Is Your Yard Pet Friendly?

Back in early 2019, the National Association of Landscape Professionals conducted a survey among the millennial generation (those born between 1981-1996) in which 82% of the respondents said a nice sized yard was their number one priority when buying a home. This is mostly due to the large percentage of young people who own pets, but also their desire to be somewhat self-sufficient with gardens and solar panels. And, of course, entering the family stage of life and wanting a place for the kids to run around.

You may think, “of course landscapers are going to say a yard is important”, but similar numbers were also found in a 2018 realtor.com survey. That survey found that 80% of home buyers owned a pet and found that 75% of pet owners would actually pass on a house if it wasn’t a good fit for their pets. Interestingly it wasn’t just dog and cat owners, even those who own birds, fish, rodents, and reptiles would pass on a home if it didn’t suit their pets’ needs.


Here are a few tips to help make your yard pet friendly:


Mulch: New mulch can help with the curb appeal of your home, but not all is good for pets. Avoid cocoa bean and pine needle mulch. Pine, cedar, and hemlock mulches are generally safe. Also make sure to check if it has been treated with chemicals and go for the natural mulch.

Plants: Much like the mulch there are plants that can be harmful to pets. If you are planning to do some landscaping to improve your curb appeal here is a list of plants to avoid. And here is a safe list.

Pest Control: You may need to put out some pest poisons to get your yard into tip top sale shape, if you must then make sure you put them where pets can’t reach them. Other options would be to go with pet friendly but pest not-friendly plants. Lavender, mint, and rosemary are good for deterring snails and slugs.

Hardscaping: If you need to redo a walkway or patio try to stick with materials that are more friendly to sensitive paws. (And are nicer to human bare feet too.) Brick, flagstone, and pebbles/smooth rocks are less likely to heat up in the hot sun.

Fence: They say fences make good neighbors. But they also make a safe, secure environment for your furry loved ones to play and relax.


Now that the yard is safer for your pets here are a few tips to keep the yard nice for you:


Designated potty spots: If you’re tired of constantly regrowing grass where dog urine has killed it you can create a single area and train your dog to do their business there. Clover, mulch, crushed gravel, pebbles, or even artificial turf are all good to use in this area as urine doesn’t kill clover and the others absorb the urine to keep it away from the rest of the lawn. It takes time and a lot of effort to then train your dog to use their spot but it will pay off when you don’t have to spend that time fixing all the bad spots in your lawn.

Creating a dog run: Dogs love to run. They especially love to run along their fence line and “patrol the perimeter”. One thing you can do, if you have a fence, is add mulch, gravel, or another landscape along the fenceline. Not only will this stop your dog from creating their own muddy run but will keep the fence clear of over-growing grass.

Create a sand pit: As much as dogs love to run they love to dig. Add a sand pit and train your dog to dig there instead of allowing them to create multiple holes all over the lawn.

There are many things you can do to keep your yard not only safe for pets but also nice for you.