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6 DIY dog-friendly backyard ideas on a budget

Creating the perfect backyard for your furry friend while protecting your home is possible. Here are 6 DIY dog-friendly backyard ideas on a budget.

Catherine Collins
December 11, 2023

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Getting your backyard pet-ready doesn’t have to break the bank. You can create dog-friendly landscaping, easy DIY furniture, and other features that your dog (and you!) will love. Here are several DIY dog-friendly backyard ideas on a budget.

Assess your yard and dog's needs

First, consider your dog's specific preferences and needs for their backyard space. Some breeds love to fetch, others love digging, and some will launch themselves into an agility course every chance they get.

Next, assess your yard itself. Depending on the condition of your backyard and how you want it to look, some dog-friendly backyard ideas on a budget are better than others. For example, you may need to fence off certain areas, like vegetable gardens, to prevent your furry friend from getting into your flower beds, herbs, and other plants.

Finally, consider your budget, which will help you determine how much money you’re willing to spend and what you’d be willing to put in the time to do yourself.

Dog-friendly backyard ideas

Here are six dog-friendly backyard ideas to consider.

Low-cost landscaping ideas

Some dogs like to tear up and ruin the grass, so other plant covers can be good options when considering diy dog-friendly backyard ideas on a budget. Generally, for ground cover plants, choose something that grows low to the ground, spreads horizontally, and still looks similar to a grass lawn. Silver carpet, creeping thyme, and Irish moss are popular, non-toxic, and dog-safe grass alternatives

For an even easier option, you can choose good old-fashioned mulch, which your dog’s urine can’t ruin. Synthetic turf is another option, but it tends to be costlier.

Another consideration when landscaping is planting a flea-repelling garden. Fleas are one of the major risks of owning a dog, but some plants overwhelm them. This acts as a natural repellent to keep them out of your yard and away from your dog. 

Some non-toxic options to plant in your garden include marigolds, rosemary, and sage. Cedar chips as a mulch are also flea-repelling, amplifying the overall effect. Hostas, chamomile, and several other plants are toxic to dogs, so be sure to avoid them.

Lastly, consider how to create dog paths when designing your dog friendly backyard landscaping. Some dogs love to patrol their territory when left outside for a substantial amount of time, and that can flatten the path they walk over time. This is called a dog path, and you can place paving stones or gravel along it to make it a little more aesthetic.


Budget-friendly play areas

When it comes to dog-friendly backyard ideas for play areas, it’s easy to make a DIY agility course to let your dog run. If you don’t mind dedicating an area of your backyard to give your dog their own play area, jumps, tunnels, and balance beams are pretty easy to set up. Ramps can be made with just some 2x4s and other lumber, and you can get tunnels online for under $40. 

Also, obsessive-digging dogs love a good sandbox to play in. Instead of physically stopping your dog from digging up your plants or lawn daily, you can give them a safe space to practice their digging. You can even make it yourself by digging a 2-foot deep pit and pouring a bag of fast-setting concrete by following the instructions. Then, fill it with some playground sand found at any hardware store.

Shade and shelter options

In addition to play areas, it's important to have rest stops for when your dog needs a break in their outdoor space. It’s nice to have shade in summer, so consider adding a couple of shady trees or awnings. You can also pull out a nice canopy, which can serve as an excellent spot for patio furniture as well. For a touch more luxury, you can even consider building them a classic dog house.

DIY water features

Shade is just one way dogs like to keep cool. The other is access to some kind of water feature, which lets them stay hydrated during the spring and summer. A sprinkler that’s connected to your hose is the simplest. If you want something a bit more creative, buy a dog pool, which is great to pull out on sweltering days.

Making a homemade doggy drinking station using a bottle and just a couple of tools is also pretty straightforward.

Budget-friendly dog furniture

Other dog-friendly backyard ideas on a budget include building some dog furniture. You can DIY a dog bed so they have a place to hang out in the backyard. These make an excellent opportunity to repurpose some materials you have lying around the house. You can also consider making some outdoor cushions or pillows for them to use.

A raised dog feeding station is another idea. If you feed them outside, this keeps their food off the ground and prevents it from spilling into the yard.

DIY dog-proofing

Fencing is one of the bigger budget concerns for creating a dog-friendly backyard. It’s essential to avoid your dogs running away.

You can choose from countless fencing styles. Check your local fencing businesses to see what they offer. For dogs, it’s important that the fence is not easy to dig under or jump over. Make sure the wood will be able to tolerate dog scratches without getting ruined.

Another type of fence to consider is one that will protect your garden and other areas of the backyard. A bit of chicken wire or latticework will help prevent your dog from ruining your vegetable plot and landscaping.

If your dog is a serious digger, consider burying rocks or other barriers to prevent them from digging an escape route. Dogs want to be with their humans, but some also like to try to escape to chase a squirrel occasionally. So, design your dog-proofing with your dog and their personality in mind.


Final thoughts

It’s natural to want to spoil your dog with the backyard of their dreams, but sometimes the expense can be daunting. Luckily, if you're looking for DIY backyard dog friendly backyard ideas on a budget, you have plenty of options and can improve your home at the same time.

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