A lot of time and energy goes into dreaming up the perfect backyard or patio space to enjoy throughout the summer. Whether your idea of bliss involves a full outdoor kitchen or a tiny patch of grass with a cafe table, there's one member of your family whose preferences you might not be considering: your fur baby.
Here's how to make sure Professor Pickles has just as lavish a summer as you.
1. Set up a "dog bar."
Summer means steamy temps, and it's important to protect your dog against dehydration or overheating while he's outside. Ensure he gets enough to drink — whenever he wants — by creating a watering hole specifically for your pet. Set up a big water bowl (like, even bigger than the one you're thinking of!) and make sure it's full at all times.
2. Create a Catio.
It's not just a clever name — a patio for cats will make all your kitty's dreams come true. Even if Templeton is an indoor-only cat, he can still enjoy a bit of the great outdoors without risking any of the common perils like not finding his way back home, getting snatched up by a larger animal, or worse. Barbara, from the blog Our Fairfield Home and Garden, essentially turned part of her porch into a snug screened-in space for her cats, complete with comfy lounging spots and extra toys.
See one come together: Build a Catio at Our Fairfield Home and Garden
3. Make sure there's plenty of shade.
Next to fresh water, shade is probably the most important thing to make accessible to your dog while she's outdoors this summer. While you don't have to go to this much of an extreme, we love this DIY shaded cabana from This Old House. (It doesn't hurt that the dog is actually smiling!) Some easier things you can do: Set up a table umbrella, bring in some trees, or string up a canopy.
Get the steps: How to Build an Outdoor Dog Bed at This Old House
4. Grow "safe" greens.
Pets get into things — plain and simple. Keep them out of harm's way by being purposeful with what you plant. For example, tulips, geraniums, and hyacinth are all no-nos for dogs! A short list of things on the approved list include sprouts, oregano, rosemary, peppermint, basil, and parsley. Keep any danger zones far away or surround them with fencing.
Tour more of this patio and the house: A Cottage Small on Space, And Big on Design Savvy on Style Me Pretty
5. Barricade balcony spaces.
If you have a balcony or an elevated porch, it probably has a railing, but tiny pups can slip through. Safeguard the area without blocking your view by nailing pieces of plexiglass or acrylic sheets to the rails. Skip materials like wire or netting, which can actually do more harm than good (they can act like dangerous webs!).
6. Designate a dig zone.
Keep your pup from undoing all your hard landscaping work by providing him with an area where it's A-OK to dig to his heart's content. This idea comes from Cuteness and you can steal it by filling up a traditional sandbox or a raised flower bed. Just designate this spot in a shady area, like under a tree, so if he ends up there all day (which he might!) he won't be exposed to too much sun.
Learn more: How to Build Sandboxes for Dogs at Cuteness