Dog friendly garden

Have you been longing for a special garden that you can share with your treasured pet, but you’re worried your active dog will damage your new plants? Do you dream of a beautiful back yard in which to entertain your friends, but no matter what you’ve tried, “Torrie” seems to find a way to dig up or destroy your best efforts? Is it even possible to have a garden co-exist with a large dog?

Yes, it’s definitely possible with proper planning, design and realistic expectations. As a member of the family, your dog’s preferences and needs should be included in the landscape design as much as yours.

The first questions you need to ask are: “How do you hope to use your yard? How does your dog use the outdoor space? What is your dog’s personality, size, and exercise habits?  Will he have his own area or will you be sharing?

More than that, what uses could you imagine for your yard? Would a new terrace or gazebo inspire more al fresco dining? Do you want flower beds, a vegetable garden, or an herb garden? Would children enjoy having their own special area? And once again, how does a dog tie into all these dreams?

Solutions Abound

Some dogs like to patrol the perimeter of the garden.  A design that takes this into consideration can actually turn a problem into a feature.  Creation of paths and proper placement of plants will encourage your dog to stay out of designated garden beds.  Patios, fences and screens are also very effective ways of dealing with possible behavior problems.

Some dogs are diggers, so why not set aside a space for that activity?  If they insist on digging craters by your front door, a dry stream bed can be an attractive alternative and the rocks will discourage digging.

Of course, there is the all important “bathroom” area to consider.  In addition to the typical lawn, consider materials like crushed gravel, wood chips or bark, depending on the overall style of the garden and what look you are hoping to achieve.  Bark and woodchips blend discretely in a woodland garden while crushed gravel is a natural in a Mediterranean setting.

Your plant choices should likewise be appropriate to the size and nature of your dog.  While it goes without saying that you don’t want to plant anything that could be harmful if your dog decided to nibble on it, you also want to choose plants that don’t attract pests — so you won’t need to use chemicals that could be harmful to your pet. Many flowering shrubs are beautiful, tough, and drought tolerant once established.

As you can probably tell from the tone of this article, nearly 80% of our clients have one or more dogs.  We understand how to create beautiful outdoor spaces that both you and your dog love to spend time in together.

Taking the time to evaluate your needs, desires, and those of your dog can really pay off.  If you’d like help, please visit our website at www.northwestbotanicals.com to see some “before and after” photos of yards we’ve designed for people and their best fur friends, or call us at 206-932-1850 for more information.

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