How Can I Keep My Backyard Clean and Smelling Fresh?


I know that it’s summertime at my house: the sun is shining, the days are long, and I’m frequently refilling pet water bowls because it’s hot outside! Being a dog-sitter, this is my busy season. People are going on vacation and they want their dogs to stay at my safe and fun home while they are away. With so many dogs in and out of my house, I’m spending much of my time this summer keeping my backyard clean and poop-free!

For those of us who have multiple pets, keeping our yard clean can be a big issue, especially in the heat of summer. Hot poop starts to smell quickly and attracts lots of flies. No one wants a stinky or fly-infested yard, so I thought I’d pass along the tips and techniques I use to keep my yard clean.

Scoop Every Day

Keeping my yard poop-free each and every day is super important. I use a small plastic bathroom-sized trash can lined with a plastic grocery bag and a Flexrake Jumbo Jaws Scoop to keep poop out of my yard. I scoop once or twice a day depending on how many dogs are at my house. I prefer to scoop after doggy breakfast and dinner, right after everyone has gone outside to do their business.

Scooping the poop right away every day has a couple of benefits. First, flies don’t have a chance to land on the poop and lay eggs. And second, dogs like to run around and play with each other right after they poop, and I don’t want them to step in the fresh pile they just dropped!

After scooping the yard, I end up with a bag full of poop. It is then important to double-bag this poop before putting it in my big outside garbage can. I love using my Flexrake Jumbo Jaws Scoop because I get to keep my hands clean and far away from all of the poop. I simply rinse out my garbage can and rinse off my Flexrake with the backyard hose after I scoop, and then clean them with bleach every few weeks.

Perfume for My Yard

yard odor eliminator

About once a week, after I scoop my yard, I also like to give it an extra fresh smell. NaturVet Yard Odor Eliminator spray is awesome. It has a nice scent, not a really strong or chemically smell. I simply hook-up the bottle with the clean-smelling concentrated solution directly to my water hose, and then the water mixes with the concentrated solution while I spray it over my entire yard, even on my fences and lawn furniture. It also works on gravel and concrete! It’s fast, easy and not messy in the least. My yard smells nice afterward…not like I’m trying to cover up a bad smell, but just fresh. I think it’s a great product!

Trap Those Pesky Flies

>No matter how quickly I scoop my yard, there are flies around. This may be a bigger issue for some people than for others. If you have a big yard and your dog poops by the back fence, you may not have a big fly issue. If you only have one dog, you may not have a fly issue. Certain pet foods (therefore certain poop) may attract flies more than other foods.

fly trap

My backyard is on the smaller side, and I have lots of dogs eating lots of different foods coming and going all of the time. My big garbage can fills with bags of poop over the course of the week. There’s no way to prevent flies from coming to my house. But what I can do is trap them once they get here to keep them from crawling on the rim of my beer or bothering my husband (and our food) when he’s cooking out!

My wonderful husband is responsible for fly-trapping at my house. It’s pretty easy (and a little gross). We found some amazing fly traps, called Rescue Fly Trap. They have a powder inside, that when mixed with water, flies love. He simply fills the bag with some water to mix with the powder, and then hangs the bag near our garbage can. Flies flock to it, crawl down inside the bag to get to the solution, and then they cannot get back out. They are trapped and then they die without laying any more eggs in my yard and without pestering us anymore. When the bag is full, my husband cuts it down into a plastic bag, then double-bags it, and it goes in the trash can to await garbage pick-up. Then a new trap is hung. I have never found a more effective solution for ridding an area of flies.

Ever Tried Lime?

I haven’t personally used lime for pet odors, but I have been looking into it as an option. The first thing we should know is that there are two common kinds of lime. One is dangerous for pets and people and can cause burns. The other is safe.

DANGEROUS LIME: Hydrated Lime, also known as “burn lime”, “quicklime”, and “calcium oxide”

SAFE LIME: Agricultural Lime, also known as “aglime”, “biolime”, “dolomite”, “garden lime”, and “calcium carbonate”

Agricultural Lime is a soil additive and is made from pulverized limestone or chalk. The active ingredient is calcium carbonate (which I do use for my homemade dishwasher powder). We can sprinkle Agricultural Lime pellets wherever we are having an issue with pet odor, even in our flower beds, and then spray with water to wash it into the ground. Agricultural Lime helps with pet odors by creating a dry, arid and alkaline environment in which bacteria has trouble surviving and reproducing. It can also be an insect repellant!

It can be a bit of a chore to keep my yard clean, but I think it’s much worse to not enjoy my backyard in the summer because of flies and pet odor. Doing just a few minutes of work every day makes the whole summer better, in my opinion!

What have you used to keep your yard clean? Any tips or tricks to share? Let us know in the comment section below.

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  • Jessie Isbell
Comments 6
  • Kimberly

    Thanks for this post-great ideas!

  • Larry

    After more than 30 years, we have our first indoor puppy. This is very good information! Thanks for sharing!

  • Melanie Bingham
    Melanie Bingham

    Thank you for writing this article!! Have you tried the Simple Green odor eliminator? I’m just wondering how Yard Odor compares. I have a German Shepherd and a small chihuahua, I pick up poo ever other day but I feel like it’s still stinky. I live in Southern California so I have a lot of clay for dirt. I made my dog run with DG and pea gravel. I’ve tried the Agri Lime, Simple Green, vinegar/baking soda solution, and nothing seems work. I want to try other products if you can recommend something and I’m also thinking about taking out the DG and pea gravel, then replacing it with other materials for a dog run? Would you have any recommendation? Concrete, mulch, activated carbon? Thanks

  • Silvina

    Good info, thanks. I have a small yard but I’m surrounded by dogs and know the neighbors don’t poops coop. I’ll give the deodorizer and fly traps a try.

  • Sayte Mccomb
    Sayte Mccomb

    THank you for this info, it is quite timely for us. Never have had a large dog, having a large and small dog, I feel like I am working at the Zoo with elephant poop.

  • Ramona

    The is a great post, Jessie. Thank you. I’ve used that spray deodorizer before and it’s like magic. I just bought another bottle at Hollywood Feed last week. It’s time to spray again!

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