For many households, pets are members of the family just as much as anyone else. If your fur baby loves to play outside, you may have considered ways that you can make them more comfortable and safe in the backyard.Your creation should reflect your pet’s individual needs and preferences, but to get you started here are some ideas and tips for how to keep pets enjoying your outdoor space and coming back for more all year ’round.

More of a good thing. Pay attention to what your dog loves to do in the backyard already. Does she love to run? Is he most interested in basking in the sun or under a tree? Observing what your dog does already can help you to plan out spaces for them to do more of it throughout the back yard. It can also help you to plan where more people-friendly areas, like patio sets, should go.

Water for life. A water feature can add coolness and peacefulness to your back yard. If you plan well, it can also be a treat for your pet. If your water feature is at pup-level, make sure it has proper filtration and movement to make it a safe place for your dog to quench her thirst.

Shady scene. In the Florida sun, it’s easy for anyone to get overheated. Short hair dogs are also susceptible to sunburn! If there aren’t many or any places for shade in your backyard, consider adding a doghouse or planting shade trees — which the whole family can enjoy.

Plant smarts. Your dog may not be as gentle on plants as you are. If you’re considering new grass, go for heartier varieties that can stand up to paw and foot traffic, such as Kentucky bluegrass, buffalo grass, or tall fescue. You may also consider adding some eatable plants and herbs (rosemary, lavender, and mint also repel fleas!)

Be sure to avoid plants that dogs may eat and fall sick from, such as iris, foxglove, lily of the valley, and monkshood. Some vegetables are also harmful to dogs, including garlic, mushrooms, and tomatoes.

Fenced-in for safety. The #1 way to keep your dog happy and safe is to make sure he won’t go wandering or bounding-off and get into danger. Invisible electric fences work for some dogs, but if a dog is very excited (such as if she wants to chase a squirrel) or stubborn (you know who you are), the discomfort of a shock isn’t always enough to stop them from running into the road. Your best bet is a tall fence that will keep your pet safely inside and enjoying his paradise.