Landscaping with your large dog in mind

Who’s really in charge

You were supposed to be in charge. You thought you were the Alpha. However, your large dog will dictate what plants you’ll have in your landscaping. You will eventually drop your head and accept that spending money replacing sections of your yard is futile. Imagine this…

Your backyard becomes a mud pit. How is that possible? It’s called the domino effect. Your dog has gone in the pool for the fifth time today. He looms over the grass until a hole forms from the water thats dripping from his body. When he relieves himself, he covers it up by ripping away all the grass that was left from the hole he created, which has now turned to mud. It’s not over. Your large dog then proceeds to walk all over the rest of the yard leaving behind muddy paw prints. Can you imagine it now? What will you do?

You will have to compromise
Adding containers for focal interest
Adding planters for focal interest.

You will realize that planting the right plant in the right place isn’t just a Florida-Friendly Garden rule, it extends itself to a Dog-Friendly garden. Spending time thinking of what went wrong and why, will save you time and money later. Ask yourself the following questions. What are your dogs needs? What are his/her habits? What do you want out of your yard? Be sure to include some small trees so they have access to shade, though. Access to fresh water is also important. It’s not hard to compromise when you become aware of all the possibilities. Try adding a few of your favorite plants to containers in between your landscaping to add some focal interest.

Addressing dog path issue
Designating a clear path

Dogs like to play with other dogs. And they will always find the shortest path to get there. When that dog is your next door neighbor’s, you will quickly realize the path is the one formed through your landscape and along the backside of the fence. Paver vs Mulch? The answer is, it depends. Mulch is great for smaller dogs, they may not have the endurance to kick away all of it to lay down on the dirt. Large dogs, however, do. Adding pavers to their path will keep paws off the dirt. Your dog will run back and forth and pavers will never go out of place. Include some gravel in-between for drainage and your set. You’ll be amazed how quick they learn to take the clear path. For the other sections in that area, just plant thickly so it deters them from foraging ahead.

Plants that will last
When plants become chew sticks

You would think that plants with strong stems like Green Island Ficus or Crotons would be a great choice. It turns out they also make great chew sticks. Be careful or before too long, your dog will have created its private den under the hedge. Bougainvillea make a great back scratcher. This doesn’t mean, you can’t have them, it just means you may have to plant them in containers. Landscaping for large dogs just means finding plants that they can walk through and not snap, break or want to chew on. For example, why not try: Ferns, California Alocasia or ornamental grasses just to name a few. Plants that flow and have movement are the better choice.



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Posted: May 18, 2020

Category: Florida-Friendly Landscaping, Home Landscapes, UF/IFAS
Tags: Landscaping With Dogs, Master Gardener

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