By Sarah Wilson
It is possible to have a gorgeous garden and a dog. Or two even. Gardening guru Monty Don is proof of that. Dogs can't believe their luck this year as they've never spent so much time in the garden with everyone working from home. This means your space might be looking a little frayed around the edges, particularly if you have a young dog that you've recently acquired during lockdown (constant nagging from the kids has clearly paid off on that front). It's easy to get things back on track though with a few easy tweaks to keep your garden both dog friendly and looking good.
To get you heading in the right direction, we've looked to Monty Don for some garden ideas to inspire your dog-friendly garden makeover. Read on for our top tips, and if you want to see even more of Monty and his canine companions, take a look at his site.
1. Make sure your garden is escape proof
A photo posted by @themontydon on Aug 8, 2020 at 12:27pm PDT
Look at your boundaries, checking behind trees and shrubs too. Fences need to be secure and in a good state of repair, as small dogs can wiggle through the narrowest gap. Big dogs can jump and small dogs can climb so make sure your fences or walls are high enough to keep them from hurdling over. Check gates regularly to see that they are fastened securely as it’s easy for clever canines to nose them open.
2. Choose plants carefully
Flowers in the summer garden may look lovely but some can be a hazard for dogs so it’s best not to plant them in the first place in case your dog is tempted to nibble. Sweet peas, delphiniums, foxgloves, hydrangea and chrysanthemum are all potentially toxic so should be avoided. When it comes to shrubs, give yew, oleander and pieris a miss for the same reason.
3. Opt for raised beds to avoid trashing
Young dogs in particular will love to run riot through your carefully nurtured garden borders, leaving a trail of destruction behind them. You could try to partition areas off but an easier option is to lift your plants up to protect them. Fill raised beds or large troughs with any delicate varieties that won’t take being trampled on at ground level. If all else fails, you could also try distracting your dog with a sprinkler...
4. Go chemical free
A photo posted by @themontydon on Aug 7, 2020 at 11:37am PDT
Make your garden as green and eco-friendly as possible. Not only your dogs but wildlife too will thank you for it. In particular, don’t use chemicals to zap nasty slugs and snails, as dogs aren’t adverse to hoovering these up and will ingest the poison. Instead choose organic pellets or other non-toxic methods. Avoid chemical weedkillers too and don’t add cleaning products to water features and ponds in case your dog is tempted to drink from them.
5. Accessorise the space
Your dog enjoys spending time in the garden as much as you do so give it a dog-friendly makeover. Add a stylish outdoor bed for your pet to lounge on and maybe something like this personalised snuggle blanket from Not On The High Street. If you don't have any trees for natural shade in your garden, remember to create some for your pooch with a small parasol and even a paddling pool to cool their paws on a scorching day. Provide a good supply of toys outside to keep your pet amused, and you might want to create a small area for digging and hide a toy or two there to keep them occupied. Alternatively create a fun ball pit if they prefer activities of the throw and retrieve kind. We're sure Monty would approve.
Sarah Wilson has been a lifestyle journalist for many years, writing about gardens since 2015. She's written for Gardeningetc.com, Livingetc, Homes & Gardens, as well as Country Homes & Interiors and Modern Gardens magazines.
Her own (small urban) garden is a work in progress - so many ideas, not enough space to cram them in. Hero plants include her ever growing collection of ornamental grasses, black bamboo and ferns, and the perennials like salvias and penstemons that come back reliably year after year. All very restrained though when in fact she'd love to pack her garden with gaudy dahlias and giant cannas, so these are top of her wish list for what to grow next.
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