Creating a Pet-Friendly Landscape for Your Community
For many people, their pets are part of their family. They want their four-footed companions to have the same fun, safe, and functional places to run and play as they would their children or grandchildren. If you live in a warmer climate, like South Florida, you have an additional challenge of ensuring that your pets have enough shade and water, especially in the summer months, to protect them from heatstroke. However, even though pet owners want their furry friends to have space to roam, they also want to live in and enjoy a community that has clean and attractive landscaping.
If you live in or manage a Homeowners Association (HOA) or another type of community, you are likely aware of how important it is to maintain the community’s landscaping. In this blog post, we’ll give you five easy tips for creating a pet-friendly landscape design that will not only keep the residents or your community happy but keep your furry friend’s tail wagging too.
Pet-friendly Plants and Lawn
When designing dog-friendly landscaping, it’s essential to consider your turf. As any pet owner will know, your grass and your dog’s urine do not mix well together. This is because dogs have a high-protein diet, and that protein is then converted into nitrogen. The high level of nitrogen found in dogs’ urine is essentially what causes those yellow patches in your lawn. The same effect would happen if you accidentally applied a fertilizer containing a large amount of nitrogen in one area of your grass. While large amounts of turf are great for play areas in a pet-friendly landscaping design, you will likely see spotting or patchiness in your turfed areas as dogs are territorial animals and will frequently spray to “mark” their territory. Pet-friendly landscape design can look at other options to mitigate this effect.
In addition, pet-friendly landscape design should also be mindful of the flowers and plants it includes. Be sure to use plants that are non-toxic and can withstand a high volume of traffic. Plants such as Dymondia, Creeping Red Fescue, and Gazania are all adapted for warmer climates and safe for pets to romp and play in.
Location of Your Pet-friendly Landscape Design
Before adding any dog-friendly landscaping to your community, it’s important to first consider the needs of the residents. For example, you may want to first survey your residents to see how many have a pet. Where do they usually take them to exercise or relieve themselves? You want to consider creating one more extensive play and relief area rather than many small “dog areas” throughout the community. This will help the current pet-owning residents and could be a unique selling point for the community to attract new residents.
Dog-friendly Landscaping (Hardscape)
If your community has dogs, they will need to pick up after their waste at some point. Dog-friendly landscaping can help make the mess easier for your residents than turf or plants that can be trickier to keep clean. There are numerous hardscape materials that a landscape designer can use when creating a pet-friendly area. Pet gravel and decomposed granite are great alternatives that are comfortable for pets to walk on and long-lasting. We would also recommend using light color material when using hardscape as this makes it easier for dog owners to see when an area needs to be cleaned.
Safety and Comfort for Your Dog
As mentioned earlier, if you are designing an area for dogs located in warmer climates, you will need to consider shade and water for your pooches. Summer months can become dangerous for both humans and dogs, so be sure there are some trees or some structure that blocks a portion of the space from the sun. If using trees, don’t forget to select the right area and make sure nothing will potentially damage the roots and limbs as the tree grows. You can also include a low water fountain or a hose bib so every pup can access some water.
Relaxing for Residents
Last but not least, don’t forget your residents! Even though the above tips aim to meet dogs’ needs, we can’t ignore their human companions walking them. Be sure to include some benches or natural seating areas for residents and their friends who are out to enjoy playtime with their dogs.
If your HOA or community is interested in including a pet-friendly landscaping design within their community, contact the professionals at Cutters Edge. Our expert team at Cutters Edge has serviced many cities throughout the South Florida area, including Deerfield Beach, Pembroke Pines, Lauderdale Lakes, Margate, Coconut Creek, and Pompano Beach. We have lots of experience working with and designing for residential communities in Florida. Contact us today to learn more about the pet-friendly landscape design we can create for your residents today!