Many people are under the impression that it’s impossible to own a pet and boast a pristine garden at the same time.
This couldn’t be further from the truth; you can make your garden safe for pets if you simply make a few cost-effective tweaks.
From carefully considering the plants you put in your garden to laying out clear paths and borders, people and their pets can have a space to enjoy together. Here are seven top tips to make your garden safe for pets.
Pet friendly plants
Boisterous cats and dogs can damage young plants or those with fragile, delicate stems by running through them or digging them up, so it’s best to plant landscape areas densely and with strong, robust plants.
Hardy lavender or romp-proof shrubs and perennials are ideal to be placed at the front of a border or around the edges, with more brittle plants placed in the centre, where they’ll be protected.
Pet friendly plants include peppermint, rosemary, milk thistle, roses, jasmine, lavender, orchids and African daisies. Pet grasses are ideal as they are excellent digestive supplement.
Avoid thorny and toxic plants
Soft paw pads and exposed eye areas are sadly the perfect target for thorny and spiny plants, so try to steer clear of them altogether in order to avoid any canine casualties.
Similarly, there are various plants and flowers such as lilies, azaleas and castor bean that can be highly toxic to animals, and certain weeds like foxtail grasses can be dangerous as animals may accidentally inhale the barbed seed heads.
Provide shade and shelter
Like humans, various animals enjoy nothing more than basking in the sun, but cats and dogs can also overheat easily so it’s important to provide some kind of outdoor shelter where they can retire to escape the sun’s rays.
Consider thick bushes that your cat can enjoy climbing into and hiding from the world. Dogs will need somewhere to shelter from the sun, perhaps a parasol or under garden furniture, preferably with access to clean drinking water.
Making your garden safe for pets
Some animals are likely to try and dig under fences – particularly naughty pooches – so make sure your borders are secure at the base. Dogs can jump surprisingly high too, so make sure your fence is at least 6ft tall if you don’t want them escaping.
Additionally, you will need to make sure your fence doesn’t have gaps or holes that can let other animals in – or allow your adventurous pet to escape.
Lastly, if your garden has a gate, make sure it’s one that closes automatically rather than accidentally staying open and providing an escape opportunity.
If your garden boasts any water features or ponds, make sure not to add any additives as animals may be tempted to drink from them. Similarly, steer clear of any harsh, non-organic chemicals and pesticides such as slug pellets, as these could be harmful to your pet if they end up scoffing a slug or snail.
Toxic products can cause diarrhoea and vomiting in cats and dogs if ingested. Even better, avoid pesticides and chemicals in weed killers entirely by pulling out the weeds by hand.
Make use of borders
To prevent your pet ruining your garden entirely, create a designated area for play or digging using sand or mulch, and create clearly defined boundaries. A low-growing box hedge will separate this area from the rest of your garden.
Try encouraging your cat to stay in the garden by planting thick vegetation around the fence. This will make it harder for them to get out whilst also making your garden a fun place that they want to stay in.
Lay out clear paths
Laying out clear paths for your dogs to run and patrol will satisfy your pooch’s need to perform their job – to keep watch of your property and ward off intruders – whilst giving them designated space to exercise.
Sacrifice a few feet along the fence for a perimeter path or if your dog has already created their own path through the garden, turn their well-worn routes into proper pathways.