How to make your garden pet friendly
If you’re lucky enough to have a garden for your pets, it’s quite a good idea to optimise that space for them and make it into a safe area they can enjoy – as well as somewhere that will attract wildlife so that you can do your bit for the environment, but where do you start? This week we’re looking at some of the things you can do to make your garden into a great space for your pet, whilst attracting nature at the same time.
Schnauzer photo by Chris on Unsplash
A secure fence
This probably goes without saying but a high, strong secure fence is a must when keeping dogs in your garden. Even if your dog is unlikely to wander, they could become frightened by something unexpected like fireworks or thunder and make a swift exit when you least expect it. If you have a hedge around your perimeter make sure that any gaps are fenced off and that your dog can’t squeeze under the gate or jump out anywhere. If you want to encourage walking wildlife into your garden – such as hedgehogs - then make a small hole somewhere for them to get through, as long as it’s not so big that your dog can squeeze through it too!
Although you don’t have to grass over your whole garden, an area of lawn is a good idea for dogs and cats. Somewhere to run about and play, lie down and roll about. Grass feels good underfoot and they usually enjoy eating a little bit too.
Paths and paving
If you have pathways through your garden then pave them or use concrete because this is much kinder to paws than using gravel or slate which can get stuck in paws or present a choking hazard for your pet. They will also be less likely to kick stones onto the grass if they are running about, if there are no stones in the first place.
Greenhouse photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash
Somewhere to dig
Some dogs love to dig and whilst this shouldn’t be encouraged in your lawn or flowerbeds, you can create a dedicated digging space for them, either with a small sandpit or muddy patch where they can follow their instincts without digging up your roses.
Plant some trees and shrubs to create some shade for your dog. Generally if you’re at home you’ll find that your dog wants to be wherever you are so by creating some shade for them it means they have their own spot to rest in whilst you are gardening or entertaining, without getting too hot.
If you’re choosing things to plant then go for sturdy shrubs such as Lavender, Roses, Antirrhinum (Snapdragons), Michaelmas daisies, Camelia, Honeysuckle and Sunflowers.
Don't use chemicals and pesticides on your plants as these can be harmful to pets and wildlife. Hedgehogs love to feast on slugs and snails which is great for protecting anything you have planted so it’s a really good idea to encourage them and other natural predators into your garden if you can, rather than using harmful chemicals.
Hedgehog photo by Alexas_Fotos on Unsplash
Grow some herbs
Try growing some herbs in your garden to attract bees and butterflies. Some pet friendly herbs include: Basil, Thyme, Rosemary, Mint, Lemon balm and Sage.
Making a space for wildlife
Create a haven for wildlife by leaving a small area untouched where you can encourage bees and butterflies and other insects – which then attract birds and small mammals to come and enjoy the space.
Put out a shallow dish of water – especially during the warmer months - so that animals and birds have something to drink.
Birdfeeder photo by Stefan Fluck on Unsplash
These can attract al kinds of birds to your garden, based on the types of nuts and seeds you are feeding. Just be careful to position your feeder in such a way that cats can’t get to them.
Bird and bat boxes and hedgehog houses or feeding stations will encourage creatures to breed or feed in a safe space. Again make sure that any bird or bat boxes are positioned in such away that cats cannot access them and make sure that your pets can’t get into a hedgehog house or eat any food you put out. If you know that you have got hedgehogs visiting your garden then make sure you keep an eye on your dog when letting them out at night so that they don’t chase them or end up with a mouthful of prickles.
Do you have some tips for making a pet friendly garden, that’s also a haven for wildlife? As always, let us know in the comments section below.
Main photo by Hiro Takashima on Unsplash