Dogs are like our children, accept better behaved, cheaper to own and more loyal – but who are we to keep count? However, there is one vital aspect of owning a happy and healthy furry friend, and that’s a dog-friendly garden.
Our four-legged best pals need outdoor space to stretch their limbs, to sniff and pee, and generally be the lovable creatures that humans adore.
If you’re thinking about extending your family to include a canine member, you should ensure your humble abode has a dog-friendly garden. Fear not, creating a garden suitable for dogs doesn’t mean a whole new landscaping adventure (unless you want it to), but simply ensuring you’ve got a few basic necessities to guarantee a happy pup!
And as we all know; a happy pup makes for a happy household.
10 Tips for a Dog-Friendly Garden:
This is probably the most important tip for making a dog-friendly garden, and that’s for two reasons:
- It will keep your furry friend safe. A secure perimeter will ensure your little guy won’t escape and get lost or hurt playing on the road.
- Secondly, it’ll keep your neighbours happy. While you might find it funny when Spot digs up Doris’ dahlias or relieves himself on their decking – a strong perimeter will prevent any dog-related neighbour disputes.
One of the main pitfalls when it comes to owning a dog is they can at times resemble little bulldozers rather than Bulldogs. While we see a large, plush, spalling lawn as a fresh carpet, they might see it as natures’ canvas… to be personalised.
One of the best ways to make a dog-friendly garden is by installing designated garden paths. You’ll soon see a fluffy tail happily trotting along the path and not through your precious flower beds.
Storage Sheds and Green Houses
If you have a green thumb and like to try your hand at growing seasonal fruit, veg and herbs, then you’ll probably already have a greenhouse. If you don’t, however, you may find your pet eating the tomatoes before you can get your hands on them.
Likewise, when it comes to making a dog-friendly garden, you should remove anything that a curious creature could harm themselves on. You wouldn’t leave a pair of shears laying around with a toddler in the room – so why leave them in the garden with your favourite four-legged friend?
Choose Dog-Friendly Plants
If you’re not accustomed to owning a pet that has the potential to eat anything they come across, then the idea of choosing dog-friendly plants seem may like an absurd one. However, it’s not. These are our two suggestions:
- Do your research on what plants are toxic to dogs and DO NOT have them in your garden. Make sure to know what they look like, not just their names. Common garden favourites like delphiniums, foxgloves, tulip bulbs and rhubarb leaves could all prove fatal for your pet.
Likewise, cocoa bean shell mulch, for instance, looks great but is made from the same bean as chocolate – famously poisonous for dogs.
- Secondly, flimsy flowers like baby’s breath (gypsophila) will be ruined with one wag of a tail; it would be worth researching larger, sturdier flowers.
There’s a running joke in my house that our dog would lay in a drip if he could find it; no matter how small the puddle is, Albert will roll in it. Most dogs love splashing around, so why not consider a small pond (without fish of course) to allow your pup to do some paddling?
It’ll double up as a watering hole for them to cool off on hot days after running around!
Secure Compost Bins
While we love to think of our dogs as little darlings through rose tinted glasses, they are still animals… and they’re gross.
If you have a compost bin they will have it out and knock the rotting fruit and veg all over the garden. When making changes to a dog-friendly garden, ensure you have either a secure place to keep your compost bin or a sturdy bin itself.
Avoid Using Chemicals
This is a tip that’s often eclipsed but has the potential to be the most detrimental. If you’re a keen gardener, weeds, thistles and bugs may seem like the enemy, here to ruin your displays. But for a playful pup and curious dog, chemicals in weed killers and insect repellents could cause a lot of damage if sniffed, licked or if the harsh chemicals get into their eyes.
The best way to avoid this is to use organic fertilisers, herbicides and pesticides instead.
A Puppy Pee Pad
The main reason gardens are necessary for dog ownership is so that they have somewhere to relieve themselves. However, having dog do-do all over the place and muddled within your flower beds may become tiresome.
If you’re thinking of getting a puppy, it’ll take only 3 weeks to train them to poop in one place. So before buying your pup, ensure you’ve made a designated area for this. Preferably out of sight (perhaps the end of the garden?) and on an easy-to-clean surface like brick, concrete or grass; mud, mulch or wood chip will be a nightmare.
Shelter and Shade
For a yard to qualify as a dog-friendly garden it must have suitable shelter and shade. Dog houses aren’t just cute or for funny anecdotal stories regarding spouse arguments. They offer much-needed shelter from rain, shade from the sun on hot days and a place to house a bowl of water – and – simply a place that the dog can feel safe.
If you’re hoping to step up from a dog-friendly garden to a DOG HEAVEN, there are, of course, a whole host of extras you can put in place to keep your pet entertained.
Here are just a few ideas:
- A viewing pod – is your dog particularly curious and doesn’t bark? (Sounds like the dream dog to us). You could insert a little viewing pod into your secure fencing to allow them to watch the world go by!
- Sand box – dogs are notorious for digging and playing, why not add a little sandbox in the corner of your garden for a designated play spot. The sand will allow them to dig and bury bones. Why not add a couple of weather resistant toys to the box for optimum play time?
- Add a marking post – this is particularly important for male dogs. Add a sturdy marking pole (perhaps out of an old log) to save your fences and benches being defaced.
- Tunnel – the main reason for dogs acting up is boredom, being cooped up in one place can’t be fun. So, try and include as many different things to keep your interested, entertained and happy. A tunnel to run through is ideal! With the right artistic insight, you’ll even be able to incorporate it into your landscape.
Which of our dog-friendly garden tips are you going to try in your own backyard? Let us know on Facebook!