©istockphoto/Chris Bernard Photography Inc.

How to Create a Dog Proof Garden

With the arrival of warmer weather comes the inevitable desire to hone your green thumb. After all, what better way to celebrate the season than by adding new life to your yard? Ensure that your efforts aren’t thwarted by avoidable issues like accidental poisoning or overenthusiastic paws with our guide to creating a dog proof garden.

Do Your Research
Before investing in any sort of greenery, you’re going to want to do a little preliminary research. After all, there’s no sense in going to the trouble of planting a beautiful bed of English Ivy only to discover that it’s incredibly toxic. It’s not hard to suss out which plants are dangerous for dogs, a simple Internet search should do the trick. That being said, always double check with a pro if you’re not sure. In this case, it’s always better to be safe than sorry.

Create a Buffer Zone
Even the most well trained dogs occasionally stray from their designated zone and it doesn’t take much for delicate flowers to be trampled to death. Avoid their untimely demise by creating a buffer zone of more robust plants to prevent your dog from inadvertently squashing your blooms. Creeping flowers like periwinkle are a great option, as are low hedges and decorative grasses.

Provide a Playground
Your dog is less likely to want to destroy your carefully designed garden if he’s distracted by something better. In this case, an area of your yard created with him in mind should do the trick quite nicely. If you’ve got the space, consider designating a specific dog zone with enough grass to romp around on. Add a couple of special outside-only toys and a water bowl and you’ve got yourself a puppy paradise. He’ll be so happy that he won’t even notice your tulips.

©istockphoto/cjp
©istockphoto/cjp

Pave the Way
Dogs are, for the most part, quite clever. They can, for instance, be taught to use a designated path relatively easily. If you’re trying to dissuade your dog from taking a shortcut through your perennials, try rerouting him by teaching him to use a specific path. Lay down some stones (make sure they won’t hurt his paws, otherwise he’ll avoid it) or wood chips to create a clear area that he knows he’s allowed to walk on. Show him how to do it and praise him effusively when he successfully navigates the new route. Before you know it, he’ll stick to the path and you can breathe easier, knowing your blooms will live to see another day.

Try Some Training
Spending some time with your dog teaching him what’s okay and what isn’t can go a long way when it comes to creating backyard unity. If you notice that your pooch find certain plants irresistible, follow him outside and give him a stern no when you see him engaging in the bad behaviour. Lavish him with compliments when he obeys your command and offer him something else to do instead. Some dogs are more stubborn than others, making this a longer process but ultimately, he should be able to catch on. Dogs need boundaries so don’t be afraid to set some.

Fence It In
So you’ve tried everything and still, you’re dealing with muddy paws and uprooted flowers. Instead of throwing in the proverbial towel, why not put up a few fences? Unless you’ve got a jumper on your hands (in which case, we’re so sorry), a well-placed barricade is generally enough to keep your four-legged gardener at bay. There are plenty of fencing options that are bound to suit your taste and compliment your garden as well. In a pinch, some mesh netting can do the trick while you work on training.