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Creating an Attractive Space for Your Dog

Tired of dead spots in the lawn and stepping in undiscovered droppings left by your dog? I have an attractive solution you and your pet will appreciate.

I worked with a busy family that has a small dog, three children and likes to entertain in their yard. They wanted a way to contain the mess and increase the beauty of their backyard.

We selected a corner of their landscape next to the house. It was convenient to the backdoor and out of the way of backyard activities.

First we remove the sod surrounding an ornamental shrub we left standing in the corner and filled the area with pea gravel. This substrate does not retain odors, washes easily and the change of surface is a good cue for the dog to use this area.

To beautify the landscape screen of the area and further delineate the space for the dog, we're creating a decorative planting of Dark Horse weigela, Shenandoah switchgrass and Knock Out roses, and adding some annual Angelonia (summer snapdragon) to fill in as the grasses and shrubs mature.

A bit more information: Avoid using plants and materials in your landscape that are toxic to your pets. The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) has an extensive list of plants toxic to cats, dogs and horses. On their list you will find azaleas (Rhododendrons), clematis, garlic and other indoor and outdoor plants. Visit their website for more details. Consider plant toxicity, your pets inclination for chewing, and accessibility of the plants to your pets when designing your landscape. Avoid cocoa bean shell mulch (can be fatal to dogs), toxic pesticides and other materials than can be detrimental to the health of your pets.

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