Making your yard and lawn friendly for both humans and your pets really isn’t difficult – it just takes a bit of thought and planning.
Choose a natural lawn – synthetic options get too hot during the warmer months and if not cleaned regularly can represent a health hazard to your family.
When planting your garden beds consider that your pets are likely to explore, rub up against, and even take a nibble of the plants and flowers in the yard. Many plants and flowers can cause skin irritations, upset tummies and may even be toxic to your pets. Check with your vet or the RSPCA about safe plants for your pets. The list is quite extensive and some commonly toxic plants include azaleas, rhododendron and hydrangeas.
Pets will undoubtedly make themselves know in your yard and lawn – whether it’s digging, relieving themselves or ‘playing’ with your favourite flowers and vegie patch. Dog urine, in particular, can leave a stain on your lawn due to the high nitrogen content it contains. Quickly diluting the area with water can help but if you don’t have that kind of time to follow them around or your lawn is particularly sensitive – there are other options such as dog rocks – which is added to the dog’s water, training so they only use one part of the yard for that purpose, and spot repairing if the issue is really obvious.
For vegetable gardens and special garden beds, protective fencing is a great option – it can be as easy as erecting some star pickets and chicken wire.
Pets (and children) can often develop their own special paths – up and down the fence line is a particular favourite. This can damage the lawn and cause soil compaction. If you have a border along your yard leave some space between any plants/lawn and the fence. In this space try using extra mulch or stones to create a clear walkway for them. This same principle can be allow to diggers – provide a designated spot for them to dig so they leave other areas of the yard alone.
You would think that keeping your lawn short would make sense when your have pets however you should avoid cutting the lawn down too much. Keeping the lawn longer will strengthen the root system meaning a healthier grass meaning a softer bed for pets to play on and the more likely the turf is to self-repair.
Fertilisers, herbicides and insecticides are often full of potentially toxic chemicals. When you apply fertiliser, insecticide or herbicide, watering it in thoroughly straight away and don’t let pets outside until the lawn is dry. As an alternative, you can seek out non-toxic, organic options to use.
Get more tips on creating a pet friendly yard from Lawn Solutions Australia here.