Outdoor Space for Pets

Dogs Outdoors

The other day, I was over at my friend’s house. She was busy spraying off her upper deck with a hose. It was an attempt to get rid of the pee and poop her dog left behind over the winter. And, I’ve been where she is. In fact, for years I was doing this. See, in the houses we live in, we have a deck that is the size of a two-car garage. Our decks sit over the garage, so that’s why it’s that size.  And every year, I would have to spring-clean it.  This last year though, I made an outdoor space for pets.

Dog Door
Amazon Large Dog Door $139


What does mean? An outdoor space for pets? So, in Alaska, we get a ton of snow! And I mean, a ton! At the start of this last winter, my dogs were doing what they always do, run out on the deck to do their thing. First off, I have an un-fenced back yard. Second, the metal door likes to freeze and not open during the winter. So, in order to let my dogs out, I have a dog door on my deck.

Why Have a Dog Door?

Not everyone with dogs has a doggie door. But when you live in a cold place like here, you need one. If your dog likes to wake you up at 2am to go out, do you really want to go out in -20 degree F weather? Uh, no! That sounds like a kill joy to me. Let me stand here in the freezing temps and wait for them to do their business. Meanwhile, by the time they’re done, I’m wide awake! No sleep for you, Katrina!

So, I bought a dog door last year that was only $200 from Home Depot. Best $200 I’ve ever spent.  I did find it for less on Amazon though!  Same size as mine, and adjustable to fit most sliding door areas.

However, every year, my dogs go on the deck. In the summer, I don’t care so much. I go out and clean it up every day. No biggie. In the winter though, when it’s snowing big, fat, snow flakes, you don’t want to stand out there. Waiting, waiting, waiting. Not only that, the poop gets covered quickly with snow. Good luck finding that! Sure, you can shovel it over the deck. But your neighbors won’t like you very much. Brown and yellow snow going over the side. Yuck.

So, I was tired of this. Every single year. For the last 10 years.

The Start of an Outdoor Space for Pets.

If you have a deck, it’s easy to make it pet friendly. No, I’m not talking about a garden space. Your dog doesn’t really care about your veggie garden, or the overall Fung Shui of your space. Unless you’re feeding them the veggies of course. No, I’m talking about having an area for them to go on. You know, do their business!

Last year, at the start of the season, I already was shoveling yellow snow from my deck. I’d love to say that I had planned accordingly, but no, I didn’t. One day, I’m standing at the sliding glass door and I see paw prints all over. Under these paw prints, was bright yellow snow. Ew. I realized, that it wasn’t cold enough yet to freeze the pee. Nope. My dogs were stepping in their pee and then coming inside. Now, this grosses me out! Pee all over the floor! After mopping, cleaning and paw wiping just 2 times, I had enough.

An Outdoor Space for Pets.

Dog Pen
Dog Pen on Amazon on Sale $41.62

After having enough, I opened up the dog pen I had bought for Atlas for when she has pups. I decided that I was going to enclose the space this time so they couldn’t go all over the deck. If my deck was small, and easy to clean, sure. But no. My deck is like 25 feet by 25 feet. Shoveling that every single day for 7 months? I’m good. Most people up here aren’t going to do that either. Trust me. I have a lot of neighbors that don’t do this. Plus, it snows almost every day. You don’t spring-clean your house every day, you’re not going to shovel every day. I’m talking, shoveling your 30 foot driveway AND your huge deck.

Dog Grass
       Fake Grass Amazon $53.99

So, I put the dog pen up. I made an enclosure that was roughly 6 feet by 3 feet.   You can change the shape however you see fit.  You can stretch it out so it’s long like mine.  I just bungee it to the sides of my door.  So, it goes from the dog door around the grass pad I have for them. I had ordered these grass pads from Amazon last year since I was tired of them going on the deck itself. So, now they have 2 sets of fake grass to go on. Mainly because they come with 9 squares. Odd. I wanted 18.  I will say, I thought about just getting the grass rug.  However, these pads allow for the pee to run under them.  Not build up on the rug like the others.  So, it’s more expensive, but it’s worth it if you want it to drain like I did.

I did end up shoveling the deck to get rid of this nasty snow. Pushing it all into the driveway, so I didn’t make my neighbor mad, or grossed out, of course. Then, I made my hubby bring home the plow truck and take care of that mess. Now, a fresh start.

The Outdoor Space for Pets is so Much Better!

After I put this together for my dogs, now it’s easy to clean up! Last winter, every day, I went out and picked up poop. I know, I know, gross. But, you know what, dogs have to go somewhere, too! Regardless if they go in your back yard, or where ever they go, we all have to clean it. All of my friends are dog lovers. Now, with Spring here, every single one of them is talking about needing dog poop cleaners.

But guess what? Mine, is all done! I didn’t need to do the usual spring-clean up like I always do. Every year, I was my friend down the way. Spraying my deck. Taking dish soap and spreading it around. Then, taking a push broom and scrubbing away the rest of the stink. Nope, now my friends are all going through this. But me? It’s been done for over a week.

And, even with a back yard, I see posts on FB asking about pooper scoopers. Any person with a dog is going through this in Alaska. I would still have this pen set up in my back yard for my dogs, even if they went on the grass. Regardless of having a pooper scooper come in to clean it up, this would allow them to easily clean the area. It’s also partially covered, so the poop doesn’t get covered with snow. It is amazing that cleanup was a 10-minute job for me. Usually, it takes days.

Final Words on an Outdoor Space for Pets.

Hopefully, you can see the value in this outdoor space for pets. It makes clean up so much better in the winter. If you live in a temped climate that stays the same, then no need honestly. Unless you want your dogs to go less on your grassy back yard area. I suppose I would still have this set up so that my kids don’t have to worry about stepping in poop.

As you can see, there are so many reasons to have a space set up for your dogs. Honestly, life was so much easier this last winter. I finally didn’t have to stress about the Spring clean up for once. And, all my friends are still doing it the old way. If you have a dog, get this setup. If it’s in your backyard with grass, skip the grass. But the pen? Totally worth it!

How about you? What do you have set up for your dogs? How do you keep your sanity during clean up time? What do you think of this set up?

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10 thoughts on “Outdoor Space for Pets

  1. I don’t have a dog, as I am the owner of a sweetheart cat, I call Cuddles. To be honest, when I think of dogs, I also see the volume of work to clean up. I understand your previous pain, but your solution is excellent and makes a lot of sense.

    I am sure that the dogs also welcome their very own “restroom” too. An outdoor space to do your “thing” should be a treat for any of our furry friends.

    Out of curiosity, what happens when they go on this fake grass? How do you treat with that matter?

    1. Josephine,

      Good question, I actually just spray it off with a water hose. Because it has holes through the bottom and they don’t actually sit on the deck itself, the pee washes away really easily. I actually plan on building almost a raised bed, like for a garden, but smaller, lining it with plastic and having an aerator underneath. Then, I’ll simply fill with some cheap dirt so that the pee naturally will wash away and drain. This will alleviate even having to clean it with water. The rain we get will also help wash it away.

      The fake grass works wonders, and I’m so glad I bought it last year. It’s been a breeze to clean up, I will say!

      Thanks for stopping by!


  2. Hi Katrina,

    This is a fantastic idea! I just moved from the Midwest where we also got a decent amount of snow. I will have to pass this on to my friends with pups that still live there!

    I have a cat that loves to be outside, but I don’t love for him to be outside haha! I wonder if I could create something like this for him to be out there where I don’t have to monitor him the entire time.

    I’ll check it out! The price on the faux grass is really great as well!

    1. Haley,

      Yes, you can create a space for your cats actually. It’s a cat enclosure that’s completely fenced in, from top to bottom. I’ve been thinking of writing an article on what the entails for my cat lovers as well. It’s not just about dogs on this site, I also have cat lovers as well. I’ll let you know when I post it so you can see that one!



  3. That is so interesting, Katrina! I see the value of such an outdoor space for colder climates. We never think about this because winter is most time mild, but we had freezing temperatures and snow this year. However, in the Netherlands, people walk their dogs because they don’t get it too cold. My neighbor never walks her dog, and in summer as winter, she let him do his business in her garden. But this is not usual here.
    Green spaces in the Netherlands are covered with dog poop, and even in summer, you can’t walk barefoot in the grass. I think it is such a nasty behavior not to clean up where the dog has done its business.
    For you in Alaska, it is entirely different. I wouldn’t walk my dog in such low temperatures. I can’t even imagine such a cold. This outdoor space is very attractive in colder countries. Great you have found it, so you have no problems anymore, cleaning the whole deck. 🙂

    1. Sylvia,

      I don’t understand why people don’t clean up after their dogs either! When I’m walking to my friends house just down the street, I don’t always think to take baggies with me for the dogs. But the other day, walking home (3 houses away mind you), my Muse decided she had to take a poop. I walked her to the house, grabbed a bag and went back to pick up her mess. No way would I leave that in my neighbors yard or on the sidewalk even. I can’t imagine not being able to walk on any grass because of the dog poop problem. Maybe they all think of it as fertilizer?

      Thanks for stopping by and checking this one out!


  4. I’ve never been to Alaska but WOW -20 degrees in the morning? No thanks for me too. Hahaha.

    It’s a smart move to partition your outdoor space for your pets and honestly a win-win situation! You save on cleaning time and efforts and your dog gets to be outside.

    And I like the fact you can adjust the size of your pen, so at least its not restricting to movements of your dogs when they just want to laze around inside.

    Superb idea shared here!


    1. Thanks Sam! Before I took this picture, it was actually much larger and more open. Since the deck is no longer covered with snow, I let them roam the whole thing so they can lay on the couch out there. Atlas loves the sun, and I noticed that she was laying on the grass when it was nice out. I didn’t want her to have to lay where she does her business, so I just simply pulled it away from the wall, and she went right to the couch. So, I’ll keep it closed off in the winter, just so the stuff doesn’t get buried before I get to it. Open in the summer. 🙂 As long as my doggos are happy and healthy, I’m happy!

      Thanks for reading!


  5. I have been thinking of getting a dog and this information came at the right time where I needed to see where I could put my dog so I do not stress about things like entertainment and the dogs pooping around where there are kids.
    Do you think the doggie door could still be applicable in warm weather. I know you said it is more like for cold temperature places where it freezes.

    1. Thabo,

      The dog door is perfect in any weather actually. It doesn’t have a screen mind you, but in the cold months up here, I adjust it to butt up against the sliding door, and in the summer, I transition it to the edge, so it butts up against the screen door. It actually is the best dog door out there. And, it saves you having to take a dog out all day long, especially as they age and can’t hold it as well. My older dog used it constantly throughout the day, and I found that life was just easier not having to take the dogs out several times a day. It’s especially nice when you leave the house, knowing you won’t come home to a mess because they can go in and out as they please! I haven’t had a mess in my house in a very long time, and I thank it on the space I created for them.

      Hopefully, you’re able to get one set up for the dog you plan on getting. It’s definitely a life saver!

      Thanks for stopping by!


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