Your pet likely spends a lot of time in your backyard, so you want to make sure it is a safe and comfortable place for them. Of course, you also want the yard to be beautiful and easy to maintain. Fortunately, there are turf and hardscaping options that will turn your yard into an oasis for both you and your furry companion.

Artificial Turf

A grass lawn can be almost impossible to maintain in a desert climate, especially if the lawn will be subjected to a pet. Artificial turf provides an eco-friendly alternative to the traditional lawn.

Turf Options

Not all artificial turf is created equally. Nylon turf is readily available but a poor choice because it will absorb liquids and eventually develop an odor. Polyethylene or polypropylene alternatives are completely non-absorbent, making them a better choice for pet turf.

Maintenance Responsibilities

The turf does need some maintenance, especially when used by a pet. Plan to rinse down the lawn at least once a week and to remove solid waste daily. The turf should also be swept or raked periodically to remove leaves and keep the grass blades looking natural. Fortunately, even with these maintenance needs, artificial turf requires a lot less time and less water to maintain compared to real grass.

Water Fountains

If your dog spends more than a few minutes outside, especially in the dry desert weather, then water is a must. Unfortunately, water can evaporate out of dog bowls quickly in the Arizona climate, but a pet fountain can be a great solution.

Design Options

A pet fountain can also double as a backyard water feature, so choose a design that fits into the rest of your hardscaping. You can do this by using the same type of stone for the fountain that is used in pavers and retaining walls.
You can also use the water flow style as part of the design element. A simple waterfall into a drinking trough provides a simple yet attractive design. For something more involved, consider a fountain that trickles down a stack of rocks or other elements into a trough below.

Conservation Concerns

Water constantly running is a conservation nightmare, especially in areas without a lot of rainfall. You can opt for a recirculating fountain for your pet, but it will need to be placed in a shaded area to cut down on evaporation.
Another option is to have a trigger device installed. A weight pad, for example, turns the fountain on when the pet stands nearby. A motion sensor is another alternative that can turn the fountain on only when needed.

Shade Structures

Heat can be deadly. Although shade doesn’t lower the temperature, it does deflect solar radiation so your pet is less likely to overheat.

Permanent Options

Permanent shade structures need to provide both shade and air circulation. In a hot climate, a dog house isn’t preferred because these structures can actually retain heat and become even warmer inside.
Instead, choose design elements that also provide shade your pets can enjoy. For example, decorative patio covers, pergolas, and low walls and benches all create pockets of shade.

Placement Considerations

Another thing to consider with shade structures is the placement. The shade does little good if it covers an area of hot pavement or rocks where your pet won’t be able to lie down. Place structures so that they shade cooler turf areas, or utilize outdoor rugs under the structures so your pet has a comfortable place to rest.
Contact Sunburst Landscaping to learn more about the artificial turf and hardscaping options available to make sure your pet is safe and comfortable in your backyard.