How to Create a Dog-Friendly Patio

puppy running

When it comes to designing the perfect patio, it takes a lot of time and energy. There’s the layout to plan and furniture to select. There are plants to plant, décor to arrange, and multiple household members to consider — not the least of whom is your four-legged family members.

Because whether your ideal outdoor space is a luxurious kitchen of a lounge-worthy retreat, chances are you want share it with your fur baby. Unfortunately, dogs often get overlooked when it comes to patio designs.

Don’t fall into this trap. Use the following tip to create a dog-friendly patio that the whole family will love!

Create a “Dog Bar” to Keep Your Pup Hydrated

Just like you, hydration is essential to your dog’s health. And during the summer, with its high temps and long days, it’s easy for your dog to become dehydrated. This can also lead your pup to overheat. (Drinking water and panting are the two primary ways your dog can cool themselves down.)

Make sure your dog can get enough to drink by always having water accessible. Establish a designated space where you will place a water bowl (aka the ‘Dog Bar’) and make sure it’s full at all times. If you’re worried about refilling the bowl constantly, consider a gravity water bowl which doesn’t need to be refilled nearly as often.

Make Sure Your Patio Has Plenty of Shade

In addition to fresh water, shade is the next most important thing to your dog’s health if they will spend a considerable amount of time on the patio in the summer heat. You could certainly set up a large shaded cabana. However, we’re big fans of Cantilever Umbrellas.

Not only do these generously proportioned umbrellas provide a substantial amount of shade, they can also easily be moved and repositioned as needed. For example, the Treasure Garden 10’x13′ Rectangle Cantilever Umbrella offers 360-degree rotation and can tilt, allowing your shade to keep up with the sun.

Grow “Safe” Plants

Not all plants are safe for animals. And though we’d like to believe our dogs are impeccably well behaved, we all know they have a tendency to get into anything and everything. Save your dog from its own curiosity by keeping harmful plants out of your garden.

Plants that are Dangerous for Your Dog

  • Geraniums
  • Tulips
  • Hyacinth
  • Azaleas
  • Lilies (Some lilies are dangerous and some are benign. The more dangerous and potentially fatal varieties include Tiger, Day, Asiatic, Easter and Japanese Show lilies)
  • Daffodils

But, this list doesn’t mean you can’t plant anything on your dog-friendly patio! In fact, there are a wide variety of plants, even edible ones, that are completely harmless for pets.

Dog-Friendly Plants Perfect for Your Patio

  • Sprouts
  • Oregano
  • Dill
  • Rosemary
  • Peppermint
  • Basil & Purple Basil
  • Thyme
  • Parsley
  • Daylilies (As stated above, some lily varieties can be potentially fatal. If you love lilies, but what your pup to be safe, daylilies are one of the ideal options. Plus, they are a low-maintenance pop of color that grows quickly and are quite resilient.)
  • Camellias
  • Garden Marigolds
  • Fuchsias
  • African Daisy
  • Coral Bells
  • Snapdragons

lab laying on deck

Make the Boundaries Clear and Secure

If your patio includes an elevated porch, it most likely has some sort of railing. That being said, tiny dogs can still slip through tiny railings or get caught in them. To avoid any potential miss-steps (or miss-slips), consider blocking the lower portion of your railing with plexiglass. This will allow you to establish a secure barrier without disrupting your patio visually.

Additionally, take a close look at your patio as a whole. Where else would your dog like to go that she/he shouldn’t? Are there ways for him/her to escape? Depending on how likely your dog is to wander and how closely you want to have to watch your dog, it may be worth installing a fence or an electric fence to keep your dog within your predetermined safe-zone.

puppy playing

Designate a ‘Play Zone’

Once you’ve designed your perfect outdoor space, chances are you don’t want your pup ruining your landscaping or crashing into your patio furniture. But, you probably also don’t want your dog to be completely sedentary. This means your pup needs a place to play. Take stock of your patio and designate where your dog is allowed to play. Then, make sure to be consistent about where you let your pup play.

It may take time and consistent reinforcement, but over time your dog will begin to recognize the boundaries.