Dog-Friendly Garden Features

Pete Wedderburn
22nd March 2022 - 2 min read

Dogs love playing in gardens, but not all gardens love dogs! Here are some ideas to help dogs and gardens mix more successfully.

Dog-friendly garden features

Dogs enjoy gardens just for what they are: green areas with space for running and walking, vegetation for sniffing, and grass for relaxing on. But here are some extra features that you might add, especially for your dogs.

  • A sandpit for digging in
  • A raised decking area to act as a viewing platform for your dog to survey their territory
  • Play features like tunnels, running lanes, posts, etc
  • A shady area to shelter in during sunny weather
  • A drinking bowl with fresh water
dog sitting on wooden decking

Preventing damage by dogs

Dogs tend to get busy in the garden, running around, digging, sniffing, and generally causing low level damage. If you have more than one dog, and if the weather is wet and cold, then this damage can be a serious long term issue.

The best answer is to provide an area for your dog that is resistant to damage by dogs, and fence off the sensitive areas (such as seedlings, vegetables, sensitive vegetation.)

Garden surfaces that are resistant to damage by dogs

There are different types of surfaces that can work well for dogs to run and play on, including:

  • Hard landscaping such as paths made from paving stones.
  • Cobbles and large pebbles can work well for edging and small areas: avoid gravel as dogs can chew and swallow small stones
  • For some of the grassy areas, consider setting up an area of dog friendly artificial grass
white dog with black eye on artificial grass

Is artificial grass safe for dogs?

Dogs generally like artificial grass as it feels soft, and it feels like grass to dogs. Many dog rescue centres now use this as standard. It’s low maintenance, and it avoids muddy paws.

How to avoid the smell of dog waste – poo and urine – on artificial grass

Dog poo needs to be picked up regularly, and for urine, you need to use an odour-reducing infill. Products such as “Easigrass artificial grass” have a specialist organic turf infill that is applied to the grass to prevent bad smells from gathering. Infill is added between the blades of ‘grass’ and is spread down into the turf fibres in order to help the blades stand up, as well as protect the grass backing from ultraviolet light damage from sunlight in the summer.

The infill absorbs urine whilst preventing it from forming a gas – this means that no smell is released. The urine is contained in the infill until it is flushed out by rainwater. The maintenance involves spraying the turf regularly with an enzyme cleaner to remove bacteria.

dog with long grey hair around face in grass and purple flowers

Plants to avoid for dogs

Plants to avoid for dogs because of potential irritation or toxicity include:

  • Chrysanthemum
  • Nightshade 
  • Daffodil bulbs
  • Oak 
  • Foxglove 
  • Buttercup
  • Begonias
  • Ivy

Dog-friendly plants and flowers

  • Lavender
  • Hebes
  • Snapdragon
  • Rudbeckia hirta
  • Honeysuckle
  • Rose
  • Sunflowers

Dog-friendly trees and shrubs

  • Mulberry
  • Willow
  • Camellia
  • Shrub roses