Create a Dog Friendly Garden

Create a Dog Friendly Garden

Make your garden a safe place for your best friend.

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Westie running in the grass
Photo by Gabriel Crismariu on Unsplash

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.

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Dog running and ears flapping
Photo by Nathalie SPEHNER on Unsplash

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.

Golden retriever in the grass
Photo by Mitchell Orr on Unsplash

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.

Plant Selection

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!

English bulldog with flower in his mouth
Photo by RD Gray on Unsplash

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.

Happy dog in sunflowers
Photo by Sasha Sashina on Unsplash


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.

Create a dog-friendly garden
Create a dog-friendly garden

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17 Replies to “Create a Dog Friendly Garden”

  1. Wow! I really found this post helpful. I live in Nepal with my two dogs (a pug and a retriever). We are looking to move house and one of the main things we are looking for is a garden. I didn’t really consider much about the garden until now. Thanks for sharing this interesting and informative post!

  2. Yes! Omg. Now I’m inspired to make a garden. I have a pug and I never considered him getting into my plants, silly because he’s a nosey little guy.
    I’ll have to reference this post once I’m ready to get my green thumb on.

  3. We would love a dog…….but we don’t have enough time for one, so we’ve not got one. Love the pics…especially the ears flying up !!!! We do have a greenhouse though in the garden.

    1. I dream of a greenhouse one day, but living in Florida it’s really unnecessary. I had one before and cooked expensive plants I was trying to baby. Live and Learn.

  4. Great post! So thorough. I had never considered most of this. I love the patrolling idea. That just makes too much sense. Thank you,

    Roger Petersen
    Mind and Love

  5. Wow! Some great tips here for dog owners. I currently don’t have a dog, (five kids is enough for me for now) haha!
    I will show this to my dad though, he has a crazy dog who is into everything but my dad loves to look after his garden, growing his own food and plants etc so a lot of this will be very useful to him.
    Thanks for sharing!
    Much Love,
    Laura xx

    1. Hi Laura, I’m glad you enjoyed it! I have a sensory garden post that is great for kids if you want to check it out. I know what raising 5 kids is like, I’m on the downward slope tho with the youngest being 13. Thanks for coming by!

  6. Good ideas. And you’re right, you definitely have to have the right plants. I had a dachshund that was on a search and destroy mission for new plants to dig up and chew — so definitely couldn’t put toxic ones in. And watching out for cacti is critical. My brother’s Jack Russell tangled with a cholla which necessitated a trip the doggy ER.

    1. I love dachshunds! My brother has two. One of them broke through the bars of the kennel one night to eat a comforter. LOL. But yes, many plants we have in Florida are not only poisonous but spiky and dangerous. Thanks for coming by Sean.

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