Our furry friends are part of the family. And when it comes to great backyard design, everyone in the house needs to be considered–including the family dog. This is where a backyard dog run becomes part of the conversation. But how do you include a dog run in your backyard without compromising on aesthetics? We have some ideas.
Read on for some of our favorite backyard dog run design ideas, as well as some of the top reasons to consider adding a dog run to your next outdoor living space project.
Dogs Need Space, Too
When designing a backyard, it can be natural for homeowners to get caught up about details of design that affect the two-legged members of their household. But if you are a family with a dog, then making sure your pooch has room to run, relax, and do their business is important. However, aside from dedicating a large portion of your outdoor design to grass or lawn, figuring out how to incorporate dog-friendly design into your outdoor living space can be a challenge.
Dog runs solve this problem by creating an isolated space within the space. If you imagine your backyard on a grid, a dog run is a section of this grid that is fenced off from the rest of the space. This gives your pooch room to call their own, and protects your landscaping from common issues such as digging and urine staining.
Not to mention, having a backyard dog run can allow you to include your dog in outdoor gatherings without risking the safety of guests. In a backyard dog run, a dog can claim a section of space as their own, without worrying about the impact on the rest of the yard.
Examples of Dog Run Designs
Functional doesn’t have to mean compromising on design. Below, we’ve included two examples of dog run ideas that are both functional and beautiful. Both work to fit the needs of the homeowners, while also retaining the integrity of the original design.
Design Credit: Water and Earth Landscape Design
Above, you can see a rendered space where the bulk of the yard is devoted to hardscape. A large paver patio and pool take center stage. But the homeowners were still in need of green space for their four legged friend. While they didn’t need a large area, they were in need of space that their dog could do their business without disrupting and of the finished space.
By tucking the dog run along the side of the house, the homeowners are able to create a separate space that feels discrete and natural. Their dog can do their business in privacy, relax in the sun, and enjoy outdoor space without disrupting kids and guests.
Design Credit: Water and Earth Landscape Design
If you have a larger lot you can probably devote more space to a backyard dog run. The above property had a larger footprint, and was interested in giving their dogs a more significant space to run and play. Here, the dog run begins with a large runway which opens up to a large yard area around the side of the home.
To create further separation, the runway is gated from the rest of the yard. This way, kids can play and the lawn space can be used while the dogs are contained to the smaller run. It increases versatility within the design.
Benefits of a Backyard Dog Run
There are many different benefits to adding a dog run to your backyard design. From safety for kids and guests, to benefits for your plants, and your pooch, there’s a lot of upsides to a backyard dog run.
Safety for Kids and Pets
Safety is a top priority for most homeowners. When it comes to both pets and kids, backyard designs need to take into account the safety of all family members. Traditional backyard spaces can lead to safety issues. Not all dogs love to swim, or have strong swimming skills. This can make pools dangerous.
Furthermore, large dogs can become safety risks while entertaining guests. A large dog running through a kitchen space can become a hazard. Small children can be knocked over, or guests with a fear of dogs may be uncomfortable during gatherings at your home.
Having a designated outdoor area allows you to separate your dog from the action. This keeps dogs and children safe, and guests comfortable.
Some dogs can become easily overstimulated by noise. A backyard with an open view of the streets can lead some dogs to become reactionary to their environment. If your dog barks at every passing car or stranger, a fenced in dog run may help.
Creating a visual block with a fence puts a barrier between your pooch and the triggering stimuli. This noise reduction benefits everyone, including passing dogs, neighbors, and your own family.
Reduces Urine Spotting on Grass
It’s no secret that dogs can do serious damage to your lawn. There’s not a summer that goes by where even the greenest of grass is not marred with yellow splotches due to frequent dog urination. To prevent this problem, many experts suggest creating a designated area for your dog to do their business.
A backyard dog run is the way to do this. Keeping your dog’s bathroom contained to a small, separate area means that they will not spot the rest of your grass. Other landscaping such as trees, bushes, and flowerbeds will also be kept safe. Keep in mind that not all dog runs need to be made from the same materials.
Different Materials to Include in A Backyard Dog Run
Dog runs can look a lot of different ways. Most people will likely envision a space laid out with grass. However, you can finish your dog’s designated area with a multitude of different materials. Grass is popular, however it is inevitable that your pup will likely stain the lawn over time.
For those who want the grass-look without the watering or staining, consider a pet waste proof artificial turf. This allows you to maintain a green look year long without wasting water, or worrying about yellow spots.
If you’re willing to look outside the box, straying from the look of grass altogether is also a choice. Playground mulch is a material that is easily maintained, comfortable underfoot, and absorbent enough for your dog to do their business.
Of course, mulch will need to be replenished seasonally. Over time, costs of refinishing mulch may add up. The overall cost is dependent on the size of the dog run, the size of your dog, and other factors such as weather and foot traffic.