Dog Friendly Garden Landscaping

10 Sep 2020

Our four-legged family members are so important to us. We alter our homes where we need to, so why not our garden too.
If you’ve been thinking about landscaping your garden, but have been putting off just in case its not dog friendly? We’ve put together some great landscaping ideas for your garden, all with those little furry friends in mind.

Space to roll

Most dog owners look for a grassy patch to enable your pups to roll around and enjoy the feel of it on them. We are absolutely on board with this! We know that dogs love a bit of grass to roll on, especially in summer, to help keep them cool. They also tend to eat it if they have a bad stomach. We definitely recommend keeping a patch of cooling grass in your landscape design.
Artificial grass may have crossed your mind as an easy fix to getting some grass without the maintenance, and the risk of your pooch turning it yellow. While these are very valid points, there’s a few other things to consider. In the summer, especially as the UK is now experiencing hotter summers than ever, this artificial grass conducts heat. Where grass usually keeps cool thanks to the soil underneath, artificial does not have its own cooling system. In 2020, a vet tested the temperature of a patch of grass and a patch of artificial grass with the same degree of direct sunlight, the artificial grass showed over 20 degrees Celsius higher. So if you are looking to make the swap, make sure you can block it off in summer so your pooch can’t burn those precious pads!

Hard pathways and walking spaces

Something that is often overlooked when designing a garden with dogs in mind, is hard pathways and patios. Your dog needs these just as much as the soft lawn. Especially if time is tight some days and they aren’t getting as much of a walk on the pavement.
These hard surfaces help to keep those claws shorter for longer, reducing how often you need to have their claws clipped.
We advise you to avoid stones and pebbles in your doggy garden where possible. We have a couple of reasons for this; firstly, this may encourage them to dig as they can often see them moving as a game, it also only takes one sharp stone mid excited dig to cut a paw. Secondly, we know some dogs are scavengers and will eat almost anything. This is not something you want to be taking them to the vet for.

Secure your perimeter

It may sound extreme to say secure your perimeter, but there is nothing worse than the worry of an escaped pup!
If you have hedges rather than a secure fencing we recommend investing in some strong chicken wire. To make this blend into the background, you can trim your hedges right back, then they will grow through the holes in the wire, essentially making it invisible. It may also be worth burying the bottom of the wire. Take it down as far as you can, or as far as you imagine your dog being able to dig it up. You can also use something like tent pegs to hold the bottom of the fence down. This is great if your dog isn’t much of a digger.

Pup friendly plants

There are many plants for your garden that are absolutely safe for your dog, whether they are just rubbing against them, or decide they don’t like the look of a flower and eat it to save you the trouble of removing it. There are also a few that are unsafe for dogs. These are best avoided completely. Even if you plan to put these somewhere you think your dog can’t get to, they may take a liking to them and do whatever they can to get them, or they may have a hand from other wildlife, dropping them off parts of the plant. To ensure that you keep your pooch as safe as possible we have compiled a list of plants/ flowers to give a miss:

  • Aconitum
  • Amaryllis bulbs
  • Asparagus fern
  • Azalea
  • Begonias
  • Bergenia (elephants ears)
  • Cyclamen
  • Daffodil bulbs (the flowers aren’t dangerous)
  • Delphiniums
  • Digitalis (Foxgloves)
  • Hemerocallis (Day Lilies)
  • Hemlock
  • Hyacinth
  • Hydrangea
  • Ivy
  • Laburnum
  • Lily of the valley
  • Lupins
  • Morning glory
  • Nightshade
  • Oleander
  • Rhododendron
  • Rhubarb leaves
  • Sweet pea
  • Tulip bulbs
  • Umbrella plant
  • Wisteria
  • Yew


The dog zone

Finally, we want to mention the dog zone! Now, in a smaller garden there may not be the space to introduce this kind of area, however, in bigger gardens where you have the space it’s a great idea to add into your landscape design. It will help keep your dogs entertained and may discourage them from destroying the rest of the garden.
Most dogs love water, especially in the summer, and many dog owners invest in a paddling pool, just for our furry friends. If you have the space for a dog zone, we recommend burying this into the ground. Whether you look at a children’s plastic pool (we know the blue shell is a firm favourite) or a very shallow pond, you can keep this at ground level, ready for whenever your pooch wants a dip. We recommend ensuring that the ground around this is as non-slip as possible.
If you have a dog that loves to dig, you can even create their own digging area. By encouraging them to dig in this area alone, maybe even hiding a toy or two, they are more likely to leave your flower beds alone.
And for those who love a good tug, how about a tug or war wall? If you have a wall in your garden or a space for a small wall you can embed hooks that you can attach toys to, giving them endless fun as there’s no one to let go!

Here at Abingdons we love dogs too. So if there’s anything we can do to help you make your garden dog friendly, get in touch with us today. From a complete new landscape (for you and your pup to explore) to just those few garden jobs that need doing, we’re happy to help. To see some of our work, take a look at our galleries page.

Abingdon's Complete Garden Service Ltd.,
50 Meadowside,
Abingdon, Oxfordshire
OX14 5DX
01235 533193