Making Eden

Tailoring gardens to suit your budget

Helpful Hints

Helpful Hints

Dogs and Gardens

Posted on December 13, 2015 at 4:10 AM

Sharing your yard with a dog and losing your garden? There are ways to have a nice garden and a happy dog at the same time.

Some of these are:


To keep dogs out of garden beds and other special parts of your yard, create a separate place for dogs to play. Pick a shaded area that has easy access to water. Basically making a yard within a yard is one of the most common and easiest fixes.

Line the ground with wood/bark chips, leaves, ground rubber tires or other type of mulch. You can fill it with a mix of sand of some soil. Digging dogs especially like sand. Beware of putting too much sand in the mix or it will not provide the feel of cool dirt that the dog likes. This is definately better for the dog than a concrete slab.

Turf areas:

If dog urine is leaving burn marks on your grass, douse the area with a hose to dilute the effect of the urine soon after the dog urinates. Urine is alkaline and contains salt that slightly alters the soil pH. Another strategy is to rake an inch of compost onto the area. The compost contains soil organisms that help balance the soil biology and chemistry.

Garden maintenance, desing and planning:

* Move compost piles out of the dog's reach. Some dogs are inclined to dig through or roll in the compost.

* If you need to stake plants or have young trees installed, don't use thin, invisible wires that dogs might run into. Tying plants to stakes with thin strips of cloth works with small plants. Rubber wire-guards or multiple flags on the wires often work well with tree-staking.

* Leave a gap between your fence and garden plots to allow for dogs who like to run alongside fences.

* Build raised beds for vegetables, ornamentals and other garden plants. This way, you would restrict the dog's access and your plantings would not be disturbed. Container gardens can be a good solution for pet people, and they are easier to maintain than sprawling garden beds.

* Since dirt, leaf, mulch and other types of paths can lead to muddy messes for pet guardians, consider creating paths from rocks, heavy gravel, concrete, bricks or pavers.

* If your dog's fence running or yard crisscrossing is wearing unwelcome paths in your yard, be resourceful. Turn your dog's favorite route into a decorative pathway and landscape around it. To keep dogs on track, line the path with raised beds or ornamental fencing.

Discouraging dogs:

It is not uncommon for dogs to investigate and trot around plants. But there are things you can do to minimize potential damage. Start by planting sturdy plants that can withstand most doggie play.

* Some attractive, vigorous plants include

Peony, creeping phlox, verbena, coneflower, black-eyed Susans, Shasta daisy, Liriope, Russian sage, Mexican primrose. Other plants that resist breakage include serviceberry, ninebark, mock orange, dogwood, lilac, pine, butterfly bush and quince.

* Tough shrubs include escallonia, laurel, Pieris, evergreen huckleberry and viburnum.

* Salt-tolerant groundcovers that thrive near the ocean or in alkaline deserts and do well in full sun.

* Thorned and prickly bushes such as barberry and hollies will discourage some dogs. But for safety's sake do not plant varieties with long, sharp thorns or points, such as yucca, because they might injure a dog's eyes.

* A mulch that's uncomfortable or uneasy to walk on can discourage pet traffic. One good choice is a thick carpet of pine cones.

* Other scented borders such as Dogbane, some citrus plants and chillis can help keep dogs at bay as well.

Dog digging:

*Some dogs like to dig and there isn't much you can do about it. Give your dog her own sandbox or other acceptable digging area. Deter the doig from where you dont want them digging by making the ground cover as uncomfortable as possible for them and tempting them where you do want them digging by burrying toys and treats for them to find.

* If your dog is digging out of boredom then maybe try some interactive toys such as Kongs to keep their minds occupied. (The ones which you can smear peanut butter or fill with treats) Rotate toys so that they will retain a special appeal.

* If your dog is digging in pursuit of prey, use humane, ecologically friendly ways to discourage other animals from entering your yard.

* If your dog is digging to find stuff to chew on or eat, she may have a dietary deficiency you need to address. You can try switching food and adding nutritious supplements and veggies.

Repairing dog dug holes and preventing them again:

* Add bricks and dirt to fill doggie holes. After scraping nails on the bricks, most dogs will get discouraged.

* If your dog likes to scrape up sections of your lawn, lay chicken wire, burying the edges deep so they cannot pull the wire out. Over this, lay thick, sturdy sod. Wire discourages digging in gardens as well.

* If your dog repeatedly digs in the same spot, he may be trying to reach some decaying underground. Cover those spots with brick squares or pavers topped by decorative planters.

* Put a pile of poop in the hole. This has stopped many a dog from digging.

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