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Catio Decorating Ideas for Every Style and Budget

A catio, also known as a cat patio or cat enclosure, is a structure that provides outdoor space for cats to enjoy while keeping them safe from predators. Not only do catios give cats the opportunity to experience the sights, sounds, and smells of the outdoors, they also provide mental and physical stimulation, helping to keep cats healthy and happy. In fact, the benefits of a catio for indoor cats are numerous. To learn more about the benefits of a catio for indoor cats, check out this blog post: When it comes to catio decorating ideas, there are endless options for every style and budget. In this post, we’ll explore some creative and practical ideas for landscaping your catio and creating the perfect outdoor space for your feline friend.

Rustic and natural

Using native plants and natural materials

Rustic and natural catio decorating ideas is all about using plants and materials that are native to your area and look like they belong in the natural environment. Native plants are generally easier to care for and more resistant to pests and diseases, making them a great choice for a catio. In addition to plants, you can also incorporate natural materials like wood chips, bark, and rocks to create a sense of authenticity and harmony with the surrounding landscape. Here are a few tips for creating a rustic and natural catio landscape:

pressure treated catio livermore california

Choosing drought-resistant plants

Native plants are typically adapted to the climate and soil conditions of your region, so they are more likely to thrive with minimal watering. To save on water and maintenance, choose native plants that are drought-resistant or low-water. Succulents, cacti, and other xeriscape plants are good options for a low-water catio garden.

Using wood chips or bark as mulch

Mulch helps to keep the soil moist and cool, suppress weeds, and add a decorative touch to your catio landscape. Instead of using synthetic mulches, opt for natural materials like wood chips or bark that are biodegradable and safe for cats. Wood chips or bark also give a rustic and natural look to your catio.

Adding natural elements like rocks and logs

In addition to plants and mulch, you can also incorporate other natural elements like rocks and logs to create a more immersive and varied landscape. Rocks can be used to create a rock garden or streambed, while logs can be placed horizontally to create a perch or vertically to create a scratching post. Just be sure to choose safe and non-toxic materials that won’t harm your cat if ingested.

Creating a rock garden or stream-bed

A rock garden or stream-bed is a fun and creative way to add interest and movement to your catio landscape. A rock garden can be as simple as a few rocks arranged in a pleasing pattern, or as elaborate as a miniature mountain range with different types of rocks and plants. A stream-bed is similar, but it involves adding water and possibly plants to create a flowing water feature. Here are some tips for designing a rock garden or stream-bed in your catio:

Designing the layout and flow

When designing your rock garden or streambed, consider the size and shape of your catio and the overall theme you want to achieve. Sketch out a rough plan and play around with different arrangements until you find a layout that you like. For a streambed, think about how the water will flow and where you will place plants, rocks, and other elements. 

Selecting and placing rocks and other materials

When selecting rocks for your rock garden or streambed, choose a variety of shapes, sizes, and colors to create interest and depth. Avoid using rocks that are too large or sharp, as they could be a hazard for your cat. For a streambed, you may also need to purchase a water pump, liner, and other materials to create the flow and circulation.

Adding plants and accessories

Plants can add beauty, texture, and function to your rock garden or streambed. Choose plants that are compatible with your climate and soil conditions, and that will tolerate the conditions of a rock garden or streambed. In a streambed, you can use plants that like moist soil or that are adapted to water environments. You can also add other accessories like figurines, crystals, or shells to create a more personalized and whimsical touch.

Modern and sleek

Using sleek and modern materials

Catio decorating ideas for modern and sleek enclosures is all about using materials and design elements that are clean, simple, and contemporary. This style is perfect for cat owners who prefer a minimalist and chic aesthetic. Some ideas for incorporating modern materials into your catio landscape include:

cat cat topia cat enclosure catio decorating ideas

Choosing smooth and polished surfaces

Smooth and polished surfaces like concrete, pavers, and tiles can give a sleek and modern look to your catio. These materials are also easy to clean and maintain, and they provide a safe and comfortable surface for your cat to walk on. You can use these materials to create a patio area, a walkway, or a feature wall in your catio.
Incorporating metal and glass elements

Metal and glass are other materials that are often associated with modern design. You can use metal elements like steel, aluminum, or copper to create a sleek and sophisticated look in your catio. Glass can be used in various ways, such as for windows, walls, or dividers, to create a transparent and open feel. Just be sure to use tempered or safety glass to prevent accidents.

Using minimalist design techniques

Minimalism is a design philosophy that emphasizes simplicity, function, and clarity. To create a modern and sleek catio landscape, try to keep the design simple and uncluttered, and focus on the essentials. Use negative space, repetition, and symmetry to create visual balance and harmony. Avoid adding too many elements or using too many colors, as this can clutter up the space and distract from the overall look.

Whimsical and fun

Incorporating playful elements like tunnels and perches

A whimsical and fun catio landscape is all about adding elements that are interactive and stimulating for your cat. These catio decorating ideas include playful elements like tunnels, perches, and toys can provide mental and physical exercise for your cat, and they can also add a sense of fun and whimsy to your catio. Here are some ideas for incorporating playful elements into your catio landscape:

Choosing interactive toys and accessories

There are countless toy options for cats, from scratching posts and balls to laser pointers and feather wands. Choose toys that are appropriate for your cat’s age, size, and interests, and that are made of safe and non-toxic materials. You can also add interactive elements like bird feeders or birdbaths to attract wildlife and provide additional stimulation for your cat.

Designing a playground-style layout

Another way to add playfulness to your catio landscape is to create a playground-style layout with various structures and elements. This can include tunnels, perches, climbing trees, and other elements that your cat can explore and interact with. You can also add elements like a scratching post or pad, a litter box, and a water dish to create a functional and complete environment.

Adding fun and colorful touches

Adding fun and colorful touches to your catio landscape can make it feel more vibrant and lively. You can use colorful plants, flowers, and accessories to bring in pops of color and interest. Just be sure to choose non-toxic plants and materials that are safe for your cat. You can also use decorative elements like cushions, throw pillows, or rugs to add comfort and style to your catio.

silver bengal cat walking up cat ramp catio
inside custom catio
catio with planter boxes


Investing in professional design and installation

If you have a higher budget and want to create a truly exceptional catio landscape, hiring a professional designer or architect can be a great investment. A professional can help you design a custom catio that meets your specific needs and preferences, and can also help you choose materials and features that are of the highest quality. If you’re looking for inspiration for your own catio build with amazing catio decorating ideas, you can check out this blog post on some of the most impressive catio builds of 2022: Here are some tips for working with a professional to design and install your catio landscape:

boulder catio with custom deck

Working with a landscape designer or architect

A landscape designer or architect can help you create a cohesive and functional design for your catio landscape. They can take into account factors like the size and shape of your catio, the climate and soil conditions, and your personal style and preferences. They can also help you choose materials and features that are appropriate for your budget and needs.

Choosing top-quality materials and accessories

When designing a high-end catio landscape, you’ll want to choose materials and accessories that are of the highest quality and durability. This may mean investing in premium materials like stone, wood, or metal, or choosing high-end features like water features, lighting, or furniture. Just be sure to balance quality with practicality, and choose materials and features that are appropriate for your cat and your climate.

Hiring a professional installation team

To ensure that your catio landscape is installed properly and safely, it’s a good idea to hire a professional installation team. A professional team can handle tasks like grading, excavation, concrete work, and electrical work, and can also install complex features like water features and lighting. Just be sure to research and compare different teams to find one that is reputable, experienced, and insured.


custom small catio

Doing some of the work yourself

If you have a mid-range budget and want to save some money on your catio landscape, you can consider doing some of the work yourself. By taking on some of the tasks, you can save on labor costs and also get more involved in the design process. Here are some catio decorating ideas for doing some of the work yourself on your catio:

Designing the layout and features

One way to save money on your catio landscape is to design the layout and features yourself. You can use online resources, books, or magazines to get ideas and inspiration, and you can also visit home and garden stores to see materials and products in person. When designing your catio, consider factors like the size and shape of your space, the climate and soil conditions, and your cat’s needs and preferences.

Purchasing and installing some materials and accessories

Another way to save money on your catio landscape is to purchase and install some of the materials and accessories yourself. For example, you can purchase plants, mulch, and other materials from a garden center or online and install them yourself. Just be sure to research and follow proper installation techniques to ensure that your materials are installed safely and correctly.

Hiring a professional for more complex tasks

While doing some of the work yourself can save you money, there may be some tasks that are best left to a professional. For example, tasks like grading, excavation, concrete work, and electrical work may require specialized equipment and expertise, and it’s usually best to hire a professional to handle these tasks. You can also hire a professional for tasks like installing a water feature or building a custom structure, if you don’t have the skills or tools to do it yourself.


Repurposing materials and using DIY techniques

If you have a low budget for your catio landscape, you may need to get creative and use DIY techniques to save money. One way to do this is to repurpose materials that you already have or that you can find for free or cheap. For example, you can use old pallets, crates, or boxes to create a catio structure or a shelving unit, or you can use recycled materials like bottles, cans, or tires to create decorative elements or planters. Here are some tips for repurposing materials and using DIY techniques in your catio landscape:

Finding and using recycled materials

There are many resources for finding recycled materials that you can use in your catio landscape. You can visit thrift stores, garage sales, or flea markets to find items that you can repurpose, or you can check with local businesses or organizations to see if they have any materials that they are willing to donate. You can also visit websites like Craigslist or Freecycle to find materials that are being given away for free. Just be sure to check the condition and safety of the materials before using them in your catio.

catio build in Fresno California
Using simple and affordable materials

Even if you don’t have recycled materials to work with, you can still create a low-budget catio landscape using simple and affordable materials. For example, you can use gravel, wood chips, or sand as a ground cover instead of mulch, or you can use plastic or metal containers as planters instead of ceramic pots. You can also use recycled or repurposed materials like cardboard, paper, or fabric to create decorative elements or accessories.

Employing DIY techniques for tasks like building and painting

If you’re handy and have some basic tools and skills, you can save even more money on your catio landscape by doing tasks like building and painting yourself. For example, you can use basic carpentry techniques to build a simple structure like a perch or a shelf, or you can use paint or stain to give an old or dull item a new look. Just be sure to research and follow proper techniques to ensure that your DIY projects are safe and successful.


No matter what your style or budget, there are endless options for landscaping your catio and creating the perfect outdoor space for your feline friend. By using the ideas and tips in this post, you can design a catio landscape that is beautiful, functional, and safe for your cat. Whether you prefer a rustic and natural look, a modern and sleek style, a whimsical and fun design, a high-end finish, a mid-range approach, or a low-budget solution, there is a catio landscape solution for you. With a little creativity and effort, you can create an outdoor oasis that your cat will love and enjoy for years to come.

Final Tip

Creating a Safe and Secure Catio Landscape

Ensuring the catio is properly enclosed

One of the most important aspects of a catio landscape is ensuring that the catio itself is properly enclosed and secure. This is important not only to keep your cat safe from predators and other hazards but also to prevent your cat from escaping and getting lost. When designing or building your catio, make sure to use sturdy and durable materials that will hold up to the weather and wear and tear. Avoid using materials that are easily chewed or scratched, as these can provide an escape route for your cat.

Using a secure locking mechanism

In addition to using sturdy materials, it’s also important to use a secure locking mechanism to keep your catio closed and secure. There are many types of locks and latches that you can use, depending on the type of door or opening you have. Some options include deadbolts, slide bolts, padlocks, or keyed locks. Just be sure to choose a lock or latch that is appropriate for your catio and that is easy for you to use, but difficult for your cat to manipulate.

Checking for potential escape routes or hazards

Even with a sturdy and secure catio, it’s important to periodically check for potential escape routes or hazards that your cat might find. This includes checking for gaps or holes in the catio, checking for loose or broken materials, and inspecting any structures or features that your cat might use to climb or escape. If you find any potential escape routes or hazards, be sure to fix or remove them to prevent accidents or escapes.


By following these tips, you can create a safe and secure catio landscape that will provide your cat with a fun and enjoyable outdoor space to explore and relax in.