Pets in landscape

Pets in landscape

When it comes to landscapes, domestic forces, in the form of dogs and cats, can be just as destructive as any force of nature. They dig and chew and leave a mess, and can generally be a nuisance. Rather than do away with the love and affection that also comes from pet ownership, why not plan your landscape with your furry friends in mind? Here are a few ideas.



Eliminating Danger

First, educate yourself to poisonous plants. One misplaced African Wonder Tree or Aloe plant can spell disaster! Here is a  list from the ASPCA that includes both toxic and non-toxic plants that can be a problem for cats and dogs:

Then, look for potential hazards to your pet’s safety. Many of these are the same as those we discussed for children in landscapes. Things like pool covers, and making sure fences are secure can go a long way to avoiding catastrophe and expensive vet bills for survivors.

Dividing Your Space

While you may want your dog to have the run of the yard, that may not be true all of the time. Creating a kennel, or enclosure for your animals is one solution. Most dogs will do fine with temporary confinement, provided the space is secure and large enough to give them room to run a bit. If the dog is sleeping out of doors, be sure to include a dog house, whether you choose a commercial model, or have one custom designed (we can do that too!) make sure it is adequate for the size of your animal and gives them shelter from the weather.

Another option is to allow the dog run of the main yard while installing fencing to protect decks, patios, outdoor kitchens and other “poop-free” entertaining zones for your enjoyment. That way, you can allow the dog into your personal space as you want.

Protecting Plants

Cats and dogs both love to dig into soft, smelly earth. Cats are rather simple, keep the beds damp, which they hate, or add pelletized chicken manure to keep them out. Thorny rose bushes are also a good deterrent. For dogs, we earth, chicken manure and things that sting is seen more as a challenge than a solution, and may, in fact, encourage the behavior. Pepper and garlic deterrent sprays are available in many pet shops to spray on your bedding mulch, helping to remind Felix and Rover that the bed is not their playground.

For the ultimate deterrent, consider having an underground fence installed. These are built for both dogs and cats. A buried wire transmits a signal to a special collar, giving your animal a supersonic reminder whenever they attempt to cross the line. Many animals will not even need the fence to be on once they have been trained to accept it.

All in all, use common sense. If it seems like it might be a problem, ask a vet, or call us, we can help. With a few minor adjustments, most families happily share their outdoor spaces with animals.


  • ASPCA : Toxic and Non-Toxic Plants (
  • What plants are toxic to cats? (
  • Suggest A Pet-Friendly Garden (
  • Pet Safety Tip: Avoid Poisonous Plants (