How to Grow: Dog Friendly Gardening

Listen to this podcast on how to create a garden to be dog-friendly. Includes tips on the types of plants, fences and ways to keep your dog out of the garden.


Pug, Dog, Small, Pet, Lap Dog, Purebred Dog, CuteWe have two dogs, Rosie and Linus, and lots of gardens. Luckily, our Cavalier spaniels aren’t big dogs nor are they interested in digging, flopping on plants and wreaking havoc in our garden. But I have friends with other dog breeds that struggle having a garden AND dogs around.

So I thought to offer some tips on how to have a dog-friendly garden and a garden friendly dog. I’m no dog expert so if you have tips that work for you, please share them.

First, training can go a long way to teach your dog where they’re allowed and not allowed, to go. Start when they’re puppies and you can have years of garden friendly dog time. Also, a well-exercised dog is one that’s less likely to get bored and try activities such as digging. So give your pup, and you, daily walks.

Simple fences, especially with our small dogs, work wonders keeping them out of sensitive garden areas. Use metal, wood or even a line of large plants that appear to be fence-like to a small dog. If you have a breed that needs to dig, set up an area in your yard for digging and train your dog to work out his desires there. Dogs like to patrol their area, so set up mulched paths around the garden, fences and property boundaries to give them plenty of space to romp, bark and keep out unwanted guests. Maybe they’ll even scare off a few squirrels and chipmunks.

In the garden, transplant larger sized plants that are less likely to get crushed and plant thickly. Grow in raised beds or containers. Spray plants with spices, such as cayenne pepper, to thwart munching on particular plants. Avoid plants and mulches, such as coca bean mulch, that can be harmful if eaten. With a little planning, you and your pooch can coexist just fine in the garden.

Excerpted from the Vermont Garden Journal on Vermont Public Radio.