Yes, you can have a beautiful garden to relax in and a place where your pet can run and chase squirrels. Here are seven ideas for designing a pet-friendly yard, from the garden and home improvement experts at Harrowsmith magazine.
Remember that dirt equals mud. Chances are you know where your pet likes to travel in the yard. A beaten-down path through the lawn and garden is your cue to put down a hard surface like patio slabs or interlocking brick. Dirt, after all, becomes mud — especially in the fall and spring.
Cool it. Plant trees or large-growing shrubs on the south and west sides of your yard to provide shade for your pet during the hottest parts of the day.
Deal with the “unmentionable.” Dogs are famous for burning the grass where they squat to urinate. The solution is to dilute the urea, which is what causes the lawn to die in patches, by hosing down your lawn when you see the culprit do its business. When brown patches occur, have a bucket of pre-moistened sand-and-grass-seed mix standing by.
Keep in mind that cats are attracted to dry soil. Discourage them from using your garden as a latrine by keeping the soil under your soffit and fascia moist. Orange peel and scented plants, like lemon geraniums, lavender, basil and verbena, can also discourage cats. Never use moth balls, which are poisonous to humans and could be picked up by young children.
Choose plants wisely. Avoid plants that are poisonous or harmful to animals, including common ones such as boxwood, clematis, daffodil, foxglove, hosta, hydrangea, lily of the valley, periwinkle, tomato (leaves) and many more. Research before you plant to be safe.
Don’t forget that dogs like to dig. You can discourage them by placing chicken wire over areas in the garden that your dog likes to frequent. Or create a space for your dog to dig and fence it in.
Give your pets water. A visit to your pet supply store will introduce you to all kinds of innovative gizmos that can provide your pet with access to fresh water. To make it easy on yourself, locate your pet’s water station near a faucet.
Find more gardening, pet and home improvement ideas at harrowsmithmag.com.