Designing the Perfect Pet-Friendly Landscape
- June 26, 2019
Animals and humans both love a beautiful garden. Unfortunately, you and your pet probably have very different ideas about how to have fun in your outdoor space. You may love planting flowers while your dog loves digging them back up. Perhaps you both enjoy eating homegrown tomatoes and find yourselves racing to see who gets to the fruit first. If so, here are some landscaping ideas for pets that will help you and your furry loved ones find harmony in the garden.
Animals eat things they shouldn’t, and that can prove dangerous in the garden. If adding a small orchard to your landscape, for instance, be aware that apricot, plum, peach and cherry trees (Prunus spp.) are all toxic to dogs and cats. So are daffodils (Narcissus spp.) and geraniums (Pelargonium spp.). The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) keeps a list of toxic plants, and it’s wise to consult it when choosing your plants.
Water features make beautiful additions to a landscape but plan them carefully. If, like many retrievers, your dog loves the water, it’s best to forgo a pond or accept that your dog will take an occasional dip in it. Ponds also create a safety hazard. Pugs, for instance, are terrible swimmers thanks to their stout bodies and short legs. If you want a pond and a pug, use dense plants or fencing to keep him out of the water.
Landscaping for dogs means adding a ramp or stairs to water features so that poor puppy swimmers can get back out of the water if they fall in. Although loathe to admit it, cats have their clumsy moments too, and could fall into a pond or pool, as can wild animals. Make water features easy to get out of or skip them altogether.
Finding good landscaping ideas for pets means working with the animal’s instincts rather than against them. Dogs, for example, protect their territory by regularly patrolling the perimeter. Plants you place in the path of their patrol will get trampled. The best solution is to leave a path around the perimeter of your yard and arrange your beds elsewhere. If your pet has a favorite outdoor play or potty spot, work around it rather than trying to change your pet’s habits. You’ll both be happier for it.
Landscaping for dogs and cats means providing outdoor areas that they can enjoy too. Raised beds and fencing can keep your pets from stealing the bounty of your vegetable garden before harvest time, but don’t prevent your pets from having any fun. Plant some easily accessible catnip for your favorite feline or plant at least a few green beans where your pup can get to them. Good backyard ideas for dogs include using soft materials like landscape mulch rather than hardscaping, offering lots of shade and adding a puppy playground or obstacle course.
The right landscaping adds curb appeal and beauty to an area. It can also provide functional outdoor living spaces for you and your pets. Creating spaces you’ll both love is easier than you think.