7 Simple and Safe Backyard Ideas for Dogs
Dog playing in a backyard
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7 Simple and Safe Backyard Ideas for Dogs

By Ring on April 20, 2024

There’s nothing your dog loves more than the great outdoors (except you, of course). And they don’t need to go far to enjoy everything nature has to offer. Your very own backyard has the potential to become a dream playscape for your furry friend — with just a few tweaks.

Here’s how to turn your backyard into a safe place for your dog to roam, dig, and play to their heart’s content.

1. Install an Escape-Proof Fence and Gate

The first step in creating a dog-friendly backyard is to install a sturdy fence. Make sure it’s high enough that your dog can’t jump over, and check for gaps they could sneak through. If your dog is a jumper, build a tall fence or consider extending your current one. For dogs that may try to burrow underneath, add a digging barrier or place deterrents like rocks or chicken wire at the base.

Gates may provide a way for determined dogs to escape the yard. When choosing a gate, look for one with a strong latch that crafty dogs can’t outsmart. For extra peace of mind, consider adding an Outdoor Contact Sensor and linking it to Ring Alarm. If the fence is opened while your system is in Home or Away mode, the Alarm’s siren will sound. You can also get digital notifications with a Ring Protect subscription, sold separately.1

2. Grow Dog-Friendly Plants

Making your backyard dog-friendly doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice your garden. You can continue to plant hardy flowers and bushes around your yard — just check that they’re non-toxic to dogs first. According to the ASPCA, some popular dog-safe plants include marigolds, snapdragons, sunflowers, and herbs like rosemary, thyme, basil, and dill.

If you want to plant delicate flowers, veggies, or herbs are are concerned your dog may step on them, consider using raised planters. You can also surround plants with netting or protective cages to keep your dog and other animals, like rabbits and squirrels, from chewing on your plants.

3. Incorporate Shade and Water

dogs playing in the backyard with water

Like humans, dogs need a place to rest and cool down when enjoying a hot summer day. The Humane Society recommends using umbrellas, shade cloths, outdoor walls, trees, and other open-air sources of shade to give your furry friend relief from the sun. Make sure there’s plenty of fresh water for them to drink while they play, and consider adding ice cubes to make it extra refreshing during heat waves.

4. Create a Play Area

To create an outdoor space that’s truly tailored to your dog, think about the things they like to do and incorporate them into your yard. Here are some ideas to turn your backyard into the ultimate doggie playground:

  • Create a dig pit filled with dirt or sand, so your dog can go wild digging without damaging your yard. Bury a few of your dog’s favorite toys to encourage them to explore.
  • Dedicate a section of your yard or use your side yard as a dog run. Add shade to the area so your dog can run wild, even on hot days.
  • Build a backyard pond or buy a doggy pool, so your water-loving canine can splash around.
  • Install a dog window in your fence to allow your curious pup to watch cars and greet other dogs in the neighborhood.
  • Make a puppy playground with ramps, tunnels, and a sandbox for endless fun.
  • 5. Make Pathways

    Some dogs like to patrol around the yard to chase squirrels and protect their territory — and they’ll take down everything in their way to do it. If your yard already has bare patches from where your dogs run, consider making them into designated pathways using pavers, mulch, stone borders, or other dog-safe materials. These paths will look more intentional than worn-down grass, and they’ll give your dog an unobstructed area to roam.

    6. Go Grass-Free

    Dogs may love grass, but it’s not the best material for a dog-friendly landscape. Grass can cause skin irritation for dogs who are allergic, and it can die in areas where your furry friend frequently uses the bathroom. You may need extra water to keep your yard green — which isn’t always an option in places that restrict water usage due to droughts. That’s why going grassless is a win-win for you and your dog.

    Whether you plan to go completely grass-free or remove it from part of your lawn, there are plenty of dog-friendly grass alternatives, including:

  • Synthetic turf
  • Mulch (except for cocoa mulch, which can be poisonous to dogs)
  • Flagstones or pavers that stay cool in the sun
  • Gravel without sharp edges
  • 7. Prioritize Safety

    While you deck out your backyard with toys, plants, and play areas, the most important thing to keep in mind is safety. Always check to ensure the materials you use are safe for dogs, and be careful using pesticides or other chemicals your dog may accidentally ingest or inhale. If you do use pesticides, follow the manufacturer’s instructions, and remove your dog and all their belongings when applying the treatment.

    If you plan to hang out with your furry companion in the evening, consider adding Ring smart lighting around the yard. Pathlights and Steplights can illuminate your dog’s walkways, so they can continue to patrol safely after dark. And if your dog needs a potty break when everyone else is asleep, a Floodlight or Spotlight can provide temporary bright light when your dog walks by and automatically turn off when they’re back inside.

    Outdoor cameras from Ring can also help you keep an eye on your pet if they’re playing outside while you’re indoors. A battery-powered Stick Up Cam Pro can go almost anywhere, like inside a doghouse or next to your dog’s dig pit, so you can check in on Live View to see how they’re doing. Floodlight and Spotlight Cams can provide a wider view of your yard, and their built-in motion-activated lighting can come in handy for your dog at night. With Two-Way Talk, you can even let your pup know you’re heading out with a special treat.

    Finally, remember to add a Pet Tag to your dog’s collar before they head out to explore their dog-friendly yard. If your dog manages to escape for a neighborhood adventure, their rescuer can scan the QR code on their Pet Tag and trigger a real-time notification that your pet has been found. Then, you can arrange a reunion on the Ring App without sharing your phone number or personal information.

    Check out Ring for Pets today to see how Pet Tag, outdoor cameras, and other Ring products can help make your backyard safer for dogs.

    1 Ring Alarm and all Ring Alarm accessories require a subscription for in-app features and digital notifications, including digital arming / disarming and integration with other Ring, Echo, Alexa, and third party products. Subscription sold separately. View ring.com/protect-plans for pricing and details

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