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Designing a Pet-friendly Garden

Azmin Taraporewala Mar 21, 2020
If you have been on a mission to create a garden space that spells peace between your garden and your pet, look no further. Your garden tools and your gray cells could be the creative managers to design a pet-friendly garden, so that your canine and your greens can happily coexist.
Gardeners have an inherent quality of being in love, perpetually, with nature. Their love for foliage can go beyond the religious mowing and mulching activities. It is a passion for plants that, perhaps no words could justify. Most nature lovers share the same sentiments towards animals.
However, trouble knocks when you love both, and want them to coexist. You know that your pet -- your best friend, exercises his liberty to carry out inquisitive excursions through the garden, and he is highly capable of making a mess of your garden. In addition to this, your gruff mood. Well, it's a different question altogether now.
So, what do you do for the sake of designing a pet-friendly garden? To help you rest in peace, (pun not intended), explained here, are pet-cum-garden-friendly ideas that will have your pet and your greens thrive together.

Creating a Pet-friendly Garden

To have a pet-safe garden, you must have a good plan. A feasible plan is one that lets your pet fool around without causing any damage to your precious greens. Your plan should club your garden's safety and your pet's interest. Sounds tough? Then read through to believe it yourself!


Pets, more often than not, have their favorite path to wander. They, in the actual, love to have a path that leads them, rather than creating a path of their own. However, before you plan to construct one, try to study 'his path', that he has paved for himself, while roaming around the garden.
If you notice that he has a definite route, consider your job half done. All you are left with, is laying the pavement. Providing a stipulated doggie path can save your saplings from being stomped heavily and bearing the brunt of your pooch. Your pet's pleasure would know no bounds, and your plants can breathe peacefully as well!

Hanging Gardens

When digging serves to be your doggie's "first love," you, the poor gardener is bound to get perturbed.
However, if you don't want to see your pet and your plants crossing each other's paths, then why not have your plants hung in baskets or containers above the ground, away from the pet's reach. Twining a trellis is also a good idea if you possess climbers. Your furry pal is sure to find the task of messing your plants up there quite difficult.

Just Jig, Don't Dig

Digging is an activity that, gardeners wish did not exist in their canine's instincts. However, let's face the fact. They are good diggers, so why not dedicate an area that can serve as their 'play' station.
Plant a grass cover to ward off the weeds. You could lay his little fiddles there and join him while he jigs with his belongings. Gradually, you will notice that your pet recognizes his designated play area and puts up his antiques there.

Potty-ing Grounds

In the name of protecting your garden from pet poop, designating a section for this purpose is advisable. Assign a place for your pet to do the honors, and accompany him when he has to attend the call of nature.
Going along with your pet for a few days will help in conditioning him to visit the same spot. This will keep your garden feces-free. Another inclusion to your garden, especially for cats, would be placing a log or two, meant specially for your kitty to sharpen her claws, thus demarcating her area.

Go Organic

Curiosity kills the cat, an adage of sorts that fits in here perfectly. Pets have an interrogatory attitude that can land them in trouble. Digging and sniffing are major feats they perform while strolling in the garden.
Thus, the use of harmful pesticides and fertilizers can spell danger for your pet. Cocoa mulch, used for landscaping contains a poisonous substance called theobromine. This ingredient can cause muscle stiffness and vomiting, leading to death.
To ensure that your plants receive the required nutrition and your pet is safe and sound, use organic products that don't mean harm to pet health. Instead of cocoa, you may use cedar or pine mulch to nourish your plants.


How you wish your plants could say that to your pets, while they put their heart and soul to blob out the plant. Anyway, let's think about what's possible. What about citrus fruit peel, or eucalyptus, or better still, neem oil.
Possible? Oh yes, you can sprinkle either eucalyptus or neem oil when you want to secure your plants from the pulling sessions. These are natural products and absolutely cruelty-free. To keep your doggie from prying on your saplings, you could also place tomato cages around them.

Shady Body

All those who have heard that pets love to bask in the sun, have heard it right. However, pets do not appreciate the sunshine all throughout. They would love to roll in the shade too. Add some shade in the form of a large plant, or a tree to your landscape.
An outdoor beach umbrella can add freshness to the landscape and let your pet enjoy the shade as well. While the hot summer sun shines, your dog can snatch a cool snooze in there. In addition, your plants are safe, too.


Provide fresh and clean water regularly for your pet. This also helps you in enhancing the landscape as you construct, two to three tiny water bodies that resemble the shape of a pudding bowl.
Also, where water bodies reside, the area around, maintains a consistency in temperature. This place will thus, be marked by him as his very own turf. And for those scorching days, your pet can quench his thirst and feel refreshed once again.

Take a Dip

If your garden has a pool, chances are that your canine companion too is fond of taking a dip into the pool. While it is all sunny and scorching, your pet would prefer to dive in, rather than roll on the garden greens.
You can rest assured that, besides the sun, there is nothing else bothering your garden or plants. Nevertheless, it is required that you train your canine to adhere to your order of entering and exiting the pool, only when you are around. Construct a ladder that leads him in and lets him out.
Although, dogs are good swimmers, it is a must that you supervise them when they are at it. To ensure upgraded safety, create a fence around the pool with a considerable space for the ladder. Water bodies, not to forget, add a touch of serenity to the garden and are a favorite of many landscape lovers, too.

Blunder Plants

You should be aware of plants that can be toxic for your pet and ensure that you don't plant them in your garden. Castor beans, rhododendron, jasmine, crab apple, garlic and yew are some plants that could cause cardiac problems for your pet. Thorny and bushy plants are great topiary additions; however, they may prove hurtful to your pet.
With these ideas for designing a landscape garden, that is pet and plant-friendly, you could forge ahead and have a space where you, the gardener, your flora, and fauna coexist and prosper. Now, that's called a true nature patriot, aren't we!