The Q&A Archives: Landscaping Ideas

Question: can you recomend a good place (web address,books orplace/person) to start for lanscaping ideas (do's and dont's) that take a large dog into consideration?

Answer: The book "Gardening for Dummies" offers some guidelines for landscaping in general, but I am not aware of any that specify working around a large dog.

Certainly you will need to apportion an area for the dog to exercise and possibly for a kennel/run; a spot with shade and a spot to keep the water bowl if the dog runs free. Plan a hard surfaced path to the most frequently used door to avoid tracking in extra rainy mud and snow. Most dogs like to dig in newly disturbed areas, so you might keep that in mind if you frequently replant veggies or each time you install a new planting. Most dogs will insist on swimming in a fish pond or at least drinking from it. Some dogs like to eat plants, and this can pose a potential danger to the dog by poisoning. Safety (and local leash laws) may require you to have a fence.

In my own experience, I have found that dogs can usually (with patience) be trained to avoid certain areas such as a flower bed. There are also repellents you can use to protect plants, and the dogs do not like to walk on thorny branches if you need to devise a temporary barrier. They can also be fenced out, and some gardeners find the "invisible fence" invaluable for exactly this purpose.

To some extent of course your results will depend on whether you have a calm and cooperative dog, or not, and how large or small your yard is will affect its ability to withstand the inevitable wear and tear.

Perhaps your veterinarian or dog obedience trainer would have some suggestions, too.

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