This post is in partnership with Troy-Bilt as a part of their Fence Talks series.
It’s likely no surprise that we love dogs. Our dogs. Other people’s dogs. All the dogs! Our CC brings so much silly joy into our home, and we can’t imagine a life without a pup around. Having a dog in the family brings its own set of challenges, especially when it comes maintaining a yard, but after living as city-dwelling dog parents for the last 11 years, we’ve gained a wealth of knowledge in the area of dog-friendly yards and landscaping.
To help spread some of that knowledge, we’ve partnered with our friends at Troy–Bilt as a part of their Fence Talks series which will help tackle common yard pain points head-on! Other experts will be covering topics such as plant identification, pest control and even settling issues with neighbors! For our portion of the series, we’ll be talking through ways to help alleviate the pet-related challenges that Boris the Pibble‘s mom and dad are facing. Friends, meet Boris!
Boris is a handsome rescue pittie from St. Louis, MO. His favorite past-times are playing fetch in his backyard, romping at the dog park, taking hikes and going for the occasional swim. Plus, he has the most kissable nose we’ve ever seen. Boris does, however, need a bit of help with his lawn!
When Yards + Dogs Don’t Mix
As many fellow dog parents know, dog urine and green lawns do not mix well. ‘Pee spots’ as they’re (not so affectionately) known, are patches of dead grass that result from dogs habitually relieving themselves in the same area. We’ve found some solutions to this pesky problem in the past both at our Chicago home and our Michigan Tree House, and we think we have just the plan for Boris’ yard!
Over the next few weeks, we’ll be helping Boris’ parents, Alley and Alex, to fix some problem areas in their own yard. Troy-Bilt will be lending a hand in the form of a super cool new Pony 42 riding mower to help Alley, Alex and Boris jump-start their yard’s revitalization. Be sure to follow both @yellowbrickhome and @boristhepibble on instagram for updates on how the project comes together!
The Challenge with Boris’ Yard
Alley and Alex have continued sprucing up their St. Louis backyard this spring and recently installed this concrete patio in a shaded area at the rear of the property. They were a little uncertain how to finish the area surrounding the patio and through our rainy Midwest spring, Boris has turned the bare dirt patches into a bit of a muddy mess! Boris also has a habit of creating the aforementioned ‘pee spots’ throughout the grass portion of the yard, so we’ll address both problems with one solution; If you guessed that we’d be helping Alley and Alex design a potty pit for Boris, you’d be 100% right! Let’s take a look at our starting point, shall we?
Alley and Alex have done a great job with their patio project so far and will just need a few finishing touches for it to really shine. The area features mature trees, a shade sail, a hammock and a portable fire pit, but it’s still a bit of a blank canvas. We think the addition of a decorative gravel area for Boris and some well-placed greenery will be just the solution to finish off the space and keep Boris from damaging the lawn further!
Boris is also lucky enough to have his very own doggie window installed into his back fence! We’ve been told that his special lady friend pup lives just on the other side of the alley, so his parents were kind enough to install the acrylic bubble window to let them gaze longingly at one another as often as they’d like. This means that Boris spends a lot of his free time at the back of the yard, so installing the gravel potty pit will also help cut down on the amount of mud and dirt that he tracks into the house. Isn’t it so satisfying when one solution solves for multiple problems?
Our Backyard as Inspiration
As we mentioned, we’ve installed a couple of gravel potty pits in the past, so we’ll be using our own yards in Chicago and Michigan as inspiration for the design of Boris’s yard. When we planned our backyard space a few years ago, we intentionally avoided grass in favor of a layout with all hardscape. We opted for brick pavers as opposed to a poured concrete patio, but like Alley and Alex, we left ample space for gravel around the main seating area.
CC simply has to walk under the wide back steps to access her semi-private 8×10 gravel potty. She’s adapted well over the years and almost always disappears behind the steps to do her business without being prompted. With a little bit of training and coaching, we’re confident that Boris will be using his own potty pit in no time!
Potty Pits, Large and Small
In our front yard, we’ve integrated a miniature version of our backyard potty pit so CC never has too far to go when nature calls. When we poured the concrete for our front sidewalk, we intentionally left a 4″ deep strip between the concrete and the cedar fence, which we then filled in with the same decorative gravel that we used out back. This offers just enough space for CC to run down and take care of business when we’re spending time on our front porch.
Much like in our backyard, with a bit of training and encouragement, CC goes potty almost exclusively in the gravel area instead of in the grass. We love the textural variation between the perfectly poured concrete and the gravel pebbles and could see this as a perfect fit for Boris’s yard as well!
In addition to the back and front yards of our Chicago home, we integrated a gravel area at our home in Michigan (also with Troy-Bilt‘s help!), seen below. The area allows for ample space to store our hose and deck box, while also leaving space for CC to relieve herself. After a bit of training, she knows to head straight over to the gravel area when she needs to take care of business!
We’ll all be sharing progress on Instagram along the way, so keep an eye on @yellowbrickhome and @boristhepibble to follow along with the design and build of Boris’s very own potty pit! We can’t wait to help Alley and Alex finish their backyard project so it works for their whole family.
Thank you to our friends at Troy-Bilt for introducing us to our new buddy Boris and providing the tools – and conversation – to get the job done! We’ll be addressing Boris’ concerns as well as yours over the next few weeks, so let us know: What are your pet-related yard issues?