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Landscape Design

Dog Destroying Your Garden?

3 petscaping principles for a dog-friendly yard

Maureen Gilmer

Photo used under Creative Commons from ret0dd.

We've all told, or at least heard, the horror stories of dogs digging up prized plants, or wearing away parts of the lawn. Well surprisingly, this may be more our fault than theirs. With a little thought about the nature of dogs and the design of our gardens, we can stop the destructive behavior that leaves us so angry.

Maureen Gilmer, a well known landscape designer, has some great advice for making your yard more dog-friendly. Here are my favorite tips from her eBook The Dog-Scaped Yard (PDF).

  • Provide a cool, damp spot for your dog to lay on warm summer days. Gilmer says, "Many dogs labeled "problem diggers" are really just trying to keep cool." She suggests selecting a shaded location. Dig a shallow pit large enough for your dog to lie in comfortably and line it with sand, which is much cleaner than regular dirt. Keep the pit damp with a sprinkler or hose.

  • Keep 18 inches around the border of your yard plant free. Gilmer explains, "Dogs are territorial creatures and will walk their boundary lines daily...they will trample any plant that grows in this trail."

  • Locate your dog run in a place that has an optimum view of the yard. We tend to put dog runs in "unused sideyards and out of the way places. This makes the dog feel like he or she is in lock-down," says Gilmer. To avoid making your dog feel this way, and acting out as a result, give him or her a view of the yard and the people in it. Your dog will feel more included and be more content while in the run.

Gilmer covers a host of other tips for dog-scaping your yard, including plants that repel fleas, a homemade recipe that will keep your dog from eating your plants, dog house location, and more. Check it out for yourself!

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