Nothing is better than enjoying your home space to its maximum potential. Not only do you need to consider your garden, but also the most loved members of the family – your pets. When creating a pet friendly garden, it is vital to take into account the animals who will inhabit it. To keep both parties happy and healthy, we have created a simple checklist to get your outdoor areas functional and safe for hours of fun.
Creating a pet friendly garden:
When constructing a pet friendly garden, the first thing to consider is the room available. Whether it is small or spacious, there is a way to create the ideal and safest environment with ‘zoning’. This method is useful to maximise any space and is just as applicable for pets. We will revisit this theme throughout the garden creation process. Next, you have three important steps to inspect carefully and prepare.
The three P’s of a pet friendly garden:
Protection is a key element for both garden and pets. This includes first checking for any toxic chemicals in pesticides, herbicides or fertilisers that may be harmful to your pet. Read our guide on herbicides for more information. If you have a concern about a current product or a product you are considering using, speak to our garden experts for advice and suggestions.
The next step – create preventative measures. Protect gardens from unwanted nibbling or destructive behaviour with two solutions: using borders and designating a play area. The best thing for any pet owner to do – inside or outside – is to differentiate a play area from other areas. You can use materials like picket fencing or more integrative borders like shrubs. Shrubs are a great option as they help to keep a distinct garden feel without making your garden a complete no-go zone for pets. Choose from a wide selection of shrubs, from blossoming bushes to green borders like the Buxus microphylla ‘Faulkner’, which is great for shaping and hedging.
For other potential dangers like open swimming pools, tool sheds or garden equipment, restrict access. Look for options like gated fences, store away exposed tools and make a habit to lock away any enticing opportunities for mischief.
The key to a happy and healthy garden: zoning. As we mentioned earlier, this is central to maintaining an organising space and eliminating any future grief. Depending on the pets you have, you may need to make more than one zoned area for each pet. On the other hand, if they are well socialised with each other, they may enjoy the same shared areas.
Carve out where you want your pet to walk with pathways. Separate your garden from the ground level with raised beds for herbs, veggies and flowers to ensure they won’t get chewed or trampled on.
For creating a toilet area, use a corner away from lawns and veggie beds. A great tip for cat owners – use damp ground cover as cats will stay away from this. Great tricks include water retention materials like carefully shredded mulch or wood chips.
While a good rule of thumb is to not have exposed soil to encourage pests burrowing, having a sandy digging area is great. Dogs love to bury bones and bunnies are natural diggers. When you create a scratching ground, this will do away with the need to destroy flower beds or lawns. You can bury treats or toys in the sand to encourage and reward them for using the area. Another fun idea using plastic piping to create tunnels that bunnies, cats and small dogs will love to crawl in and around.
To get the most out of your garden, be sure to train and habituate your pet for each activity. Direct and remind them of each specific toilet area, play area, and feeding area. They will soon get accustomed to these zones and visit them of their own accord.
The last step to a pet friendly garden is planting for your pet. Pet grass is a great lawn solution for owners of dogs and cats alike. This evergreen lawn provides lovely fine blades of grass that all your furry friends will enjoy romping on.
Your canine comrade may feel unwell at times and will self-medicate by finding peppermint. This herb is a go-to for nibbling to cure indigestion or nausea. Not only is peppermint a great remedy, but also gives off lovely aromas in your garden.
Bunnies and guinea pigs
For the smaller furry members of your home, they are huge fans of all vegetables. With careful zoning, you can separate and restrict access to nibbling. For a thorough list of safe veggies, read through this guide.
For a great way to eliminate weeds and appease your reptiles, have them enjoy any rogue dandelions scattered about your garden. Alternatively, plant a small dandelion patch just for them.
Have fun and play away
We hope you and your loved ones enjoy creating a pet friendly garden. For more ideas on garden preparation or outdoor pet solutions, read through our additional guides or contact us for advice. Happy playing!