Landscaping for Pet-Friendly Gardens



Landscaping for Pet-Friendly Gardens

Landscaping for Pet-Friendly Gardens

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Young dogs love to chew, and some plants are toxic to pets if ingested. Avoid invasive species, like foxglove and monkshood. Use mulches made from wood chips or cedar rather than cocoa bean or coir mulch, which are harmful if eaten by dogs.

Replace grass with hardscape, a low-maintenance landscaping material that obviates the need for lawn care and eliminates unsightly muddy spots.


Growing greenery and flowers around your home is a wonderful way to enjoy the outdoors while adding curb appeal. If you have pets, though, choosing the right plants is vital to ensure their safety. Fortunately, there are many dog-safe flowers and shrubs that can be enjoyed by both people and their furry companions.

Whether you prefer to plant in the ground or in containers, there are plenty of beautiful options to choose from. Sunflowers, for example, come in a variety of colors and sizes, from dwarf varieties to towering giants. They require full sunlight and are easy to grow in garden beds and containers. Camellias are another flowering shrub that adds a pop of color to the garden. These plants prefer partial shade and are easy to maintain.

The vibrant blooms of snapdragon (Antirrhinum majus) are another choice for cottage gardens and other flower beds. These perennials thrive in zones 9 through 11, and their bright blooms will also help attract pollinators to the yard. Nasturtiums, meanwhile, are bright and colorful, making them an excellent choice for flowering garden beds. Just be sure to avoid water cresses, which are slightly toxic to dogs if they are mistaken for nasturtiums.

Roses, which are available in a wide variety of colors and fragrances, can be beautiful additions to the landscape, but their sharp thorns make them less suitable for garden beds where dogs may trample or nibble on them. Another option is thyme, which produces low mounds of foliage in shades from burgundy to green. This hardy herb is a tough, long-blooming perennial that thrives in most climates, and it can even withstand some light trampling by curious dogs.

Ground Cover

Dogs love to run and play in the garden, but they can also pull up your plants or make green turf turn yellow. The best way to prevent these issues is with a layer of ground cover or hardscape surfaces that will resist digging and pawing. You can use mulch, gravel or stone paths or synthetic turf that looks like grass but doesn’t require mowing or weeding. These surfaces will also stay cool in sunlight and are easy to hose down.

Consider using a ground cover that is easy on your pet’s feet and won’t get too hot in the summer, such as pea gravel or decomposed granite. Many dogs prefer to walk on these surfaces instead of bare soil, which they can easily dig into. You can also lay paving stones or bricks, but these may be too slippery for your dog to walk on.

It’s also important to consider any plants that may be toxic to your dog, and avoid those with thorns or prickles that might injure your pet or be stuck in its paw. You should also check out the ASPCA’s list of poisonous plants and invasive ones. To avoid the need to fence off your whole garden, consider creating a designated play zone in which you put your dogs’ toys and water bowl. This way, you’ll know where they are playing and won’t worry about them running riot in your prized flower beds or vegetable garden.


Fences can be an important part of landscaping for pet friendly gardens. In addition to providing security and delineation, they can prevent your pets from entering areas where you don’t want them (such as tool sheds or the garden). They can also provide shelter from gusty weather.

Some dogs love to patrol perimeters and explore every nook and cranny of your garden, which can result in plants being crushed or trampled – especially tender ones like new seedlings or young berries. To combat this, observe your dog’s behavior and create a path that keeps the most delicate plants at a safe distance from him. Perimeter paths can be made from wood or other hardscape materials, such as flagstones, cobblestones and smooth river rocks. These are less likely to damage paws, and the weed-free surface means less work for you when you do have to mow the lawn.

Fences can also help prevent your pet from being uprooted by neighbourhood cats. If angled upwards slightly, such as in a T or Y shape, they can prevent a cat from climbing over them, and the slanting can also make them more reluctant to jump onto them. This is a solution that will only work if neighbouring trees don’t overhang the fence, however. Alternatively, you could use a motion-sensing sprinkler system that activates with a startling function when they approach the garden.


With more than half of US households1 having a dog, landscaping for pets is an important consideration. A well-designed garden that gives dogs plenty of room to run and play while protecting delicate areas from their claws and chewing habits is crucial. Using hard landscaping such as paving stones, pavers and concrete can reduce the amount of mess left behind by dogs romping around the garden and also helps keep their nails short so you don’t need to visit the dog groomer as often. Choosing plants that repel fleas is another important feature, such as those that naturally overwhelm fleas’ senses and discourage them from coming onto the lawn. Other pet friendly landscaping ideas include having a water feature such as a fountain or a shallow pond (not deep) with smooth rocks to provide dogs with cool, fresh drinking water.

In addition, some mulches are toxic to pets when ingested, such as Cocoa bean mulch, so choose pet-safe options like wood chips, cedar mulch and even rock. Slugs and snails are a common problem in many gardens, so plant a garden that is resistant to them, such as geraniums, hollyhocks, yews, hostas, daffodils, roses or avens.

Most importantly, a pet-friendly garden is one that is designed with your family’s lifestyle and needs in mind. By observing your dog’s behavior, designing for safety, and providing comfort they will love to explore your garden with you and you can enjoy a beautiful landscape without worrying about them damaging your flowers or being accidentally poisoned by dangerous plants.

Talk to a Landscaping Company

If you need a pet-friendly garden, we are experts in installing new landscapingrenovating landscapes, outdoor lighting, and irrigation installation systems. Whatever your project is to make your outdoor look amazing, we can help you. Give us a quick call so we can talk more about your next outdoor project.

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