Create a Dog Friendly Garden

Landscaping a yard and garden area that meets the needs of both you and your dog takes some special planning. You don’t need to give up having a beautiful and pleasant garden and yard just because you own a dog, or two. Careful planning along with some mutual acceptance of the needs of your animal can create a dog friendly garden for both you and your family.

Work with their instincts

Dog in GardenMost all dogs need a space to run and play in. Think about your particular breed and their needs as well as their size. Canines by nature are defenders of their territory. That means most breeds will patrol the fence barriers. So create a dog run or pathway near one or more of your fences or other barriers. You can use grass or mulch or other soft hardscape for the ground. Leave about 3 feet of width, and then give that area a natural border using ornamental grasses, sturdy shrubs or wood along the border.

If your dog is prone to digging or jumping over your fence, you’ll need to protect that barrier. If they like to jump, make sure it is high enough or place larger plants in front of lower fence areas to prevent their access. Conversely if you have a digger, you may need to dig down a bit on your own to extend your fence into the ground. Remember that whatever barrier you use is still safe and won’t harm their paws.

Designated relief spots

You can train your dog to relieve herself in a certain spot in your yard that is away from human areas. Pick a corner away from your patio or other high-traffic zone. Usually your dog can be trained to use a certain spot within a month or so. If you have a puppy, begin training them to that spot right from the beginning.

Protect both your plants and your dog

There are lots of ways to still have a great variety of plants in your yard. While it’s true that most dogs like to run in and through your garden, how you arrange things can make a big difference. Put more delicate flowers in the center of your plant areas and use raised beds. Or use your vertical space and create hanging areas from the wall or baskets to enjoy them. You can also try planters of all types and styles. Your dog will naturally run past or around containers just like any other barrier, ignoring what’s in it.

Be sure you don’t have any poisonous plants in your yard. Your local garden center should be able to provide you a list. Likewise, making a dedicated effort to grow organic without the use of pesticides is the best decision. Even the smallest amounts of some chemicals can harm your pet. Lastly, avoid spikey or thorny plants as they could injure your pet.

Water and shade

Lastly, be sure your pets have access to safe water sources. Fill a non-toxic outdoor water bowl regularly. If you have water features, be sure your pets can safely get in and out of them on their own. Also be sure that any fountains or birdbaths are protected. You don’t want something your dog can knock over. So place them in protected areas with other vegetation around them.

Just like us, sometimes our dogs like to just lay in the sun when the temperatures are mild. But be sure they have plenty of shady spots to hang out in too, for when the summer gets hot. Also remember to check your surfaces for heat, as you don’t want hot cement or brick that can get so warm it will harm their paws in summer.

With these tips we’re sure you’ll be able to create a dog-friendly situation that everyone can enjoy. Posted by Jean Widner of the Garden-Fountains.com team.