By Kris Kiser, President & CEO of the Outdoor Power Equipment Institute (OPEI) and the TurfMutt Foundation
Experts agree that having and spending time in green space (i.e. being an “outsider”) has been scientifically proven to reduce stress, improve memory, boost heart health, and offer a host of other benefits for our minds and bodies. But now a new trend is getting people desiring more green space – pet ownership.
Pet ownership – and treating the pet like a favored member of the family – is a megatrend that does not seem to be going anywhere anytime soon, as this data proves:
56% of the U.S. population has a dog, according to the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) Pet Ownership and Demographics Sourcebook.
A third of the millennial generation say having a dog is their primary motivation for buying a home, according to this SunTrust Mortgage study.
Three-fourths of home buyers would pass up on their “dream home” if it wasn’t right for their pet indicated a Realtor.com survey. And, pet owners from that same survey said a large yard (45%) and any outdoor space (36%) were the most important home features.
Savvy Bay State Realtors® can capitalize on the pet trend to support sales. Here are some tips for selling the backyard when pets are in the picture.
Focus on grass:
Grass is one of the best ground coverings around because it can handle the wear and tear that comes with pets. Bermuda and buffalo grass are especially hardy varieties. But remember to install a grass species that is right for your climate zone. Not only is this environmentally friendly, but it helps save with water usage as well.
Sell the shade:
Dogs need a place to relax away from the sun after a day of play. A tree or bush can provide the perfect respite for Fido and his humans.
Address activity areas:
It’s a good idea for pet parents to train their dogs to do their business in a certain area of the yard. Sturdy, yet soft foliage can create a natural barricade between that space and the rest of the lawn. Also, keep in mind that shrubs make a pretty – and effective – barrier for vegetable gardens.
Point out pet potential:
Not every yard is set up to pamper a pet, but point out the potential to create a pet paradise. Is there room to build a pergola for additional shade? Could a fence easily be installed? Maybe there’s a perfect spot for a shallow water feature that could help hot pets cool off during the dog days of summer. A canine obstacle course can provide hours of fun if the space is available to install one.
Look for hazards:
Pets do not know the difference between plants that are okay for them and those that are not. A few common toxic plants for dogs are: carnations, chrysanthemums, daffodils, hostas, ivy, lilies, morning glories, tomatoes, and tulips. For a complete list, visit ASPCA's list of nontoxic and toxic plants here.
To learn more about the benefits of the family yard for pets, people and the planet, go to TurfMutt.com.