Doghouse Designs

Create a retreat for family pets that’s both stylish and safe.
Rebecca Bull Reed

The sound of paws has filled John and Leigh Anne Montgomery’s home since they were married, but when they found out two new little feet would be joining the family, the couple knew it was time for an addition. “Not for us—for our dogs,” says Leigh Anne. “We needed an outdoor space that was safe, cool, clean, and convenient.”

Working with garden designer Jason Somerville, they created a pet-friendly space where an old dog run once stood. “The location was good, but the low-lying area was a mosquito haven,” says Jason. Drainage and a leveled grade help with the bug problem.

To keep mud from being tracked into the house, they dressed the run with gravel. “An angular stone won’t move around like a round one and is gentler on a dog’s pads because it locks smooth,” says Jason.

Because the dog run is visible from both the front yard and backyard, “it had to be attractive,” says Leigh Anne. The fences look great and cost less than $5 per linear foot. Metal panels in 4- x 16-foot lengths purchased from a farm-supply store were sandwiched between pine posts and lumber.

Most of the plants are outside the fence. “Exceptions include cast-iron plants, which are tougher than nails, and showy foliage plants, like cannas and coleus, displayed in tall containers out of the pets’ reach,” says Jason. In a sweeping bed outside the run, ‘Ogon’ sweet flags, Japanese maples, ‘Morning Light’ miscanthus, and more cast-iron plants soften the fence.

Learn more about the pine in this project at spanpine.com. Visit monrovia.com and mccorklenurseries.com for details on the tough plants used here.