Nothing says you care about your dog’s activity level more than building them a personalized obstacle course! You might have seen these activity structures in nice dog parks and daycare centers, but you can make one at home with only a few tools.

Incorporate jumping beams, tunnels, and other fun structures into your landscape design to keep your dog entertained and away from the garden. When you have guests, your dog can even do some tricks and impress your friends and family!

Get Started: Go to the Home Depot™ and look for 2x4s and a PVC pipe to build DIY balance beams and ramps. Buy a dog tunnel at your nearby pet store or online for less than $50!


Flea-Repelling Garden

Speaking of gardens, remember to plant non-toxic flowers and shrubs for your pets. Another aspect to consider is planting flea-repelling plants.

Since your dog will be outside more, this is an important feature to consider to aid you in keeping your dog and your home flea-free. Plants like catnip, marigolds, sunflowers, cilantro, rosemary, tiger lilies, and sage repel fleas and are non-toxic to dogs. Fleas and other pests hate cedar mulch, but it is non-toxic to dogs!

Get Started: Check whether a plant is safe on the ASPCA’s list of toxic and non-toxic plants.


two happy dogs at a dog park ©Ryan Brix

Sandbox for Digging

A digging dog is a happy dog, but that doesn’t mean your lawn will be happy, too. When a dog digs up the lawn, it kills the grass and dries the soil. They can also dig up your prized garden to bury their favorite toy or one of your expensive shoes, which isn’t fun to deal with.

To help them release their urge to dig, offer them an alternative instead of a scolding. Sandboxes are perfect because they give your pup a designated space to play and bury.

Get Started: Build your dog their own sandbox in a few easy steps!

  • Step 1: Dig a pit in the lawn about 8-12 inches deep. The pit can be round, square, or any shape you want, but it should be large enough for your dog to comfortably lay down and play inside.

  • Step 2: Mix a bag of fast-setting concrete according to the instructions on the package. When the concrete is ready, line the bottom and sides of the pit with a thin layer. Poke a few small holes in the concrete on the bottom for drainage. Let the concrete dry.

  • Step 3: Fill the pit with playground sand, which you can find at hardware stores such as Lowe’s or Home Depot™.


Dog Paths for Patrolling

Do you ever see your dog crossing your yard back and forth or checking out the perimeter of your home repeatedly? Dogs are territorial animals, and they like to patrol their homes to keep out suspected intruders (sorry, mailman).

Although you might appreciate the extra protection, when your dog walks across the same stretch of lawn every day, they trample the grass which compacts the soil, leaving thin and bare patches. Use paving stones instead of grass to give your dog their own patrol path.

Get Started: Make sure to use smooth stones that are comfortable for paws and don’t absorb too much heat. Light-colored stones absorb less heat than darker-colored ones, making them the better choice for walking paths.


dog in doghouse ©pryzmat

Classic Dog House

With all these cool additions to your backyard, don’t forget to purchase or build a classic dog house. This is a fantastic way to give your dog a secluded and shaded place for them to relax, take a nap, or play. You can choose a wooden structure or use cloth for a tent. Either way, your dog will appreciate having a “home” of their own.

Get Started: Thinking of building your own dog house? Here’s a quick video tutorial from Lowe’s® Home Improvement to get you started:


Dog Window

If you have a solid wooden or vinyl fence around your backyard, your dog might be enticed to jump the fence or dig a hole underneath it to chase or explore what lies beyond it. A dog window (a small section of clear plastic in your fence) can help your dog see the neighborhood while staying safe in the backyard.

The more entertained your dog is, the less likely they will dig/chew the grass and plants or destroy any other parts of the backyard.

Get Started: Check out this article with different ideas on how to build a peek hole or dog window.


Shade-Bearing Trees, Shrubs, and Structures

Another way to keep your puppy cool in the summer heat besides buying or building a dog house is growing shade-bearing trees and shrubs. If you notice your dog often digs holes and then lays down in them (even in their sandbox), they are trying to cool off.

Get Started: Installing an awning, pergola, canopy/tarp, or other covering is another idea that will provide plenty of shade and give your landscape a unique design element that isn’t dog-exclusive.


dachsund getting a bath outside ©sergey kolesnikov

Cleaning Station

After a fun day playing in the sun, the last thing you want in your home is a smelly or sandy dog. Add a cleaning station with wipes for muddy paws, a hose with a gentle spray nozzle for baths, and towels to dry off. A clean pup keeps your home fresh and will allow you to relax once you get inside.

Get Started: Check out this list of dog shower supplies that will make bath time easier.

Are you ready to make the move to a dog-friendly home? This year, your dog can finally have the backyard of their dreams. Before you get started, make sure to check if there are any HOA restrictions on backyard upgrades, fencing, and tree planting! Check out our blog that gives more information on how to move forward with your home reno!

Call a Kerley Family Homes agent today to learn more about our available homes, move-in ready homes, pet-friendly communities, and special financing options!

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