How to Create A Dog-Friendly Garden
Over a quarter – 26% – of the UK population are dog owners and we have a long history of associating with man’s best friend.
There are many reasons why we, as a country, have such a love affair with our dogs.
Studies have shown that owning a dog can reduce our levels of stress, encourage us to exercise, lower blood pressure, make us more resilient to allergies or be less likely to become ill.
But, unfortunately, one disadvantage of owning a dog is that it can make it difficult to maintain our gardens and keep them looking how we want them to.
Luckily, though, being a dog owner and having a beautiful garden needn’t be mutually exclusive.
Creating a garden that is both practical and attractive just takes a bit more planning than for those without pets.
There are many different things to take into consideration when it comes to planning a dog-friendly garden.
In our latest article, we’ll be looking at ideas and tips to ensure not only that your garden looks amazing, but also that it’s also a safe environment for your dog to explore.
Plant Robust Plants & Shrubs
It’s inevitable that your furry friend will be brushing past your plants on a regular basis, meaning that you’ll need to ensure that your plants are hard-wearing enough to withstand this.
When it comes to choosing ideal plants, you’ll want to avoid anything with delicate stems. Established perennials and plants such as nepeta, geraniums, astilbe, hebes, thyme, and rudbeckia hirta are all good picks. Placing lavender at the front of borders can create a very effective barrier, preventing dogs from running onto your beds.
Shrubs such as roses and viburnum would be good choices, too.
Avoid Toxic Plants
When choosing plants, it is, of course, also very important to ensure that you don’t plant anything that can be potentially harmful to your pets.
The list of potentially harmful plants is a long one. If you have any of these plants, you should screen them off from the rest of your garden using wire fencing to prevent your dog from getting to them. Ideally, though, it is recommended that you remove anything that can be harmful from your garden entirely.
Here is our list of plants that can be harmful to dogs:
- Amaryllis bulbs
- Asparagus fern
- Lily of the valley
- Morning glory
- Rhubarb leaves
- Sweet pea
- Tulip bulbs
- Umbrella plant
If your dog was to chew any of these plants, he would become poorly. If you have any of these plants in your garden and you notice your pet is experiencing any unusual symptoms after being outside, take him to your vet immediately.
Create Raised Beds
If you struggle to grow anything because your dog loves digging up your plants as soon as you plant them, consider building raised planters.
Raised planters can be created using a variety of materials, including brick, sleepers or rendered walling.
Build your raised bed high enough to prevent your dog from being able to reach into the bed and dig up the soil.
If your furry friend is still likely to jump up onto the beds, you may need to install a small wire mesh fence to prevent them from accessing the bed.
Not only will your raised beds prevent your dog from digging up your garden, it will also create interesting features and perhaps even provide additional seating.
Install Artificial Grass
Many dog owners struggle to grow real lawns.
And there are many reasons for this. Of course, dogs need to be out in the garden several times a day to answer nature’s call and stretch their legs.
But the continuous traipsing up and the garden lawn takes its toll on your grass and can damage or destroy your lawn, especially during the winter, when your grass is boggy.
Muddy paw prints can be a source of frustration for many dog owners, too. Having to clean muddy paw prints off your carpets and furniture is a chore many of us could do without.
If you own a female dog, you’ll be all too aware how it feels to have a scorched patchy lawn that can ruin the look of your entire garden.
Installing artificial grass in your garden can solve all of these issues and more.
Fake grass is 100% dog-friendly. Your furry friend cannot dig or tear artificial grass and there will be no more mud or mess, as your dog can run up and down artificial grass all day long without getting a trace of dirt on them.
Your lawn will look stunning all year round, whatever the weather, and become a real showpiece of your garden.
If you’re interested in further information on artificial grass for dogs, you may find that our guide, ‘Artificial Grass for Dogs – Everything You Need to Know’, answers many of the questions that you have.
To view the NeoGrass range of pet-friendly artificial grass, please click here.
You can also request your free samples here, to see and feel just how good our products are.
To get your free installation quote, contact your local NeoGrass Approved Installer by entering your postcode on our ‘find your installer’ page.
Make Sure Your Shed is Kept Secure
Many garden sheds contain a whole host of potentially dangerous hazards for dogs and other pets.
Sharp tools such as lawnmower blades, saws and axes could potentially harm your dog if they are able to get into your shed.
There are likely lots of potentially hazardous liquids, too, such as weedkiller, oil, fertilisers or petrol.
And dogs are nosy, so if they can get in, they will!
To prevent harm to your dog, ensure that your shed is kept secure at all times so as not to allow access.
Avoid Plants That Could Injure Your Pet
We have already looked at some of the plants that can be potentially harmful to your dog if they chew them.
But many people tend to forget that some types of plant can cause our dogs harm in other ways.
Many palms and yuccas, for instance, have long, thin leaves with very sharp points at their tips.
These tips can cause potential harm to your pet, by potentially piercing their skin as they brush past, or the sharp points could even poke your dog’s eye out.
Therefore, not only do you need to consider and avoid those plants that may be toxic to your pets, but also the ones that have the potential to physically injure them.
Make Your Garden Stimulating
It’s a good idea to create different routes and pathways for your dog to use to explore the garden.
You can create interesting pathways and walkways using a variety of materials, including paving slabs, block paving, resin bound gravel or concrete.
Incorporating different types of surfacing in different areas of your garden will help to stimulate your pet, as the variety of textures will feel different underfoot.
You may have found that your pet has already chosen its preferred routes through your garden. For instance, your dog may have worn a track across your garden lawn. Of course, this can create an eyesore, but rather than try to change his routine, why not convert the worn-out grass into a pathway, or install artificial grass instead?
Creating a pathway will give your pet somewhere to patrol. Dogs naturally like to protect their territory and creating a pathway around the perimeter of the garden helps them to fulfil this need.
Avoid Using Chemicals
Certain types of chemicals used within the garden can be harmful to pets (and humans, too).
Before using any form of weedkiller, fertiliser or pesticides, check with the manufacturer to ensure that these chemicals will not harm your dog – or, if possible, simply avoid them altogether.
It is a wise move to try to deal with pests such as slugs and snails within your garden. Not only can they destroy your plants, but they can actually be harmful to your pets, too.
Dogs can contract lungworm if they eat slugs, snails or even frogs. Should your pet show any signs of lungworm (shortness of breath, coughing or bleeding) you should take him to the vet immediately.
Unwanted pests, such as slugs and snails, can be dealt with organically, rather than chemically.
Maintaining a beautiful garden that is not only a relaxing space for humans but also accommodating to our pets needn’t be mission impossible.
Just because you own a dog doesn’t mean that your garden should have to suffer.
If you follow some of the advice laid out in this article, you’ll find that making a few simple changes to your garden will make a world of difference to you and your dog.
Do you have any other ideas or tips for making our gardens more dog-friendly? Then why not join in the conversation and leave a comment below? We look forward to hearing your ideas.
Thanks for reading.