ARTICLE Stephanie Matheson

Lawns are the most cost-effective, lower maintenance way to go, and will help you stick closer to the lower end of the price range. For a mid-level makeover of your fences, lawns and decks, you should budget anywhere from around $20,000 and upwards, depending on how fancy you want to go with garden paths and raised garden beds.

What’s the best grass or lawn type for my pet?

Keeping more lawn space in your garden will help you keep the cost down, and allow for plenty of play and exercise space for your pets. The most cost-effective way to revitalise your lawn is to simply apple new lawn seeds. This is normally the lowest cost option per square metre. Slightly more expensive per square metre, but still cost-effective, is the application of hydro seed, which is a combination of seed and pulp. It is sprayed onto the existing grass to maintain moisture and help the new grass grow better.

Pets may be interested in lawn seeds and, especially if your garden is very muddy or has muddy patches where weeds have eradicated, they may roll around in the mud and prohibit the new grass from growing properly. Ready lawn, at a more expensive cost than lawn seed, is an excellent option in these cases, and means that your lawn will be ready ‘as is’ without muddy paw prints all over the house for weeks on end, while seeded grass is trying to grow. Be aware, however, that ready lawn needs to be watered in carefully over a week or two. It may even be worth trying to keep your pets off the new lawn for the first week or so.

Man installing ready lawn in yard.

Another great alternative at a similar price point as ready lawn, is a product called ‘Woolgro’ – a wool mat with grass seed embedded into it. This mat is laid on the desired lawn area with 10 millimetres of lawn mix spread over the top. It provides consistent grass coverage and retains moisture extremely well. Grass still has to grow, but there is no muddy mess and the seeds can’t be moved or eaten, as they are embedded within the mat. The product is completely natural and biodegradable.

Should I install pathways?

Plain and simple pathways can be installed to cover up any tracks your pets happen to wear into the lawn or other areas in the garden. They are also a good method of separating zones and adding a structure to your garden, as well as a means of trying to guide dogs past flower and veggie pads. It’s a good idea to use smooth river pebbles instead of crushed shells, as they are kinder on sensitive paws. Large stepping stones and pavers are also good options.

How can I keep my pets from digging up my garden?

Bark or mulch often ends up being scratched at or dug up by pets. That’s why pebble or rock gardens may be better options, and while they require a bit of investment up front, they typically last better, protect plants and mean less maintenance in the long term.

Elevated environments for gardening, such as containers or planter boxes also help limit pet access. As a more substantial way to create gardening spaces, built-in retained garden beds are a great way to landscape and design your outdoor areas. A selection of suitable, pet-safe plants (further information can be read in our basic pet-friendly estimate) at different sizes brings it all to life.

Mixed element zoned garden with rock features, grassy areas and potted plants.

Some dogs are more into digging than others, and there may be different reasons for why your particular pet digs up your garden. Boredom is a common cause so ensure they have enough exercise. They may also try to get cooler soil, in which case a cool, shaded spot might help. If the digging habit of your dog just simply can’t be broken, it is worth considering if new and different toys may help, or if a designated digging spot could be created somewhere in your garden.

What kind of deck is best for dogs?

You might be worried about your deck scratching when your dog or other pets scurry across it, and rightly so. Timber decks of course do scratch. And so do composite decks, however, with composite decking you can sand back the scratches. Another advantage, for example with the BiForm system, is that composite decking uses a hidden fixing system, which means there aren’t any nails popping up to harm your dogs. It’s ideal for pets of any kind really, as it does not contain any toxic chemicals and does not splinter. Pricing wise it’s a mid-to-high-end product.

Other decking or paving materialism such as pavers or bricks, might also be a good option when you are living with pets. Keep in mind though that concrete stains when urinated on.

Bespoke cat house in a shady garden making for a more cat-friendly garden

Which toys and shelter should I get for my pets?

The classic dog hut is quite an iconic home accessory, but today there are many other options to choose from. From commercially available plastic or wooden huts through to custom-made fully fenced-in kennels, you can create a cosy corner for your four-legged companions that is both practical and stylish. Shelters and play spaces for smaller animals can also look the part and be integrated into your overall garden design. Cats usually like a scratch tower and cosy, hidden spots to hide and sleep.

If you get a landscaping designer to make over your space, they will have some useful ideas on how to incorporate resting spots and play areas within your garden design. Building an outdoor tunnel is a great way to jazz up your garden and make things more interesting for your pets. A tunnel will also stay nice and cool in summer and can double as a cool shelter. Another great choice is a doggy paddle pool.

Finally, when it comes to pet toys and other essential items, such as food and water bowls, there are countless products on the market. Simple watering bowls will usually do the job just fine, but you can also invest in a doggy water fountain that connects to your garden hose.

For more pet-friendly garden costs read our basic and high-end project estimates.


Get in touch with Zones to discuss your landscaping project

If you would like to discuss options and ideas for your pet-friendly landscaping project, please use the enquiry form on this page to provide us with your contact details. We will get in touch with you at a time that suits you to discuss your landscaping design and build. If you would like to provide us with more information about your project, we have a more comprehensive enquiry form on our "Get in touch" page too.

*Costs are rough estimates and are subject to change. For a fixed-quote accurate to your specific project, please consult your local Zones landscaping specialist. All Zones franchises are independently owned and operated.