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How I Created a Pet Friendly Garden

I’m one of those folks that lets my pets run wild in the garden. I have cats, chickens and a dog all playing around and destroying my garden. Here are the top five things I do to maintain a pet friendly garden while staying sane.

Today’s models are Mickey (the cat) and Welly (the dog).

1. I give my pets lots of walkways and running paths throughout the garden. They won’t always use the paths but chances are they’ll use them more than not. Welly is demonstrating the proper way to walk through the strawberry patch (taken last month). Oh, and it helps if you have a small dog.

Walkways for pets

2. I give my pets cover and a place to hide from prey. My pets love hiding in the full perennial gardens and grasses. They even take the opportunity to attack me on occasion. Did I mention that they LOVE the grasses.

Give your pets cover from prey

3. I make sure my outdoor furniture is pet friendly. Chances are they’re going to get their dirty paws all over it. Mine love sleeping outside in the summer months. I bet they use the furniture more than we do. Don’t worry, it’s all washable.

Welly enjoys his outdoor bedding.

4. I don’t get angry when my pets find another purpose for items in the garden. To you and me, this looks like a bunch of potted herbs. To Welly, this is cover necessary to ambush the enemy (aka Mickey).

Anticipate how your pets will use a space.

5. I provide a source of water. I have three water dishes in my garden plus water in the house and in the chicken coop.  They all share the dishes and drink from them often. I also recently replaced all my garden hoses with drinkable hoses.

Keep bowls of drinking water available at all times.

BONUS: Protect fragile plants and seedlings. In the background of the picture above, you may notice the little black scallop edging. I have these strategically placed around my onions to keep ALL my pets from digging them up. Pesky buggers. I also have a motion sprinkler I occasionally use to keep my pets out of the veggie garden.

Above everything I mentioned above, I also try to understand the toxicity of all the plants in my garden. I’m far from an expert and do have very toxic plants in my garden. Some plants on my watch list: rhododendron, hops, rhubarb, goat’s beard and digitalis/fox gloves.

6 Comments Post a comment
  1. I love that shot of Welly waiting to ambush the cat! So cute! And the one of the kitty poking his nose and paw out of the grass. What sweet pets.


    June 19, 2012
  2. I had to laugh at your photo of Mickey in the Mexican Feather Grass. My tuxedo cat does the same thing. What is it about that grass? :) Btw, as a kid, I had a tuxedo cat named Mickey. I love that name. Great post!


    June 25, 2012
  3. Your cat looks so cute in the Mexican Feather Grass. All of my cats live indoors, so no cute pics of them lounging around the garden.


    June 29, 2012
  4. Judith #

    These pictures of Welly & Mickey are so cute! I particularly liked the “oh, it helps if you have a small dog” and Mickey in the feather grass.


    July 12, 2012
  5. I hopped over from Rainy Day Gardener. I loved the post! So funny. Your models are much better than mine (Ella). Wish you could have caught the pounce in action.


    July 22, 2012
  6. Sinjin #

    I like the photo of Welly ambusing Mickey from behind the herbs. BTW, did you know onions and garlic are toxic to dogs? Onions cause canine blood cells to burst! It takes 2-4 days after ingestion for symptoms to appear. Here is a link:


    March 21, 2013

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