There are many reasons that Tampa Bay residents love having beautiful lawns and properties – from relaxing, to entertaining and gardening. Having a yard can also make dog ownership much easier—you can simply let Rover out instead of having to leash and walk him whenever nature calls. Though the sights, smells, and textures of a backyard garden provide great stimulation and excitement for your pup, he may get into trouble. Follow these tips to create a dog-friendly yard so that both you and Rover can enjoy your property without worry.
- Create Designated Areas: Nobody wants trampled plants or large holes dug into your garden beds. Help control how your dog moves through your yard with clearly defined boundaries and borders: Establish paths around garden beds and use techniques like short boxwood hedges, edging, or small raised platforms to create borders. While your dog will not inherently know to stay on the path, having it clearly defined will likely make training your dog easier. Provide specific areas where it IS okay for your dog to dig—lay a small patch of sand or bark and encourage digging there.
- Plant hardy, non-toxic plants: A garden is a great place for your dog to explore and receive stimulation from all the exciting scents and textures. Feel confident that your dog is safe but minimally destructive while exploring by planting hardy, non-toxic specimens. Digging in the garden is bound to happen when a dog is around unless you completely raise or fence off the area. Hardy perennials with strong, stiff stems are more likely to withstand a prying nose or paw. Growing only non-toxic species may seem limiting at first, but we have a diversity of gorgeous, safe plants you can grow here in South Florida. There are many safe plants you can grow successfully; simply research each species before you purchase it to determine its toxicity. Some plants are toxic only after ingesting a large amount, while others can be lethal even in small doses. Lethally toxic plants you should always avoid growing when you have a dog include Angel Trumpet, Cycads and oleander.
- Avoid Chemicals: Your dog will sample objects with his mouth and likely take a sip from any water features you have. To prevent accidental poisoning, avoid using harmful chemicals in your dog-friendly yard as much as possible. Algae blooms can be deterred by changing the water in any water feature every six months, using distilled water, placing the feature in the shade, and adding a nontoxic aquatic dye to decrease light penetration. Keep your pup off the lawn after adding fertilizer until it rains, and only use organic slug pellets that are labeled as non-toxic and safe for pets and children.
- Secure the area: We’ve all witnessed the trouble a curious pup can get into. When securing your yard, make sure your fence is high enough that your dog cannot jump over it, and check routinely for weak areas or holes in the fence through which Rover may escape. If you have an invisible fence, be sure to check its power regularly and know exactly where it is laid so that you avoid digging there. We also recommend tightly securing your shed, compost bin, and any other structures you have in your yard so that Rover cannot enter. Store any chemicals and tools (especially sharp ones like rakes) safely away in a locked area.No matter what your inspiration, a beautiful dog-friendly yard and garden can be obtained with the help of Big Earth Landscape Supply. Visit on online store for ideas and landscaping product information.