Gardening with Pets in Mind

Time to mow the lawn

Time to mow!

The Garden Revolution

During the lockdown, there seems to have been a huge trend to transform the humble garden into something more glamorous. Areas that were perhaps neglected and were the domain of dogs, cats and rabbits are suddenly becoming our sanctuaries of peace and quiet, giving somewhere to sit in the hot weather, dine alfresco, or splash about in a pool or hot tub. Many have even created their own garden pubs!

Our lockdown project also focused on our garden. We have finally transformed an area that was once inhabited by chickens that ate every green shoot that reared its head, ducks who paddled around to create a huge mud bath, to something far more lush and sophisticated.

Ducks and chickens

Before

Garden transformation

After

We should stress that this whole transformation has not been achieved during the lockdown. We have made several smaller changes over two or three years. However, it is fair to say that the garden has received a lot more of our attention over the last few months, as we have concentrated on creating a space that we could enjoy and feel proud of, and also to offer a haven to wildlife rather than poultry.

Wildflower garden with poppies

Buzzing with life

Grass, is it a Green Issue?

Grass has been a big talking point and as we all know, our dogs are not always kind to our lawns.

Their urine tends to burn yellow patches, and faeces needs to be disposed of. There are always holes to be dug, too, if your pooch gets the urge!

We have seen some amazing transformations on social media and one of the biggest trends seems to be artificial grass.

Artificial grassCan artificial grass, AstroTurf, be a  good alternative to the real thing? It’s come a long way over the last few years but is it really a viable alternative?

Pros and Cons

Surely the best things about it are:

  • It should look perfect all year round
  • It will never need watering or mowing
  • Weeding is unnecessary.

But it is not without maintenance, and:

  • It’s expensive to install
  • It gets very hot in the sun
  • It’s not considered to be environmentally friendly
  • It’s not wildlife-friendly
  • It needs to be cleaned
Artificial grass with stripes

It can even come with stripes!

Did you know you can buy a special hoover for artificial grass?

Despite the fact that even in the northeast of Scotland, our newly-sprouted lawn needs mowing once a week, we have not been tempted to take the artificial grass route. Perhaps you have? We would be interested to hear your experiences as a pet owner, and whether you have found it to be a truly a good alternative.

Making your Garden Pet Friendly

Of course, grass is only one part of a garden, and for pets there could be all sorts of other hazards lurking out there. Gardener’s World offers some top tips for keeping your garden pet- friendly by pointing out robust plants that can survive the onslaught of cats and dogs, and also poisonous plants that you may not have given a thought to (such as tomato plants).

Foxgloves can be poisonous for pets

Foxglove

We have an abundance of foxgloves in particular, which can be toxic.

Apart from the obvious things like ensuring you have a secure fence and/or gate, there are other hazards to consider: garden chemicals, and wee beasties like slugs. And don’t forget to secure your compost bins which may contain food scraps that might prove very attractive to dogs.

But hazards aside, remember to create some interesting and stimulating areas for your pet. A designated play area, and even a toileting area. With a little training, they will quickly learn to use it, and everyone can reap the benefits of a well-tended garden!

For us, and I’m sure for many others in this period of lockdown, the garden has been an absolute lifesaver and has brought much pleasure to peoples’ lives. After all the hard work that we’ve put into them, let’s all enjoy our gardens and our pets safely, whatever we chose to grow in them.

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