Designing your garden can be one of the most exciting projects you do – but when you have 4 pawed friends to consider, a lot more factors come into play. Considering aspects like safety and security for everyone can be done without completely tearing up your space. 

Here are the top 10 tips for designing a pet-friendly garden that strikes a balance between aesthetics and practicality.

white dog playing on green grass in a pet friendly garden

Choosing Pet Safe Plants

Some plants, believe it or not, can be incredibly toxic to pets, so it’s important to choose wisely what you plant to avoid any nasty accidents. Some common plants like lilies, azaleas, and daffodils can be harmful if ingested. It’s best to choose pet-friendly options such as marigolds, sunflowers, and pet grass, which are safe for your furry friends.

Create Shade and Shelter

Pets, especially dogs, require a shaded area to cool off during hot weather. Incorporate shady spots in your garden by planting trees or using structures like gazebos or pergolas. You should also consider adding a small pet house or sheltered nooks where your pets can retreat during rain showers or when they simply want some quiet time.

Secure Boundaries

Boundaries are of the utmost importance when designing a safe space for your pets. Sturdy fences that have height to them will be able to prevent dogs from jumping over and escaping, whereas for cats it’s best to consider using cat proof fencing or a ‘catio’. 

brown cat walking through plants in a pet friendly garden

Avoid Harmful Chemicals

Protecting what you grow is a good idea, but make sure you’re being weary of the chemicals you’re using. Fertilisers, herbicides, and pesticides tend to contain toxins that can be dangerous to your pets. Luckily, pet-friendly alternatives exist so you don’t need to worry about your animals roaming near your patches. 

Create Pathways and Zones

Designate specific pathways and zones within your garden to guide your pets’ movements. This helps prevent them from trampling delicate plants or digging in unwanted areas. Use materials such as gravel or stepping stones to create clear pathways that are easy for pets to navigate.

Provide Water Sources

During hot weather, your pet must be able to have an easily accessible fresh water source. 

You can use pet-friendly fountains or shallow bowls can be strategically placed throughout the garden without ruining the aesthetic. This will not only keep your pets hydrated but also add a beautiful element to your outdoor space.

Pet-Friendly Features

Introducing pet-friendly features like a sandbox where dogs can dig (instead of the flowerbed) can help your pets get their zoomies out whilst protecting the garden. Scratching posts and man-made hiding spots can also help cats satisfy their natural instincts. 

Protect Your Garden

If you’re truly about your flowerbeds and growing patches, there are some friendly ways to protect your plants. Using barriers or raised beds will help to keep delicate plants from being trampled or dug up by your pets. You could also install low fences or use decorative rocks to create boundaries, preventing access to areas where you want to keep your pets away.

grey and white rabbit in the grass in a pet friendly garden

Durable Materials

Wear and tear is only natural, especially from weathering, but choosing durable materials for hardscaping parts of your garden can make this a lot harder. Natural stone, concrete, or composite decking can withstand the wear and tear of pets running around and playing. Look into finding scratch proof or slip proof elements too if you want an extra security blanket. 

Regular Maintenance

Wear and tear is pretty much unavoidable – but by maintaining your garden you can help protect your pets from any hazards that might be lying around. Regularly inspect your space for any sharp bits of wood or plastic.

By following these top 10 tips, you can create a beautiful outdoor space that accommodates your furry friends and puts your mind to rest, so you can relax in the sun properly. It will not only provide endless entertainment for your pets but also strengthen the bond and get you more time outdoors. 

lily meyers author

Lily Meyers is a creative copywriter with a flare and focus on anything outdoors. When she’s not out and about chasing her dog, you can find her typing away her next angle at her desk.