Unfortunately, it’s true. Dogs and lawns do not play well together. Dogs love to roll and lay in grass. But they also enjoy urinating all over it, running well-worn paths through it, and digging it up. So what is a dog lover-lawn lover to do?

There is hope.

Consider adding a pea gravel path

Pea gravel path

Pea gravel path

At my house, I’ve taken the easy way out. My front yard is a carpet of lush bluegrass, bordered by flowering perennials, bulbs, and native, tall grasses. At the end of the workday, I take great pleasure in arriving home to this colorful, serene entryway.

I allow my dog to lounge on the front yard while I read the morning paper on my porch. But his real domain lies behind the house, where the landscape is quite different and better suited to the destructive ways of canines. For one, there is no grass. It is completely xeriscaped with large beds of perennials, ground covers, shrubs, small trees, and vines. And there is a wide pea gravel path that winds through it all. This path is the godsend of the dog lover-garden lover. Because of this path, I could conceivably have grass where salvia, roses, and pampas grasses are planted, surrounded by gorilla hair mulch.  When we designed the landscaping, we intentionally planned for our dog’s back and forth route between each side of the house. This is where he runs when the mailman visits or when a squirrel taunts him from the tree branch high above.

Adding a pea gravel path is a good idea because it soaks up urine, can easily be hosed down, and doesn’t get muddy. Because the pebbles are small, dogs don’t typically like to dig in it or even eat the pebbles. It looks good, too, and is far more affordable than installing pavers. Your dog is happy because he can act like a dog; you’re happy because you don’t have to yell at the dog to stop ruining your yard (and keep figuring out ways to fix the damage he’s done). Best of all, with this slight alteration, you can count on your lawn looking better than ever.