Make your garden a safe place for your best friend.
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You love your dog and you love your garden. Can you have both? Dogs love to play outside, so why not create a dog-friendly garden for your best friend? Your outdoor space can be shared with your dog, there’s no need to give up your garden dreams.
As a matter of fact, life is more enjoyable when you both have an outdoor space that meets your needs. Merge both areas together with a few tips on design and safety and you’ll both be ready to spend time outside together.
Create a Dog-Friendly Garden Design
If you have a dog then you already know dog habits. Dogs love to dig, patrol, explore, and run. Create your garden around these habits and you’ll have less issues later with the dog destroying your garden.
Digging: Encourage digging in an out of the way area of the garden or a patch of sand. A child’s small plastic pool or sandbox with buried toys would be an easy solution. Also, you could put up edging around your garden beds to deter digging.
Patrolling: Have you noticed a worn path where your dog runs the perimeter of your yard? He’s just running his safety protocol. Embrace the path! Don’t try to grow plants here and consider putting a ground cover that is step-able. This will be comfortable on tired paws.
Exploring: Leave some areas open for sniffing and exploring that are full of safe plants.
Running: If your perimeter already has a circular path, that’s great for “running a lap”. Otherwise, create areas that are suitable for running fast and kicking up grass.
Provide toys for your best friend so that he doesn’t become bored and play with your plants. Have a nice variety of toys on hand and change them out regularly.
If you can encourage your friend to use one dedicated area of the yard for his business, you’re golden! Otherwise, spraying the area down with water after urination will help lessen brown spots on the grass.
Fences and Barriers
If your dog is a fence digger, like my neighbor’s dog, you’ll want to find solutions that discourage digging. The Humane Society suggests burying chicken wire beneath your fence. Read more about that here.
Dogs that excessively dig might be hunting underground critters or bored. Pay attention to your pup for clues.
To create a dog-friendly garden start with plants that are not only sturdy but safe and non-toxic. Select plants that are already established and strong. This is not an area that you will likely have luck starting seeds. One ball retrieval in a newly seeded bed and you’ll be over it!
Select plants that are safe for dogs by avoiding cacti and other spiky plants that could poke out an eye. Also be sure your plants, shrubs, and flowers are all non-toxic to dogs. The ASPCA has an excellent list of toxic and non-toxic plants to dogs HERE.
Additionally, you could incorporate safe plants into the landscape that repel mosquitoes, fleas, and ticks for an increased layer of protection. A few examples are: sage, rosemary, thyme, basil, and marigolds. Thyme also makes a good ground cover.
Avoid using chemical fertilizers and weed killers on your plants or lawn. Go organic and just embrace the occasional weed, your dog’s health is worth it.
It’s hard work patrolling and sniffing. Have a dedicated outdoor water bowl for a refreshing drink and a shady spot to relax out of the sun.
Sip a glass of lemonade and enjoy!
Just imagine yourself with a cool glass of lemonade while you watch your best friend explore and enjoy his new retreat! Implement a few or all of the steps above to create a dog-friendly garden oasis.
If you’ve enjoyed this, please check out my other gardening articles here.