Creating pet-friendly gardens
Animals are an important part of the family, and need to enjoy the garden as much as humans. But how to create a landscape that meets the needs of both?
Chances are your pets spend as much time, if not more, in your garden, which makes it critical to consider their needs before you start your next landscaping project. By keeping your pets in mind as you design and build your backyard paradise, you’ll ensure that you and your four-legged friends can enjoy the space together for years to come.
Document your pet’s habits
If you’re planning some significant changes to the layout of your garden, take some time to consider the daily habits of existing pets. Consider laying paths along routes that your dog already uses, and take note of any preferred digging locations to avoid your newly planted hydrangeas from being uprooted in the first week. Landscaping with urine-resistant plants may reduce the number of unsightly yellow and brown patches in your lawn, however you may also need to train your dog to do his business in a new location of the garden.
If your cat or dog is going to spend considerable amounts of time in the garden, it’s important to make sure that you select appropriate greenlife – both for the sake of the plants and your animals.
Avoid all plants that are poisonous or toxic to touch or eat. PET POISON LIST is a US-based website which lists all plants that are known to be poisonous to household pets. Some plants may also cause allergic reactions, resulting in skin rashes or itchy eyes. If you know your dog is prone to allergies, you may want to avoid varieties that produce high levels of pollen. Consider building raised beds, planting low hedging or incorporating rocks around your garden beds to help to keep your pets at bay.
To keep fleas under control, consider planting aromatic plants such as lavender, rosemary and mint.
Consider switching to organic gardening products
Some commercial herbicides, pesticides and fertilisers can be harmful to animals, so if you’re going to use them in your garden, ensure that you keep them away from prying paws. Switching to organic products, and using integrated pest management principles to manage natural insect populations can significantly reduce your reliance on chemicals in the garden. If you must use chemicals, ensure that you keep your pets away while you’re spraying, and even for a little while afterwards to ensure their safety.
Make sure to provide plenty of shade
Hot Australian summers can be difficult for animals that stay outside all day. Make sure you incorporate some shady areas into your landscape to ensure your pooch can get out of the sun during the hottest part of the day. You might also consider adding a water feature where they can cool off.