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August 1, 2022

How to Create a Dog-Friendly Backyard

Your dog’s idea of a perfect backyard might be slightly different from yours. A dog-friendly backyard requires safe surroundings, space to play and cool places to relax after running around. Follow these backyard ideas for dogs to create the ideal play place because your furry friend deserves the very best. 

This park includes two pools, an enormous amphitheater flanked by large open play areas, lit bocce ball courts, covered and uncovered picnic areas with outdoor grills, game tables, and more!

Install a Secure Fence

Dogs are natural explorers. They love to investigate, and their curiosity can lead them to escape the yard. Installing a secure fence is an easy way to keep a dog in your backyard and will ensure they stay safe when you turn away to work on chores. 

The type of dog you own will play a factor. If you own a large dog, you want to ensure your fence is strong and durable enough that they can’t knock it down. Fences made of cinder block, metal, strong wood or vinyl are all good options. If your dog is smaller, you can get away with lighter materials, but make sure any pickets are tight enough that they can’t squeeze through. You’ll also want to make sure the fence is at least 6 feet tall for larger dogs and 4 feet tall for smaller breeds. 

If your dog is a digger, you’ll want to dig the fence extra deep so they can’t get underneath and escape.  

For a budget-friendly alternative, many Henderson parks are dog-friendly. Within the Inspirada community sit five parks that are perfect for enjoying time with the whole family – dogs included. Aventura and Capriola parks each have a dog park where your pup can roam and play in an enclosed area.  

Create a Cool Resting Space 

If you know anything about Nevada, it can get scorching here in the summer. A backyard for a dog needs a cool and shady spot for them to rest, with plenty of water nearby to stay hydrated. Yes, dogs can experience all the same heat hazards we do, like sunburn, dehydration and heat stroke. 

Building a shady awning with a soft layer for them to lay on will make for a fine resting area. An elevated bed is one way to keep pups off warmer surfaces. They also make cooling mats for dogs that you can fill with water. While you could set down a water bowl for your dog, a small fountain will keep your dog hydrated and entertained! 

Install a Cool Path for Dogs to Walk 

While the bottom of a dog’s paw is tougher than our feet, they are still susceptible to burns from hot concrete or other warm surfaces. In fact, dogs who live in hotter climates often dig to reach cooler soil to lie in 

For a truly dog-friendly backyard, laying down grass is always a good option, but it requires a lot of upkeep, like routine watering and mowing. Also, any mess your dog leaves can result in yellow patches on your lawn. For a warm climate like Nevada, you’ll want to avoid turf and other synthetic grasses that can get very hot when exposed to the sun. 

Wood chips or mulch make for a great surface since they’re a low-cost way to keep the ground cool and easy to lay down. Mulch is more affordable; however, some brands of mulch can include sharp twigs that might hurt your pup’s feet. Engineered wood chips are designed for playgrounds and dog parks and are ground down to limit sharp fibers that can get stuck in your dog’s paws. 

Keep Plants that are Dog Safe 

Certain plants and flowers can be quite harmful to your pooch should they ingest them. Some popular desert plants to avoid include perennials like chrysanthemum or daisies, geraniums, lantana and more.  

A safe backyard for dogs should include plants like pansies, sunflowers, zinnias, hibiscus and more. Herbs like sage and cilantro are also safe for dogs, and you can use them to create a tasty meal.  

The ASPCA has an extensive list of toxic and non-toxic plants, so you can create a backyard getaway that is completely safe for your best friend. 


Some dogs just love to dig, which can be “ruff” on your landscaping. Creating a small sandbox in your backyard will provide a designated space for your dog to dig till their heart’s content. Once they get used to their new digging spot, your garden and flower beds should be safe. 

It is important to make sure your sandbox is in a shaded spot. The hot Nevada sun can heat up sand quickly, especially during the mid-afternoon when the sun is directly overhead. 

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