How to Build a Chic, Shaded Dog Run

Your dog is special, so why shouldn't she have a little oasis of her own in your backyard?

Photo By: Flynnside Out Productions

Photo By: Flynnside Out Productions

Photo By: Flynnside Out Productions

Photo By: Flynnside Out Productions

Photo By: Flynnside Out Productions

Photo By: Flynnside Out Productions

Photo By: Flynnside Out Productions

Photo By: Flynnside Out Productions

Photo By: Flynnside Out Productions

Photo By: Flynnside Out Productions

Photo By: Flynnside Out Productions

Photo By: Flynnside Out Productions

The BEST Backyard EVER

Here's what you need to know to create the ultimate dog run, complete with stylish dog digs and tinkle-proof artificial turf.

Keep It Shady

A very important factor to consider when planning the location of a dog run is whether or not the trees or building nearby will provide enough shade throughout the day. If not, plan on incorporating a sunshade into your dog run design.

Location, Location, Location

Choose an area that's accessible from the house and will be easy to fence. Keeping it close to a back or side door will ensure easy access for you and your furbaby will enjoy it more frequently. When scoping out a location, avoid steep, rocky slopes or areas with lots of surface roots, which can be a major headache when it's time to dig deep holes for fence posts.

Long-Wearing Materials

As you buy materials for your fence and dog run, try to purchase the best within your budget, like pressure-treated wood and galvanized hardware that won't easily rust. You should also consider painting or staining the wood to protect it from moisture, pests and UV rays.

Dog-Friendly Design

It may seem fairly obvious, but as you design your fence, make sure the gaps between the boards aren't too wide. You'll want the fence to not only contain your pet but keep unwanted critters out, too.

No Escape

Of course, you'll want the fence to be functional and stylish, but also make sure it's built high enough that even the boldest escape artist won't be able to easily hop over. Spending a bit more on materials is definitely worth the peace of mind you'll get knowing your dog isn't roaming the neighborhood unsupervised.

Gated Community

A well-designed gate that's not only secure but easy for humans to open and close is essential. Always install the gate latch on the outside of the run so your super-smart dog won't politely let themselves out whenever they please.

On Their Turf

If your dog run is fully shaded, then you probably won't be able to grow grass. (And we all know that dirt and dogs can be a recipe for disaster.) This is even more reason to consider having a pro install a pet-friendly artificial turf. It looks fantastically lush year-round, and you can hose it off when your dog goes to the bathroom.

Steal This Turf Tip

If you want to install turf on your own, do your homework. First, you'll need to remove all the weeds before you start excavating. And depending on the turf you use, you'll need to remove a few inches of topsoil and spread out a level base material (see manufacturer guide) so water will drain properly. It's also important you grade the area with a three-percent slope (two-foot drop per 100 feet) away from your house so water doesn't pool up on the turf.

Toys for Days

To keep your pup mentally stimulated and entertained, place a few waterproof toys in the run. It's best to have "outdoor" toys that stay outside 24-7. Tough rubber and plastic toys are easy to soak and rinse off when you're doing a periodic deep clean.

Stylish Shelter

Providing some type of shelter is also a key design feature. A doghouse gives your pet a cozy den and plays to their natural instincts to stay cool and comfortable. Bonus points: Make one that looks like your own home. See how to build a doghouse from upcycled materials, here.

Easy H2O Access

Always ensure there's plenty of fresh water for your pets while they're playing outside. Also, keep a garden hose nearby for easy water refills and frequent rinse-offs.