Whether you are contemplating landscape design for your business, a mixed-use property or a residential complex, it’s smart to consider pets. More people are incorporating pets into their lives and even employers are getting onboard.
As employers try to attract millennials, they’re exploring perks like “bring your dog to work” privileges. So, how do you incorporate pets into landscape design? At Hittle Landscaping we love challenges in environment, function and yes – for end-users!
Let’s review some basic fundamentals when designing landscapes conducive to pets.
Basic Tenets of “Pet-Scaping” Landscape Design
First, it’s important to consider how pets may fit into the entire use of the building. If the property is generally corporate, the pet use is likely to be confined to short walks and other “evacuation” opportunities. If the property is partly or fully residential, pets will likely need some recreational space as well.
Regardless of the use, at Hittle Landscaping, our professionals can recommend specific hardscapes and softscapes suited for pet’s safety and security.
For example, when pets are included in a landscape design, a property owner should consider:
- Animals running. This may include placing barriers, paths and other structures.
- Habits including needs to observe and to patrol.
- Suitable evacuation spaces and materials.
- Shade and shelter.
- Safe, function-friendly mulch, planting materials and hardscapes.
Dogs can vary in their habits. Some like to dig, some chase, some yearn to explore beyond their fences. Hardscapes and softscapes can accommodate all of these.
When designing pet-friendly spaces for a residential client, our professionals visit with the homeowner and the pet or pets. It’s important to customize, especially a residential landscape design, based on the specific animal and his or her needs. It’s best to work with them, rather than against them.
Pet-Friendly Landscape Design – Pathways
Dogs genetically programmed for herding, for example, tend to run in figure-eight patterns. Most breeds are susceptible to Frenetic Random Activity Periods, or FRAPs. Commonly known as “zoomies,” it’s the term to describe anytime a dog suddenly has a burst of energy and starts running in circles, figure eights or other patterns.
It’s typically a show of excitement or burning off pent-up energy. So, a pet-friendly landscape design might avoid a pebble walkway. As the dog runs the pebbles would fly, landing in other grass or flower bed areas or even be a slip hazard.
Cocoa mulch is discouraged because it can be toxic, even lethal to dogs. For pathways and other hardscape landscape design elements, concrete, pavers, brick or crushed gravel are better. Keep in mind heat too. Choose lighter surfaces for hardscapes to prevent burns to paw pads.
Pet-Friendly Landscape Design – Plants
It’s best to choose sturdy plants. Pets may investigate, root or simply flop down on the plants or flowers. Sometimes hardy planters maintain color and professional polish while keeping certain plants from a dog’s reach. Other options include ornamental grasses or even synthetic grass.
It’s surprising, but synthetic grass products have come a long way since the odd green carpet on concrete patios. Many are incredibly real-looking, are eco-friendly and can even be washed if they get too dirty.
Our landscape design professionals caution against the use of certain plants that can be harmful if eaten. These include foxgloves, hemlocks, poinsettias, daffodils, lilies, mums, yews and azaleas.
Pet-Friendly Landscape Design – Fences
There are many options for fencing. Some even include roll-top edging to protect breeds most likely to jump them. For diggers, it’s best to discourage tunneling with chicken wire buried a few inches below the ground’s surface. This will contain most escape artists.
Call for a Complimentary Landscape Design Consultation
At Hittle Landscaping, we bring more than 40 years of expertise in thoughtful landscaping, lighting and design to create something extraordinary for you. Whether you have a commercial or residential property, we’re eager to design a space friendly for humans and pets. Please call us to discuss your project – we love challenges.
Locally-owned and operated, Hittle Landscaping applies our trademark attention to detail to any challenge. To explore pet-friendly ideas for your property, call today for a free consultation with a professional landscape designer.