7 Tips for a Dog-Proof Garden

white curly dog walking through a garden with clay pots.

The robins are chirping, it’s warm enough to walk Spot again, and none of us can stop sneezing. That’s right: another glorious gardening season is here! And let’s face it: Your dog can’t wait to trample, dig, and eat everything you’ve worked so hard to plant. The good news is, a little dog-proofing can go a long way to keeping your garden alive and thriving. Here’s how to dog-proof your garden.

1. The Bigger the Better

When you’re out shopping for plants, focus your attention on the larger, more developed plants. The larger the plant, the harder it will be for your dog to inadvertently trample it into oblivion with no chance for recovery. Even a Bernese Mountain Dog won’t be able to stomp on a 5-foot-tall evergreen shrub!

2. Dog-Proof Garden Fencing

The easiest way to keep your dog out of your flower beds is by adding garden fencing to the perimeter. Even a small, decorative fence can serve as an effective barrier for curious canines. Other garden edging ideas include interlocking stone borders, and if your budget’s on the slimmer side, cinder blocks can make an effective (if slightly more industrial) garden deterrent. 

brown dog peeking through a wooden fence on a sunny day
Oh, doggone it, I’ll never be able to get to those flowers now! | Nick Fewings

3. Use Raised Garden Beds 

Elevated garden beds are a great option for keeping your flowers or veggies out of pup’s reach. (Bonus: these will keep rabbits out, too.) Additional benefits of raised beds include a longer gardening season (they warm up faster than the ground) and minimizing erosion and soil compaction due to rain and elements.

4. Encourage Digging

Yes, you read that right. If your dog is a digger, chances are he’ll spend his summer uprooting your geraniums and pepper plants and everything in between—not exactly ideal. Instead of punishing your dog for digging, encourage it! The trick? Designate a “dig zone” in one section of your backyard. (Don’t worry, it doesn’t have to be big.) To create the zone, cover it with sand, dirt, and other soft mediums to create a heavenly playground for your pup. Train your dog to “go dig” in his designated spot to avoid an uprooted rosebush.

5. Have You Met Herb?

Plant pungent herb bushes like rosemary in multiple corners of your garden. Dogs don’t like the smell and will steer away from the scent. (Plus, then you can soak the rosemary in your strawberry margarita.) Chili pepper and coffee grounds can also work as a digging deterrent—dogs can’t stand the stink!

6. Relocate the Garden

If your pupper spends most of her time in the backyard, consider moving your most precious plants to the front. In addition to protecting plants from your pooch, front yard gardens can improve curb appeal, increase opportunities for socializing with your neighbors, and make pulling into your driveway a doggone delight. (And if you’re looking for more dog-friendly backyard ideas, we’ve got a whole list of those right here!)

7. Incorporate Dog-Friendly Features 

After a long, satisfying day working in your garden, you and your pup could both use a rinse. Consider installing an outdoor pet shower station. Have a pooch that doesn’t want to leave your side while you work in the garden? Keep your furry supervisor comfy and out of the sun with a raised, shaded, dog bed. Finally, gardening season is hot, so don’t forget to water your dog when you water your plants. Designate a place in your yard to keep a water bowl so your buddy always knows where he can go to get hydrated. (There are even doggy fountains that attach right to a hose!)

Featured image: Spiritze

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