Landscaping With Pets In Mind

When you have a beautiful outdoor space, your pets will naturally love to play there. But with their instincts for digging, eating plants and creating territories, pets can damage your attractive landscape design. Additionally, simply planting the wrong type of plants can also affect the health of your pet. The following tips will, however, help you to create a good-looking, landscaped environment that is also pet-friendly.
1. Use Resilient Grasses

You need to plant grasses that can withstand the effects of the nitrogen in the pet's urine. Cat and dog urine contains a high percentage of this concentrated nitrogen that can kill the grass in your lawn in addition to the bad odor it causes also. Seeding the lawn with resilient grasses like rye or fescue can keep your lawn looking lush and green. and withstand the negative effects of your pet's urine. 

If you can't go through the rigors of planting new grasses, you can create a special area for your pet to relieve itself. You can surround it with shrubs and teach your pet to do its business there. By implementing a sound regimen for this, along with a reward for their efforts, you’ll be able to form a habit they’ll continue to follow indefinitely. 

2. Avoid Toxic Plants

While it might not be immediately apparent, there are some potentially harmful plants out there that can adversely affect your canine and feline friends. For this reason, you should be mindful of the choice of plants that you’ll use in your landscaped environment. Read the labels and warnings, search online for a list of greenery to avoid or consult with your local garden center to make the best-informed decision for using the right plants, whilst achieving your desired aesthetic. Avoid planting shrubs like daffodils or hydrangeas as well as using mulch that contains cocoa bean hulls. Cocoa has a substance called theobromine, an ingredient used to make chocolate and other similar cocoa-based products harmful to pets. As much as possible, avoid chip and tree bark mulches that can lead to obstruction of the pet's respiratory tract if ingested.

3. Apply Safe Fertilizers

When choosing pet-friendly fertilizers for your garden, you should always try and use natural products. But don't assume that they are non-toxic because they are organic. Some organic formulas may contain animal products like fish meal, blood, or bone. Some pets may smell these ingredients, eat them and become sick. 

Also, if you must use synthetic fertilizers, you need to water the lawn properly, so that the fertilizer dissolves entirely. This will require that you keep your pets away from your lawn for at least one or two days. When you are adding fertilizer to your lawn, you should do the front yard first and allow your pets to play in the back (if you have one or the other). When the front yard is safe, you can fertilize the back yard and restrict the pets to the section which had been done previously. 

4. Stay Away from Harmful Herbicides

Traditional weed and pest controls may cause tummy upset in your pets. They may also cause long-term problems like cancer. So the best option is to use only natural insecticides and pesticides. You can use a diluted solution of essential oils like clove or mint. Neem oil, which is extracted from an evergreen tropical tree, is an effective and natural insecticide option with numerous other benefits. This will help you fight fungal diseases in ornamental trees and citrus fruit trees also. You should be wary of using slug and snail baits and pellets that contain a chemical called metaldehyde that is also toxic to pets.

5. Add a Water Feature

Provide a constant supply of fresh water to your garden. If you don't have a water feature, you should create one that is easily accessible to your pet(s).  You can build a splash fountain or create a water feature that has a small, but continuous, stream of clean water. Additionally, you can also invest in the building of a small pool or pond for your furry locals to use. Do a safety check of the area where you want to place this feature and ensure that your pet can easily get in and out of it. You may add shallow steps or create a gentle slope on the side for easier access.

6. Create Shade

This is a feature that will be beneficial for all involved, animal or otherwise. By planting trees in various spots around your house, you’ll be able to provide natural shade for your pets (and yourself too). This can obviously work towards the prevention of heat stroke or sunburn from afflicting your pets. If you can't plant large trees to provide shade, you can use an overhead tarpaulin or stretch out shade cloths over a specified area. When you have sufficient space, you can also add a pet-house (or two) in the part of your yard that has some natural shade. 

When you are developing a pet-friendly landscape, it's important to know the challenges you will face and how you can overcome them. If you apply these simple tips, you can make your yard a great place for you and your pet to enjoy indefinitely.

Photo Gallery