Garden Dirt

Tips and Tricks for Keeping Gardens Pet Friendly

We often create gardens outside our homes to produce a haven for ourselves and our family. For a lot of folks, family frequently includes four-legged friends who adore an adventure around the landscape. In these cases, gardeners should keep in mind a few tips and tricks to keep the garden safe for, as well as from, our loving pets.

Plant Safe Choices

There are plenty of furry companions out there who can’t help but taste everything that appears in front of their snout. More than likely that menu includes plant material. Always check new plants before rooting in the yard for any type of toxicity to your pets and avoid thorny blooms that could cause injury. ASPCA has an in-depth list of pet-friendly plants on their website ( if researching online or you can chat with a garden-center specialist about the best choices for your home.

Mulches to Watch

Mulch should also be considered when creating a pet-friendly garden. Avoid dye-colored mulch as well as cacao mulch products. For the pups who enjoy chewing on sticks and digging in the yard, mulch can become a treat. However, the dye & cacao used in some mulches can irritate a dog’s digestive system. Natural mulch is the best choice for pet-owners and it adds an organic look to your garden. Can’t resist the darker colors of cacao? Try adding a barrier of some sort along the edging of your mulch to help deter your dog from the area.


It’s especially important to watch your pets closer than usual when you fertilize the landscape, especially for the first few hours after treatment. There are products out there that can create problems for any animal, so sometimes the best bet is to use something that will be harmless. Give worm castings a shot in your garden, or fish fertilizers. Composted manure is a great alternative as well. No matter what you choose, be sure to follow the directions and keep the animals away for a secure amount of time.

Hostas as Barriers

Usually the garden takes more abuse than it gives, and that’s where we can become really creative with our landscape. To avoid trampled plants in the yard from your furry friends, install some larger plant material that protect the smaller ones. Try using some hardy hostas or helleborus around the edge of your garden. This will help dissuade the pets from crossing the line when a loftier plant is in the way.

The Coffee Trick

Coffee beans are a smart way to keep your fuzzy ones from the garden as the smell of coffee is commonly avoided by dogs. Spread a handful of beans in the spots you don’t want traveled and voilà!

Extra Tips

Trodden-plants crisis averted. Containers and raised beds can also be used to prevent new flowers from being squished. Worst case scenario? Install small fences around the garden in order to have a physical barrier between the plants and the pets.

Lastly, give your loved one their own spot in the yard! Install a doggy sandbox along with safe, ornamental grasses to create a retreat for your pup, or design pathways around your plants for cats who love to explore. Make sure your garden is not only pleasing aesthetically but is also a trustworthy environment for anyone who enters, four-legged friends included.

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One Comment

  1. Hi Zebra, I am also thinking to make my garden pet-friendly. I think you make it easy to do this. Your tips are too handy for keep gardens pet-friendly. I will apply your tips when I am going to make this. Thanks for the helping me.

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