Good site planning and proper plant selection provide the blueprint for a successful dog friendly yard …
Get creative and make it fun! There are lots of plants, vines, and shrubs that can thrive alongside your four-legged friends.
Careful selection of woody shrubs will serve your need for a beautiful yard and your dog’s need to patrol and play. You can hide perimeter wear and tear (and other possible eyesores like old fences, utility boxes..etc.) with the colorful leaves or flowering branches of a variety of sturdy shrubs. Many woody shrubs tolerate aggressive pruning and will stand up to most canine activities …
Here are five recommended hardy shrubs for dog-friendly gardens:
3. Red-Twig Dogwood
4. Blackhaw Viburnum
5. Smoke Tree
These species don’t mind the soil compaction created by heavy paw traffic and generally do well around kids and dogs …
Vines can be another good choice in a pet friendly yard. They draw the eye up and add height and volume to your floral displays. They grow and spread quickly which can mask any problem areas with attractive visual interest …
Try these tough vines as part of your dog-friendly landscape:
1. Trumpet Vine
2. Honeysuckle Vine
3. Caroline Jasmine
5. Hardy Asparagus Vine
Another must in a yard shared with canine friends are durable groundcovers. These low growing powerhouses are terrific planted in rock gardens, on slopes, as accents to flower beds, or between stepping stones. They can tolerate rolling, tossing, turning and getting stepped on. The right soft groundcovers are great for a doggy nap area, or for you to walk on in bare feet. They are pretty and very practical, not needing much care or maintenance …
Here are the top five groundcovers we recommend for a dog friendly yard:
1. Labrador Violet
2. Elfin Thyme
3. Snow in Summer
4. Irish Moss
5. Miniature Stonecrop
The plants listed above are more likely to stand up over time to both Mother Nature and canine interactions. A little site planning and preparation, and careful plant selections can make your life easier and make for an enjoyable oasis for your pooch!
The ASPCA web site www.aspca.org/toxicplants has a complete list of toxic and harmful plants.
Some of the best suited dog-friendly plants for your yard are native species. Natural durability and sturdy growth habits make native plants a perfect fit for backyards shared with our pooches. In spite of bitter cold, searing heat, drought and floods, they bloom year after year. These plants are better able to handle what pets throw at them.
Many stunning plants make their ancestral homes in the U.S. – columbine, phlox, black-eyed Susan, honeysuckle, sunflower and many other colorful, hardy, disease resistant varieties. Another benefit of landscaping with natives is that they tend to attract local wildlife, particularly beneficial insects such as bees and butterflies, which pollinate garden fruit, flowers, and vegetable crops …
The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) publishes a list of plants (at www.aspca.org) that are toxic to dogs and cats. The list includes more than 80 flowers, shrubs and trees, including many common plants such as lilies, tulip and narcissus bulbs, azaleas, rhododendrons and yew.
Chewing on the branches, stems, roots, seedpods, etc., of many of these plants can cause a variety of ugly symptoms, from vomiting and diarrhea to drooling, twitching and even death. But that doesn’t mean you can’t have these plants in your yard. The bottom line is to exercise caution, especially if your dog has indiscriminate eating habits. Much of the risk lies in your dog’s personality and how he uses your outdoor environment …
Pet owners should try to break dogs of their plant-nibbling habits. In addition, unsupervised or bored dogs are more likely to eat troublesome greens – so make sure your dog is exercised daily …
Take your canine friend for a long walk and a rousing frisbee or ball toss & fetch session. A happy, tired dog is much less likely to get into mischief or exhibit nuisance behavior such as munching on your posies, digging in your garden, or excessive barking at passersby.