Judging by the number of people excited to visit with the dogs from Blue Chip Animal Rescue at the last Open House, we would venture a guess and say there are a lot of Ed’s customers who are dog lovers.
Wouldn’t it be fabulous to put two of your favorite passions together? Well you can! Of course dogs are plenty happy with a big empty field of grass to play in or even just a small fenced in yard; but wouldn’t it be fun to make the garden they dream of? It sure would! We found a great article that tells you everything you need to make a pet’s paradise, in your yard. Arranging it a certain way and using the correct plants will keep your pup from getting hurt and from hurting your flowers… most of the time anyway. Step one in creating a “dogscape” is learning to think like a canine: If you were a dog, what would you want? Spaniels, terriers, retrievers ― each breed has a different personality. Think about what your dog enjoys and go from there.
Elements of a dog-friendly garden
Gentle hardscape: Smooth flagstones set in pebbles form a dry creek bed dogs can comfortably tread.
Comfy mulch: Small cedar chips are easy on paws yet large enough so they won’t cling to silky coats.
Border control: Pieces of driftwood persuade dogs to stay away from planted areas.
Running track: A long, winding path provides dogs with plenty of exercise.
Sensible plants: Plants near paths should have soft foliage but be sturdy enough to stand canine rough-housing.
Marking post: A sculptural piece of driftwood creates a suitable spot to mark his territory.
Paths to patrol
Dogs need exercise; paths give them a designated space to do it as well as a venue to perform their perceived job ― to patrol your property line and keep out intruders. Readers suggested sacrificing a few feet along the fence for a perimeter path to simultaneously satisfy both needs. If your dogs have already created their own paths through the garden, don’t try to redirect them. Instead, turn their well-worn routes into proper pathways. A 3-foot-wide clearance is sufficient for most canines. Plant a screen to hide this dog run if you like; pets seem to like having their own “secret garden.”
Shade and shelter
Dogs love basking in the sun, but keep in mind, they can overheat quickly. Make sure to plan some trees that provide shade. Giving them access to the family’s porch or gazebo is great too. Building a cool dog house is also a fun option.
Avoid thorny and spiny plants, which can cause serious eye injuries. Be very cautious about growing poisonous plants, like castor bean or hellebore, in readily accessible areas. Visit www.aspca.org/toxicplants for a complete list.
A place to answer nature’s call
Your dog needs a spot to relieve himself, but it doesn’t have to be your lawn or flower bed. Set aside a corner of your yard as a toilet area, and train your pet to eliminate there and nowhere else. This learning process may take a puppy about three weeks and an adult dog longer. Consult a dog-training manual for instructions. Cover the designated area with material Fido will accept and that you can clean easily. Flagstone, pea gravel, bricks, and cedar chips are all good choices. If you have a male dog, consider adding a marking post so he can define his territory (Stuckey set up a driftwood stump).
Ideas for this story came from Sunset.com.
Hope this gave you some awesome ideas for your dog-friendly garden! Share photos with us on our Facebook page if you complete and of the projects we post about. We would be happy to see them 🙂
-Aimee (my inspiration for hopefully creating a friendlier dog garden one day…)