DIY Backyard Doggie Paradise
Those of us who have grown up around working dogs on farms or grown up in an era of Australia when there were less cars may have had to adjust when getting a dog a few years on. Last Summer, the first Summer we had our very own little miracle of fur, gorgeous eyes and lots of puppy kisses also brought a few insights. Young dog will simply plonk down in a puddle midway through a walk on a warmish morning. Dogs love to roll in grass – they love grass, you can scoop handfuls of it up after a mowing and throw it in the air and they will run and jump at it - delighted. They love a winding path that wends beneath shady ways. Exploring hidden nooks and crannies or being able to hear their neighbour dogs yapping or see them through the fence is very attractive in doggie-land too.
Atop all of these is a sprint after a ball over soft downy lawn - and after doing that over and over and over – a plonk down in that shallow puddle again!
After losing one ‘Rufus’ as a youngster when he was off leash and ran under a car, and crying for the rest of the day, or encountering larger dogs that tend to ‘stand over’ others and whom their owners are not able to stand over themselves with any ‘stand down’ command, a quieter amble through a back street during the deserted part of the day for sniffing pleasure, just after dawn or just before dusk, and a yard filled with doggie delights has now become our modus operandi.
The great part about installing a few doggie delights is this are also great for people too.
When we knew we were going to finally get our own little ball of fluff delight, the first thing, long before she came home (or was even born), was to put in some gates that were attractive and provided some safety by eliminating access to that car filled road.
Fences are part of the gates scheme too. Consider how big your pooch will grow and whether he/she will be able to leap tall buildings in a single bound when deciding on height. For materials choose something that will allow yon’ canine to see out if they have canine family members alongside and like each other, but also fit in with your own garden design. Ensure any gaps, should you go with a picket fence style boundary, aren’t wide enough for any curious wandering four legged visitors to get stuck between.
While on safety, keep the garden toxin free. This doesn’t apply to just chemicals used to control pests or what’s in any landscaping materials you may use. Some plants can also be poison to your pooch and as so many are flower children and love to nibble on petals, leaves and twigs, make sure you don’t have anything that will harm them – flowers like lilies, chrysanthemums and azaleas are toxic for pets while flowers like sunflowers, petunias and orchids are not. Our girl loves gum nuts fallen straight from our spotted gums, has been munching them when she can since a pup, and has no reactions other than a cheeky grin – loves them!
The other must have is shade. If you don’t have trees that can provide a sunbreak installing shade cloths will ensure your dog doesn’t get sunburnt.
It’s also a good idea to provide some kind of ‘hide’ in this area when your dog wants to get away from it all and have a time out and a nap in the great outdoors. This can be as simple as installing a tube large enough for them to crawl inside, just make sure you choose a material that won’t heat up in hot weather and scorch those padded paws.
Ground level water access is always going to be safest for your dog for those that like to paddle in puddles, anything where they have to struggle to get in or out is no good. You could also add a little water feature in the form of a low level splash fountain or a small wending stream that they will also use when thirsty – you too will benefit from the soothing tinkle of water. Visit the water installation and ponds page for some ideas on what may suit your home. Even some time under a sprinkler will keep your pup happy even you don’t want to go the full pond as a puddle or water feature route.
Our dogs love to do their patrols – first thing in the morning and at dusk and before they go to sleep many dogs will do a patrol of the house, the yard and its perimeters. They love to go on patrol. If you install some nice wending paths between the garden beds and beneath the trees this will add a dimension of adventure for your furball as well as add some nice aspects for you and your family – after all, children like to go on adventures too.
The other doggie backyard paradise you can make is adding a few obstacle elements to the patrol circuit – plants to weave through, a bit of a balancing beam (some dogs love walking along the gutter ledge; clearly dreaming of being gymnasts!) a tunnel to sniff their way through.
The most vital is the dog run though – the ‘get the ball place’ in doggie terms – and the longer, bigger and grassier the better. Choose a grass variety that won’t encourage bindies or other prickles to sprout. If you can make the dog run the whole length of whatever block you own so they can get some speed and momentum up. They’ll love you for it and be happier, healthier and sleepier for it at the end of the day.
Matilda - happy to place chasings with a leaf! - at least five times a day.
There’s other ideas of course – a ball tied to a rope slung over a tree which you can simply push for your dog to chase. Or few small statue friends – these can be barked or catch the eye as they whirl in the breeze; great for keeping doggie boredom at bay if you have to leave your dog home alone and go to work.
When we consider that many of us leave home to go to work for anything from 8 -10 hours everyday, and five minutes away from you is too long for your dog, installing a few doggie paradise features will keep your loved furred one happier and healthier – and knowing the exact moment you will reappear will be waiting at the gate for you to come back into the garden - to play!
dogs LOVE rolling around in grass
Tools and Products to help you get it done at Family Friendly prices
VICTA HAWK 125CC 16" LAWNMOWER: $359.00
125CC Engine. 16" Deck. 12 month Domestic Warranty
AMGROW 5KG SHIRLEY'S LAWN FERTILISER: $14.95
5kg. Traditional lawn food. Greens lawns fast. Granular formulation.
LAWN BUILDER WETTING AGENT LAWN FERTILISER 2.5KG: $26.00
2.5kg. 3 Month slow release lawn fertiliser. With wetting agent. Suitable for all lawns.
NETA EMERALD FITTED HOSE: $39.00
15m x 12mm. Quality Plastic Neta fittings. 4/ 6 star kink rating. 10 year warranty.
60CM WOODEN PLANTER TROUGH: $89.00
100% FSC sustainable wood. Plastic base provides maximum drainage & ventilation. Burnt oak finish.
WATERMATIC SELF WATERING POT: $6.00
170mm pot. Variety of colours.
JBH Mitre 10 Mona Vale has a wide and extensive range of everything you will need for Garden Preparation this Spring
Johnson Brothers Mitre 10 New Store
73 Bassett Street
Mona Vale - Online Store: Jbhmv.Com.Au
Products advice is available from the trained friendly staff at Narrabeen, Mona Vale and Avalon Johnson Brothers Mitre 10.
Previous DIY Pages:
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Australia's Prime Minister Visits Mackellar - Informal Afternoon Tea with Hon. Malcolm Turnbull October 2016