While I don't always mention our backyard with googly heart eyes (it was unrecognizable when we moved in), Mike and I are truly grateful for the outdoor space that we have. We moved into our current home just before we became engaged and then married, so many of our fixer upper projects were put on hold until recently. But our backyard is back on our radar and it's been fun continuing to make little improvements -- especially in ways that make it more enjoyable for our pups. Today, we're sharing 4 super easy, dog-centered updates that we recently introduced to our backyard...
By the way, the bones of our backyard includes: a fence, a small wooden deck, a small shed (now on its third paint color :), a fire pit area and some foliage along the perimeter of the yard.
Improvement #1: Outdoor chair pads as outdoor dog beds. Ever since our fence went up, the boys practically live outdoors. We keep our back door open to allow them to move in and out as they please, but they usually favor the outdoors. So, I thought I'd bring a little comfort to them with outdoor dog beds.
I found the outdoor chair pads (and the outdoor rug beneath them) at Target. The chair pads originally had ties and a few tags sewn in, so I snipped them off. I also added their names because I'm currently on a personalization kick :)
Note: Target and many other stores are already discounting their summer sections, so I scored these chair pads on major sale! Also, if you love this idea but have a bigger pup, look for chaise lounge pads or bench pads instead of chair pads. But the key is to grab cushions made for the great outdoors because they're usually made with weather-wicking material. See below!
Improvement #2: Outdoor water bowl. This update might not seem special, but I wanted to make sure that fresh water was easily accessible to Pierogi and Gilly on hot summer days. Of course, we always have a water bowl out in our kitchen, but this puts the water (and a lot of it) directly in front of them when when they need it the most. This improvement was also inspired by those beautiful planter-style dog water stands (have you seen them?), but the dilemma was always either the price tag or the design style not matching ours; some were also too tall for Pierogi and Gilly. So instead, I picked up this acrylic bowl which is simple and easy to clean.
Note: If you love this idea, hunt for a large serving bowl in your favorite store's outdoor entertaining section. There, you should be able to find a sturdy, yet durable bowl that matches the vibes of your outdoor style.
Improvement #3: Deck rail planter box as dog toy box. Indoors, we have multiple storage spots for Pierogi and Gilly's toys, but with them spending so much time outside, so do their toys. For the longest time, I would pick up their toys from the backyard and place them back indoors, only to have them be dragged back out the next morning. Counterproductive, right? I thought so, too. So, I got smart and placed a pail on the deck to corral all of their toys. Then, it rained, filled up the pail and all of their toys turned soggy :( But a deck rail planter box solves all of those problems!
It's perfect because it's already made for the outdoors and the box designs with slats easily allows it drain when it rains. To make the toy box accessible to Pierogi and Gilly, I secured it low to the ground with a few zip ties across the top of the planter box. This way, we can still lift the box up when we mow the grass around that area.
Note: We already had this planter box on hand, but if you buy a new one, browse for one without a coconut liner (because you don't need it, plus they're sometimes sticky and odorous) and removable deck rail hooks (so that you can mount the box flush).
Improvement #4: Planters to corral firewood. Pierogi and Gilly love sticks and think it's hilarious when they pull wood from our neatly stacked firewood piles and run off with them. Please tell me that your dog does this too? Well, this might be a personal problem to our family, but to halt the stick stealing, I transfered our firewood piles to giant planters. This has worked fabulously as it's much more difficult to pull sticks out from this position.
Note: Yep, these planters were another sale score!
I really enjoyed making these little improvements, which each required very little effort beyond sourcing the items. And I kind of felt like I was on a home design show because once I had everything in place, I called Pierogi and Gilly out for the big reveal!
Here they are -- sniffing out their new digs!
The toy box is perfect for them!
Here, Pierogi was working on a new toy when he suddenly got an urge to bite a single blade of grass. I love these guys so much!
The water bowl worked out well, too. Until, Gilly tried to take a drink of water with a ball in his mouth. Obviously, that didn't work out and the ball fell in...
Of course, he called his brother over for backup... (Can you spot Gilly's tongue on the bowl? Hah!)
But, when they couldn't figure out how to recover the ball...down went the water bowl! And that's why outdoor fabrics are essential ;)
P.S. We also planted a few green things and I thought I'd share what they are because finding dog-safe plants is not easy! Based on the consensus of the Internet, we put in a few clusters of Russian Sage, Bee Balm and Fountain Grass.
How's your summer going? Anything fun planned?
Woof! (Hey, there!) Pierogi, Gilly and Sarah here. Thanks for stopping by our dog blog. We're a little dog-obsessed around here and Pierogi & Co. is all about inspiring you to enjoy the dog days. Because life's more fun with your best (furry) friend by your side. So grab a bone and follow along as we stop to sniff the flowers...