Planting Schemes for Gardens with Dogs
Gardens with dogs in them usually face some increase in wear and tear.
This being said, by planning and adapting your garden wisely, you can minimise the potential for damage, and quite successfully enjoy an attractive garden in the company of your dog.
When planning changes to the layout of your garden, it is a good idea to take into account the established routes and pathways favoured by your dog.
Dogs, like humans, are creatures of habit, and it is a lot easier to plan around the paths your dog uses rather than redirect your dog.
Borders around the periphery of the garden are generally much less likely to incur damage from dogs crashing through them than flower beds in central areas.
Damage often occurs in borders situated between open areas of lawn or paving.
Dogs often charge straight through these to get from one area to another, and plants may be trampled and crushed. Likewise, flowerbeds situated between the back door to the house and the main area of the garden often suffer as dogs run through them in the excitement of being let outdoors.
In such cases, there are several options to be considered.
You may decide the easiest option is to remove flowerbeds from central areas. Laying such areas to lawn will reduce maintenance and also provide more space for play.
Another solution is to create a formal pathway through a border. A path made of bricks, stone or slabs along the route your dog normally takes can resolve such issues, allowing the majority of the planting to be intact.
As a third option, you could try using robust plants in flowerbeds that your dog passes through.
Some plants are remarkably resilient, and will stand up to dogs crashing around in them.
Cheryl S. Smith, in her book DOG FRIENDLY GARDENS - GARDEN FRIENDLY DOGS (available HERE from Dogwise notes how she found success in planting a lavender garden in a border between her back door and main lawn area.
She found that the lavender not only stood up to her dogs running through it, but also had the added bonus of making the dogs smell nice when they did so!
In the long-run, many dog owners find it best to pave routes that dogs use frequently.
Lawn maintance may become an impossible task as paths become worn to bare earth, and muddy in wet weather.
Plantpots, Hanging Baskets & Container Planting
Plant pots, troughs, tubs, barrels and baskets may all be used to grow plants in relative safety.
Containers offer protection to plants that may be trampled and damaged if grown in flowerbeds and borders. Pots themselves can provide added colour, with lots of attractive designs and styles available.
Be aware that plant pots and containers can be attractive marking posts for male dogs.
Plant pots are very useful to dog owners, in that they provide a relatively safe growing environment for plants and flowers. Male dogs may use pots as territorial markers, and plants may suffer for the high levels of nitrogen in dog urine. To avoid this, invest in taller pots where the plants will be 'out of range'.
Alternatively, try raising smaller pots by placing them on bricks, tree stumps or other raised surfaces.
Plant Theatres provide a lovely way to display potted plants, especially in areas where space is limited.
.Delicate plants can be placed on the upper tiers out of your dog's reach. Trailing plants are effective if placed on upper levels. Try Nasturtiums or trailing Impatiens varieties.
Remember to ensure that plant pots are stable, and situated away from main through-routes.
This should reduce the chances of pots being knocked over. Pots with wider bases are preferable as they are naturally more stable than those with wider brims that narrow towards the bottom.
Arrange pots in groups along walls or beside structures and other features.
Grouping pots provides protection and is also visually effective.
Try surrounding pots with large stones, pebbles and other objects.
This will provide further stability, protection and can also look very attractive.
Hanging baskets can provide the ultimate safe planting space out of your dog's reach.
Hanging baskets can be hung from may sites; try hanging them from tree branches as well as man-made structures.
Planting containers designed to be attached to walls or fence-posts are also useful for adding colour.
Greenhouses and cold frames with polycarbonate glazing, rather than glass, are recomended for gardens with dogs and other pets.
Polycarbonate pannels are much stronger than glass, and much less likely to break if a dog or cat runs into them. When space or finances are limited, a smaller growhouse may be a good option.