5 Ways to Prevent Pet Damage to Your Lawn


Here at GSC, we know Boulder County homeowners take pride in maintaining a green and pristine lawn. That’s why we care so much about providing top-of-the-line lawn maintenance services, and why we’re always providing helpful tips for lawn care on our blog. 

From proper watering and fertilization to weeding and mower upkeep, making sure your lawn is the best on your block can be a big chore. And if you’re a pet owner, it’s even more of a challenge.

Pets — especially dogs — love to dig, scratch, and run around in circles over and over. All these behaviors can wreak havoc on your lawn.

On top of that, dog feces can turn your yard into a minefield, while burn spots from their urine can turn leave brown dead zones all over your grass.

In staying true to our commitment to provide the best in lawn care and tips, we’ve got tips to help protect your lawn from your pets’ worst instincts. From choosing the right plants to strategically-placed fencing, stakes, and bricks, here are 5 ways to pet-proof your lawn to keep it beautiful all summer long.

Keep Your Pets Occupied

A worn-out pet is one of the best preventative measures to keep your animals from ruining your lawn.

Our furry friends can get bored, which is one of the biggest reasons they decide to run roughshod over your landscape, dig in the flower bed, and eat whatever you’re growing in the garden.

Exercising your pets through regular walks and play is a good way to keep some of their worst lawn-damaging behavior at bay. On days when you can’t make time to wear out your pet, give them toys that will keep them busy and distracted from your tempting- looking gardenias.

Choose Sturdy Plants

It can be trouble to plant fragile plants throughout your lawn with a playful pooch or kitty around. Instead, strategically plant sturdy species that can handle a bit of rough play.

Some of our favorites include lilac, canna, artemisia. Stay away from foxglove, rhododendron, lily of the valley, and azalea, which won’t take kindly to abuse. Not only are these plants fragile, but they can be harmful if eaten by your pets.

Hardscaping with things like rocks, gravel, concrete, and bricks combined with aesthetically-pleasing plant placement can also make for a gorgeous, pet-proof lawn.

Install Fencing and Stakes in the Garden

For areas in your yard with fragile plants like the garden and flowerbeds, a bit of hardware can help in your defensive strategy.

Putting up chicken wire fencing around your garden is an effective way to keep your pets out. If you’re not a fan of the aesthetics of a fence, driving some stakes into the garden in-between plants will deter pets from spending too much time there, and will make it hard for them to lay down or dig in the dirt.

In your flower beds, some well-placed thorny plants or branches will make them an undesirable hangout for Fido.

Stop Your Dog from Digging with Bricks

If there’s a certain patch of dirt where your pet really likes to dig, bury a brick or two in the ground in that spot. Once your dog hits the brick, they’ll likely give up on digging and move on.

Another tip to prevent unwanted digging is to simply provide your pet a spot where digging is allowed. A small, hard-to-see corner of dirt or sand can make for a perfect play spot, especially for dog breeds prone to digging like terriers and hounds.

You can even bury some old toys or sticks in the dig zone to make it rewarding and extra fun for your pet.

Use Scented Herbs to Keep Cats Out of Flowerbeds

If you’ve got a curious kitty that loves to nestle in your flowerbed or garden, certain scents can be a powerful repellent.

Plant herbs such as rosemary and sage in the garden to keep cats out. Coleus caninea, also known as the scaredy cat plant, is a specific plant developed to deter cats — plant it in flowerbeds, around bird baths, or anywhere else you’d like to make a cat-free zone.

If more plants don’t fit into your landscaping game plan, used coffee grounds make for a good alternative. Spread them in the garden or wherever else you don’t want your cats to go. Plus, they make for a decent fertilizer boost to your soil!

How to Fix Your Lawn After Pet Damage

Some things are hard to prevent, like burn spots from urine. Some pet damage is nearly impossible to prevent, no matter how hard you try. It’s especially difficult if you aren’t able to train your canine companion to go to the bathroom or dig in certain areas from a young age.

The good news is, there are treatment methods to fix your lawn and keep it looking sharp, even after your pet has made a mess of it with urine, digging, and running.

Read our guide to repairing a pet-damaged lawn »