Perfecting pet-friendly outdoor spaces
Our furry friends are all about having fun, but sometimes outside play or curiosity leads to unwelcome garden damage. Here’s our guide to protecting plants, pets, and your patience.
Pets come in all shapes and sizes, but the most destructive to our outdoor plants can be dogs and cats. Freshly dug holes, squashed plants, and half-chewed vegetables - sound familiar? We’ve been there. Luckily, with a bit of knowledge and creativity, we can teach our four-legged friends some garden etiquette that keeps everyone happy.
We’ll touch on:
- Keeping pets safe in the garden
- Plants that you and your pet will enjoy
- Creating pet-free and pet-paradise zones
Let’s dig in.
Garden safety for pets
As most owners know, dogs and cats are curious creatures. Make your outdoor space a safe place for them to roam.
Start by putting fertilisers, chemicals and sharp tools well out of reach, preferably locked away and keep an eye on what goes into your dog’s mouth; nursery pots, sticks and stones may be fun to chew, but swallowing sharp shards isn’t ideal.
Secure the perimeter (garden, patio or balcony) with wire or fencing so pets can’t make a great escape and provide safe rest spots for feline adrenaline junkies.
Dog owners should be cautious at night - slugs and snails are sometimes infected with lungworm, which can be picked up through slime trails. Use crushed eggshells or pine needles around your plants - soft bodied molluscs won’t enjoy crawling over prickly ground.
Pet-friendly planting you’ll love
Having pets doesn’t mean you have to compromise on a beautiful outdoor space. Far from it. There are plenty of stunning non-toxic plants to choose from. Tam the tree fern looks great in those shady spots, Orla the sweet orange tree brings a splash of colour and Bree the black bamboo gives year-round drama. Fragrant plants, such as catnip, cat thyme, and rosemary are irresistible to cats; they’ll spend all day laying around them.
If you have space, trees can be a wonderful pet-friendly addition. They provide shade and privacy whilst acting as a natural scratch post and climbing frame for cats. Andre the apple tree will grow into a gorgeous garden statement, with flowers in spring and fruit in autumn.
Encourage play, but in the right place
Keeping everyone happy and entertained in the garden is all about creating pet-paradise zones. Focus digging habits with a treat-riddled dig zone, enabling natural instincts to play out in a controlled area. Pet-friendly paths give those determined to explore an easy route through borders, reducing plant squashing.
No paws allowed - create pet-free zones
If there are spots you want to keep pet free, try raising them up. Raised borders, troughs or pots are far less tempting and as a result, protect plants. Just make them high and full enough that springy pets can’t jump in. Additionally, sprinkling natural deterrents such as bitter coffee grounds, vinegar, or citrus solutions, is a great way to gently discourage curious explorers.
You don’t have to choose between your pets and your plants. Making sure both can thrive is a balance, but with patience and some clever tricks, everyone can have the best of both worlds.
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