Dog Run Landscaping
October 5, 2012 in Design Dilemma
We are planning a dog run for a section of our backyard that is otherwise unused. It is a pie shaped area that runs at approximate measurements of 15ft at one end, 6ft at the other end and 20ft long. One side of the run is along a chain link fence that is a walkway connecting two streets. The other side of the run is along our house/deck.

When we are finished with all the pool, patio, garden plans this dog run will be separated from any other grass. Meaning I have to cross a patio with a lawn mower to cut the grass...which in turn means I am open to other suggestions for base aside from grass. Cedar chips, stone pebbles etc.

I would love to have some greenery in the area for the dog, that would double as shade and a bit of privacy on the deck. Whatever tree(s) that are in this area must not overgrow onto the walkway, or grow onto the house. I love the look of Weeping Nootka False Cypress...does anyone know if these come in a dwarf variety?

At the end of the day I am looking for an aesthetically pleasing dog run, that is low maintenance for me and more interesting for my dog than just a patch of grass.

Forgive my hand drawn sketch...the yard is currently under construction so it's easier this way than trying to describe pictures
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Nothing attached, can you try again? Sometimes I have to reboot in order to get a pic to attach. Thanks!
October 5, 2012 at 4:44pm   
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Completely forgot to attach the picture LOL, sorry about that!
October 5, 2012 at 4:45pm   
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The walkway is fenced in as well with a 5ft chain link fence.

We still have a large amount of grass in the backyard, but it's off to the left of my drawing.
October 5, 2012 at 4:46pm   
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Yes, been there, done that! I googled the dwarf cypress you talked about and couldn't find anything for you. There are a lot of landscape people who respond here, I'm going to bow out and let the experts help you. If you could see the dead plants in my yard, you would thank me for this.
October 5, 2012 at 4:55pm   
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Have you thought of fake grass? There are a lot of options for fake grass now. Read up on it. They are pet friendly, super low maintence. Maybe you could put a tree on the other side of the fence (assuming that is still your property) for shade. But I'm pretty sure you can put the fake grass around trees also. There is a house not far from us that did his entire lot, one acre, with this stuff and he has plants, trees and also used large rocks to decorate.
October 5, 2012 at 6:54pm   
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I'm not a huge fake grass fan. No offense to your friend, I just find it cheesey. I am currently in a toss up between cedar wood chips or pea gravel. I think the wood chips would look much nicer with some coniferous trees or shrubbery...maybe some cedar hedges along the walkway fence.
October 5, 2012 at 7:00pm   
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If your not set on having grass which, if you will use this for an area for the dog to do its business will not last long, then pea gravel or stone is a great idea. But if you would like to stay green and keep the soil healthy for later options planting clover is an option. Never experienced it personally but heard it doesn't yellow and die from dog urine like grass does
October 5, 2012 at 11:00pm   
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As I'm sure you know, pea gravel is what is often used in dog parks. So it is probably the most practical and sanitary option. But if you want to plant some borders of shrubbery around it to soften the look and hide the chain link fence, be sure to consider whether you have a male dog who marks or not. Our neighbors' evergreen shrubbery has permanent ugly brown patches from marking, whereas the deciduous shrubs at least are renewed annually. If your dog is female, then of course this isn't an issue.
October 6, 2012 at 5:18am   
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Pea gravel is very dog-friendly and low maintenance. I installed grass last year and replaced it this year with pea gravel for the dog area. I used pretty container gardens to soften the look. It is so low maintenance and soft on their pads. There has been no issue with the pea gravel stuck in their pads or tracked inside.
October 6, 2012 at 8:04am   
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I will go with the pea gravel for sure...I prefer the look of cedar chips, but after a bit more research found out that they are prone to soaking up dog urine and emitting a funky stench. No thank you!!

So now...pea gravel substrate, cedar hedges along the walkway fence. What other types of trees/shrubs can I add?

I should note our dog is small, he won't need the full area for playing. I want to use this area as a space for him to go to the bathroom...the rest of the yard he can run and play in.
October 6, 2012 at 9:00am   
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What about some vines to prettify the chain link fence above and around the shrubs?
October 6, 2012 at 9:10am   
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Pea gravel could get stuck in their paws, couldn't it? And cedar can be toxic so check on that. I know you can't use it with pups. It's used in dog beds to keep fleas away, but it's contained and they're not in direct contact with it. Ask your vet. We used to raise labs and run them in field trials when I was a kid. They were our family pets, though, not just a hobby. My dad built a run with a doghouse at one end, all concrete with a trough one one side leading to a drain, and hooked it into the house's connection to city sewer. We just hosed it down everyday while the dogs were out. Not what you had in mind, I know, but it sure worked well.
October 6, 2012 at 12:52pm   
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