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Creating a dog friendly garden

Dogs love being outdoors and making sure you have a dog-friendly garden can give your pooch their own private paradise where they can work off their excess energy. Creating a dog garden for your pet to enjoy can improve their quality of life and can be done without having to compromise on how your garden looks.

We’ve come up with our top garden ideas for dogs to help you figure out how you can make sure your dog gets the most out of your garden.

Keeping your garden secure 

Dogs love investigating and getting into areas that they shouldn’t, so last thing you want is them getting out of your garden and into trouble. You will want to make sure that your garden is completely enclosed by either a dog proof fence or wall that is tall enough to keep your dog safely inside.

Your fence has to be sturdy enough to keep back an excited dog and designed so that they can’t get stuck between or under the boards – gaps slightly smaller than your dog’s head are asking for trouble so put some thought into choosing you fence. If you know your dog likes to dig then choose an L-footer fence so they can’t dig their way out.

You can even add a small dog window to your fencing that lets them safely look out of the garden to satisfy their curiosity without staging a breakout.

Creating a dog play area

Dogs love to play, so it is a great idea to add an area to the garden where they can tire themselves out. Think assault course – only dog friendly. You can add tunnels and ramps for them to play on – which can easily be purchased or made yourself if you are good at DIY.

You can also incorporate different textures in your dog play area for them to explore such as gravel, lawn grass and even longer grasses that they will love to roll in. Adding a dog friendly digging area using sand or bark (if you’re not afraid of the mess) can have the added benefit of distracting them from digging in other as dogs often prefer digging in soft earth.

Perhaps surprising to many, but dogs actually enjoy paths. Small paths made of flagstone or smooth rocks around your garden gives them routes to follow and include different textures for them to feel underpaw.

Dog friendly garden designs

You’ll want to protect the ornamental parts of your garden from accidental damage so consider using raised beds to discourage dogs from running through and trampling your flowers. It isn’t necessary to raise them up to waist height as even a small increase can discourage dogs – so long as they have somewhere else to play of course.

If your dogs are constantly running off their excess energy and digging into your prized flowers, then you might want to switch to container gardening. Use large pots and containers for your ornamental plants and your dog will be much more likely to ignore them.

Dogs love playing in water, especially flowing water, so it’s a great idea to add a water feature for them to enjoy. However, if you want to install a pond or pool, then you will need to make sure that your dog can safely get in and out of the water. This can easily be done with a gently sloping side or adding shallow steps into the water – but remember, where there’s water – they’ll also be added mess.

Top tips for your dog friendly garden

  • Avoid spraying your garden with chemicals as dogs can sometimes eat your plants
  • Don’t use cocoa mulch – it smells good to you but also to your dog and can make them sick just like chocolate
  • Split the garden into different areas to give them places to explore
  • Include areas of shelter and shade so they can keep cool in summer and get out of the weather in winter

Choose dog friendly plants

When picking out plants for a dog garden it’s critical that you make sure you aren’t picking any plants that are toxic to your pet. Common garden plants like foxgloves, daffodils, buttercups, and hydrangeas are all toxic to dogs and should be avoided.

Other ones to watch out for are tomato plants, chrysanthemums, aconite, and wisteria – garden centres are normally good at answering questions if you’re unsure, so make sure you check when you’re picking your plants!

It’s best to choose robust plants that you know can stand up to any dog-given attention. You can choose to either build your entire garden out of these hardier plants or use them to create a border around your more delicate plants to protect them. Choose plants like lavender, nepeta, astilbe, or hardy geranium that won’t be bothered by a little trampling now and then and get a garden that both you and your dog can enjoy together.

Have we inspired you to create your own dog-friendly garden? If so, we’d love to see images of your pooches enjoying their new paradise over on our Twitter, Facebook or for more ideas head over to our Pinterest!