Backyards are Still Fun

When it comes to backyards, budgets and dogs take a bite out of landscaping fun. Here are a few things to consider.

  1. Rosemary. Evergreen. Hardy. Smells good. Here in North Texas, Rosemary grows well and can survive most winters with a lot of mulch and a little tender loving care. We have Rosemary bushes that are now three feet tall, and just as wide. What’s more, if you have friends with Rosemary bushes, you can start your own. Or, if you like, just buy some small ones and watch them grow. As you get the sizable bushes, the dogs brush up against them, and come inside smelling a lot less like dogs! If you are starting from a small plant, you might want to put something around it to protect it from dogs and children stepping on it or running over it. We use small decorative fencing or old tomato cages. For budget purposes, look around your garage or shed to make something work. Remember it’s only temporary. Or, stop by the next garage sale you see and get something cheap.
  2. Nandina. Durable. Comes in shade and sun varieties. For relatively inexpensive plants with interesting foliage, check out Nandina. They are incredibly hardy when you select the right ones for the area you have. And, once established can stand up to dog urine. Several varieties leaves change color with seasons.
  3. Running around landscape is fun. I’ve seen so many folks with small backyards with no landscaping. Not only don’t they have plants, but they don’t have anything for dogs and children to run around, between, etc. Even with a small space you can have a few groupings of plants. And, if you don’t plant too close to the house or fence, y’all can have a bit of fun running around them. Paths are fun especially in small areas.
  4. Swing set alternatives. When you have dogs and children with a small yard, it’s difficult to make room for everyone. The big swing sets are fun, but pretty expensive. Consider non-standard agility equipment that everyone can utilize. Use your imagination or checkout sites like Pinterest. To get ideas, check out what people make to entertain goats. You’ll see steps, platforms, tree logs, and big wooden spools. Anything to run around, jump over, climb over and through can be fun. What’s more, it doesn’t take a lot of money to make your own. Keep an eye on Craigslist’s free section for people giving away wooden spools. Spruce it up, add some paint and you’re in business.
  5. Nothing beats wildlife. Well, at the end of the day, it’s really good friends and family, big smiles and a little wildlife that makes the backyard fun. To that end, I hope you appreciate the picture of a squirrel in one of our backyard trees. That’s the best dog toy of all!

I’d love to hear your ideas when you’re not too busy hanging out in your backyard.

LK Greer

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