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Essential Tips for Dog-Friendly Garden Design

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if they eatGardens are great for relaxation, the perfect space for therapeutic hobbies like gardening, yoga, or Tai chi. And why not sunbathing while we’re at it? But some gardens must also serve the needs of our four-legged friends just as much as our own. As pet owners will know, dogs and gardens don’t play well together, and if anything is likely to suffer, it’ll be your garden. Spending time with your dog outside is enjoyable and beneficial for the both of you, but unruly pets can, naturally, cause some reluctance.

Does your beloved canine like to dig up the grass? Do they mark their territory on the flowerbeds? Not all outdoor spaces come ready-made pet-friendly. There’s a simple solution, though, and all it calls for is a little design renovation. You and your canine companion should be able to enjoy a garden that suits you both. Here are some essential tips on how to make it a reality.

Planning Your Layout Around Your Pet

Layout is important when designing around pets. We recommend keeping the central part of your garden, likely the lawn, free from planting. Instead, plant around the edges to avoid trampled flowerbeds. Similarly, to deter your dog from targeting your prize-winning hydrangeas, you have to plant in the right spot. Large clusters of perennials are less likely to be ruined by four-legged foot traffic, and wood or mesh borders can help deter your dog without doing them harm.

Dogs are highly energetic and need frequent exercise. Gardens are great at fulfilling this purpose, but plain spaces can quickly become boring to Rex or Fido. Try incorporating stone flags to create pathways that keep your dog from running straight through planted areas, encouraging them to follow the path around. Moreover, dogs like shade as much as they like lounging in the sun. If the only shade they can find is behind your flowerbeds, they’ll charge through to get there. But by creating shaded areas with trees, hedges, or living walls, your dog won’t feel the need to tear up the soil on their way for a nap.

Dog-Friendly Gardening Tips

Be wary of the types of plants you keep, as many are not suitable for households with pets. Dogs, particularly, can develop serious health conditions ranging from poor digestion to convulsions and death  something they shouldn’t. Always check before planting something new. Plus, if you’re bringing a pet home for the first time, be sure to puppy-proof your garden beforehand.

When planning pathways, be sure to incorporate stone paving away from direct sunlight, as it can get hot in summer, causing painful blisters on your dogs’ paws. Unless you regularly clip your dog’s nails, hard surfaces will do the job for you, helping to file them down as they move about. Also, make sure you avoid materials that may harm your dog’s delicate paw pads. Sharp edges can lead to broken nails, blisters, and cuts, all of which are very painful for dogs. We recommend mulch, and wooden planking as materials like these tend to be dog-friendly. Furthermore, avoid cocoa-based mulches and pesticides of any kind as they are often toxic to canines.

For more advice on garden design, visit us at www.gardenclublondon.co.uk where you can learn more about our award-winning work.

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