For gardeners with pets, one of the challenges is to create a garden space that you can enjoy and your dog won't destroy. Creating a dog friendly garden can be an easy task if you keep in mind your dog's habits, instincts and health. With a little planning, you can create a garden that you both love to be in together.
Design your garden to meet your dog's needs, such as providing room to run and play and choosing plants that are not harmful to dogs. This will help avoid injury to your dog and provide a space that you can both enjoy.
Create paths made of mulch, wood planks or smooth flagstone. These materials will be easy on your dog's feet and will give him a designated pathway to use for walking and patrolling the garden. Try to incorporate the dog's natural route into these paths.
Make borders of driftwood or other materials to discourage your dog from entering planted areas. You can also use raised beds or small fences to discourage your pet.
Use dog friendly plants in your garden. The ASPCA has a list of plants on their Web site that are toxic to dogs and should be avoided. You should also try to avoid plants that are spiked or thorny as these can injure your dog. Choose plants that are soft, but sturdy since your dog will probably trod across them at some point.
Plant perennials in large, visible groups rather than as solitary plants. Dogs will often go around large groupings rather than through them.
Avoid toxic chemicals and fertilizers and opt for organic materials. You should make sure not to leave insecticide or pesticide bags or bottles laying around where the dog might get into them. These items can pose a greater threat to dogs than the same chemicals on the lawn or plants.
Train your dog not to dig or to stay out of certain areas of the garden. You can find suggestions on how to train your dog and can do this by contacting a professional dog trainer, reading dog training books or by searching online for the information. Choose the method that works best for your dog. You can also provide your dog with a garden space of his own to dig in.
There are several books on the topic of creating dog friendly gardens. Look for these or other garden design books in your local library or bookstore. They can provide you with ideas for your garden and helpful suggestions for creating a dog friendly space.