Pet Friendly Garden Tips
Are you looking to create a garden that will keep you safe, happy and healthy, here are a few things to consider
Exercise and Entertainment
- Some pets like somewhere high to sit and be "king of the castle".
- Allow enough space for the particular type of animal and the individual pet's temperament.
- Allow a "dog run" between fences and garden plants, with a mulch or gravel surface so Fido can run up and down inspecting his territory to his heart's content.
- Consider a cat run so the family feline has a safe enclosure with room to move.
- Cat scratching posts will prevent trees and plants from being damaged.
- Birds should only be kept in large cages so they can move around and get exercise. The display cages used in pet shops are much too small for permanent living.
- Add new toys to cages or yards to entertain birds, cats, dogs and other pets.
- Create an "obstacle course" for a dog to keep his interest piqued
Comfort and Protection
- Weather protection is imperative. Does your pet have a warm, comfortable spot to sit? Do they have a shaded area to retreat to in the heat of the day? Somewhere to go to get out of the rain?
- Locate pet enclosures in a comfortable microclimate - not in the hottest west-facing corner and not on the chilly south-facing side - where they can be seen and enjoyed, as well as accessed for cleaning and feeding. Provide some sort of cover from the wind and weather.
A Place for Business
- Designate an area of the garden covered by mulch to toilet train the dog.
- If you have a children's sandpit in the backyard, make a sandpit cover to keep cats out. If it's made out of timber it can double as a deck or seat.
- Compost pet poo and use it as plant food (but not for edible plants or natives). Don't use pet droppings after a worming treatment as it will kill garden worms, too.
- Some plants, such as mondo grass, can be killed by dog wee, so be careful about which plants you use where dogs frequently "go".
Security and Safety
- Enclosures such as fences, runs and coops protect your pet from danger and predators, as well as protecting other animals.Enclosures can be screened using landscape screens made of timber, trellis, metal or climbing plants.
- Avoid using snail bait where animals have access. This also applies to fertilisers and other chemicals you might use in the garden.
- There are specially designed fences to keep cats in or out using rolling bars as a fence capping so that cats can't get a grip along the top of a fence.
- A well-designed pond provides shelter for fish and frogs. For frogs, lizards and other wildlife, avoid steep sides to the pond so they can access the water easily. Use overhanging plants and rocks so the visiting wildlife feel protected.
- Ensure that dogs are adequately contained in your yard. Consider the size of the dog, its tendency to dig or jump fences and whether they'll be left at home alone for long periods. The smaller the yard and the longer time spent alone, the more entertainment and comfort they will need to avoid them getting bored or lonely and trying to escape.
The article was prepared by Jacki Brown and the team at ecodesign on behalf of the Australian Institute of Landscape Designers & Managers (AILDM). To read the complete article on creating a Pet Friendly Garden see our Articles section or go to www.completehome.com.au