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Create a Pet-Friendly Garden

Learn how to make your garden a pet-friendly retreat.

Cat in the garden

Avoid poisonous plants

Dogs and cats love to nibble on plants, so avoid ones known to be irritating or toxic. Common garden plants that can harm your pet include flamingo lily, castor bean, foxglove, jasmine, and oleander and tomato plants. Pet-friendly plants, on the other hand, include bamboo, cat nip, lavender and marigold. You should also try to avoid adding garden plants with spikes or thorns, as they may harm or injure your pet if they get too close.
Plant in groups

Plant in groups

The best way to curb your pet's destructive garden tendencies is to let him or her burn off that exuberant energy in a nearby park. A well-exercised dog will use yard time to hang out with their human friends and relax, rather than digging up your plants. Try to add plants in groups instead of solitary plants, as your pet will likely to go around large groupings rather than trample through them. Keep house cats out of your flowerbeds by tightly massing plants and covering any bare dirt with ground cover like wild thyme or periwinkle. Net fragile, young vegetable beds until the plants are big enough to crowd out any four-legged intruders.
Woman lying with a dog

Use organic fertilizers

Always opt for organic materials in your garden if you have pets or young children. There are many organic fertilizers available that can provide the same vital nutrients for your lawn and garden, and are safe for children and pets. Making your own pet-friendly fertilizer through composting at home is another option that can yield excellent results.
Dog lying in the shade

Set up shade

If your yard is lacking shade, add trees or tall perennials to your landscape to provide some relief for your pet from the hot sun. Adding cedar chips around the base of trees creates comfy resting spots that your pet can enjoy. It also provides excellent mulch. If your pet spends lots of time in your garden, always make sure fresh, clean water is accessible. Place several outdoor water bowls around the yard in case one gets tipped over.
Dog lying on the lawn

Install an access door

Allow unrestricted access to your yard with a pet access door, if possible. You can find a variety of styles suited to both regular and patio doors at your local The Home Depot store. If dirty paws are a problem, limit your pet's indoor access to a shady or cool mudroom, sunroom or kitchen by closing doors or installing baby gates.

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