Thursday, May 19, 2011

Creating a dog friendly garden

Co-exising with your dog in the garden isn’t as hard as you think! A dog friendly garden doesn’t have to mean fortress-like fences or dug-up lawns. A dog friendly garden can be a way that simply transforms your garden to better integrate your pet’s needs and serve an aesthetic and functional purpose. So if you’re considering buying a dog or just want to make your backyard a bit more pet friendly here are some tips!

When it comes to creating a dog friendly garden we have to consider responsible pet ownership.


Safe and sound
Our pets are curious creatures and especially in their younger years, they will pretty much put anything and everything in their mouths. My dog loves nothing more than having a good sniff around the garden. However, there are a number of plants that are not dog and cat friendly, and so are best to avoid in your landscaping design plans. These include:
  • Amaryllis

  • Cycad palms

  • Datura

  • Oleander

  • Azalea/Rhodedendron

  • Aloe vera

  • Daffodil

  • Milkweed

  • Tulips

This is by no means a comprehensive list so research to find what other plants are toxic to our furry friends. Plants that are sturdy enough to withstand the wear and tear of our pets are also a wise option.

Our pets also need protection from the elements. Even if your pet is an indoor animal, chances are they love to still spend time outdoors lazing in the sun or rolling in the grass. When considering landscape design, ensure your pet has sufficient shade – whether it be in the form of lots of trees, a dog house or covered porch.

You will need to ensure your fencing is also up to scratch. This will protect against other animals and will also keep your pet from getting up to mischief. You will have to consider the size of your dog here. A Jack Russell might be able to slip through a loose panel in the fence. A Labrador might just jump over it.

Fun and fitness
Our pets love plenty of space to explore. Lots of dogs love a high vantage spot where they can sit and see what exactly is going on. If you have a feline friend, make your garden more cat friendly by adding scratching posts which will also keep your trees from being damaged. Creating a running track with a gravel or mulch surface is also a good idea which will allow your pooch to run wild without tearing up your precious grass.

Protecting your garden
In general, you might also decide to include gentle hardscape to avoid having your dog tearing up the grass and also to make it more comfortable for them to walk about. Creating a small border using driftwood or bricks around flower beds and any other prized areas in the garden can help deter pets from roaming into these spaces.

There are so many different dog and cat friendly ideas you can integrate in your garden. Be creative! Pets are curious creatures and will love anything that keeps their minds active and offers room to explore!

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