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    How to Create a Pet-Friendly Outdoor Space

    Image of a dog wearing sunglasses

    Pet parents with patios naturally want to spend time with their favorite canine or feline companions outside. However, several factors come into play when making your rental property or home’s outdoor spaces comfortable for both people and pets. From roomy backyard decks to small patios and balconies, there are cat and dog-friendly outdoor furniture layouts for any situation.

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    Do Dogs Need Outdoor Space?

    All dogs need exercise and stimulation to stay healthy and keep boredom at bay. Frequent daily walks are necessary to keep apartment dwellers’ companions happy and entertained. As long as your dog gets plenty of exercise, small outdoor spaces allow pups and their people a chance to relax on a couch, chaise lounge or club chair and enjoy good weather and fresh air.

    Ridgecrest Gray Outdoor Seating Set

    Age, breed and energy levels all factor into the amount of outdoor space dogs need.

    Your pet's breed and energy levels can help you determine how much time and space they need outdoors. Yorkies and Chihuahuas, for example, have a lot of energy to burn, but their tiny frames mean small pet-friendly patios are perfectly fine. Border collies and huskies, on the other hand, need room to run off their boundless energy, which means larger yards or longer hikes are ideal.

    Outdoor Pet Care Essentials

    How Can I Make my Patio Dog Friendly?

    Solana white outdoor seating set

    Enclosed patios and fences keep pets secure when playing outdoors.

    When designing a pet-friendly patio, consider the size of your space and your dog's comfort and physical needs first. You'll need to put a few things in place before shopping for furniture. Take stock of your outdoor layout and designate areas for each of the following pet-friendly fixtures:

    Secure Location

    First and foremost, you'll need to ensure your pet-friendly patio is escape-proof. Tall fencing, balcony rails that prevent pets from slipping through or getting stuck and screened-in areas for feline friends are essential to keep pets safely contained while they play in the yard or on your deck.

    Easy Access

    Make sure your pup can navigate the ins and outs of your deck and patio. Steep staircases can be troublesome for puppies, smaller breeds and older dogs. Wide, shallow stairs make your deck dog-friendly, but store-bought or DIY ramps are a viable solution, too.

    Shady Refuge

    Pets need a place to take shelter and cool off after an enthusiastic game of fetch. Canopies and wood or aluminum cantilever umbrellas offer plenty of portable or adjustable shade, while dog houses, custom or otherwise, provide a more permanent sun-blocking solution for your backyard.

    Hydration Station

    Your pup will need plenty of water while playing outside. To dress up your dog's water bowl, find one to match the diameter of a stylish planter that coordinates with your balcony decor. Or, set up an outdoor console table and use the drawers and cubbies to hold various dog care essentials so they'll be close at hand when you're out on the deck.

    Play Space

    Plan your pet-friendly patio furniture layout with your dog's favorite activities in mind. If a wicker sectional or daybed still gives your canine companion room to romp, you're all set. However, consider downsizing to a sofa set or a few Adirondack chairs if larger furnishings take up too much space. Finding the perfect balance between canine and human comfort is key.

    Rialto brown curved wicker sectional with blue cushions

    Pets should have plenty of space to play, plus barriers to keep them in your yard or on the deck.

    Pet-Friendly Layouts

    Creating a Pet-Friendly Outdoor Furniture Layout

    When weighing your furniture options, the types of pets you have and their behavior affects the materials you choose for your patio. Puppies may exhibit destructive habits, and cats require special accommodations to be safe outdoors. When furnishing your deck or balcony, keep potential pet problems and behavior in mind.

    How Do I Stop My Dog from Chewing my Patio Furniture Cushions?

    Unsupervised, rambunctious pups may see chair cushions and pillows as playthings. Tough performance fabrics are a smart choice, but sharp teeth and claws cause a lot of damage in a short amount of time. Look for wooden storage benches or deck boxes to protect your non-permanent accessories when your dog is alone on your patio.

    Do Cats Scratch Rattan Furniture?

    If you plan on sharing outdoor spaces with your feline friends, your beloved cat may mistake certain textured rattan or wicker items for a scratching post. Consider aluminum or wrought iron seating sets if you and your cat hang out in a sunroom, screened-in porch or balcony. You could also invest in a "catio" enclosure to preserve your furniture and keep your four-legged companions safe outdoors.

    Furniture Ideas for Dog-Friendly Patios

    white frame sofa with blue cushions

    Low-profile seats allow puppies and older dogs to join you for a cuddle session on the couch.

    Once you have your pet care essentials in place, arrange your layout with both canine and human comforts in mind, and opt for low-maintenance materials to ease any necessary clean-up. Consider the following dog-friendly patio furniture tips when outfitting your deck or yard:

    Go Low

    If snuggling with your pup on the porch is your goal, look for low-profile teak, wicker or cast aluminum conversation sets that will allow your pet to jump up and join you on the sofa. Modern seating often sits lower to the ground, but you'll be able to find plenty of designs in other styles to suit your needs.

    Designated Napping

    If you prefer to have your pet lounge in their own special spot, look for pet beds that coordinate with your decor. You can find lifted cots as well as large, plush beds specially made for the outdoors. If you want to invite your pooch to rest on furniture with you, consider a curved sectional with plush cushions that support both you and your furry friend.

    Curved sectionals ensure pets are the center of attention.

    Keep it Covered

    If your dog has free access to your deck or patio, outdoor furniture covers can help keep muddy paws and fur off your couches, chaise lounges and chairs. Plus, covers for grills or fire pits can also prevent your pet from messing with your cooking and outdoor heating equipment.

    Distraction-Free Dining

    Bar sets and counter-height tables lift tempting table scraps out of reach, and tall bistro sets are perfect for smaller dog-friendly balconies. If your pup prefers treats and kibble over people food, opt for standard round dining sets to keep pets from bumping into corners.

    Choosing Patio Pet Furniture

    Tips & Considerations for Furniture Selection

    When shopping for pet-friendly furniture, look for items with tough materials that have a better chance of standing up to your pet's energy levels and habits. You should also check the fabric cleaning codes to ensure that the upholstery has simple cleaning instructions. Other considerations to make when decorating your pet-friendly patio are as follows:

    Move Decor Away from the Floor

    To prevent accidents from boisterous tail wags or play sessions, keep pet area decor high on the wall and out of your dog or cat's jumping range. Closed shelving is an excellent place to store opened bags of dog food or cleaning products away from a curious pet. Hanging wall units provide a place to store leashes and treats out of reach as well.

    Consider Their Needs

    Just like people, dogs and cats need stimulation to avoid boredom. Include opportunities for climbing and lounging as well as open spaces to stay active. In a room with a window, arranging furniture to create a perch can provide hours of viewing enjoyment for your pup or kitten.

    Keep the Color Scheme Practical

    Any pet owner knows there's no stopping hair from getting everywhere your animal goes. A trick to make shedding less noticeable on furniture and floors is choosing colors that coordinate with your pet's coloring. A chocolate lab's coat will blend with a brown couch, and a burnt orange rug conceals a tabby's fur.

    Provide Storage for Toys

    Like a kid's play area, a pet-friendly room needs plenty of storage to keep toys from taking over the space. Decorative bins and baskets organize and declutter in a way that's also fun and fashionable. Some specific pet furniture has compartments inside to tuck toys and grooming supplies out of sight, as well.

    How to Find the Pieces They’ll Love

    Sharing your deck or porch with your pets is a great way to bond and play with your canine or feline companions. You can easily create a pet-friendly patio furniture plan for your balcony or backyard by putting pet essentials first and choosing your materials and layout wisely. As you design a cat or dog room outside, keep in mind it is as much their space as it is yours.

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