For those of us who have a dog it can seem like a tough decision has to be made regarding who stays and who goes; the dog or the garden. Of course this is not a decision anyone should make and not a decision anyone needs to make as there are many ways in which to make your garden friendly to both dogs and garden plants.
Mesh Wire is a useful tool at our disposal and can be used to section off more delicate parts of the garden that can’t handle the curious nose of a family pet. Areas such as vegetable patches, herb gardens and herbaceous borders will need to be kept separate from your pet as young seedlings and any green stemmed plants will fail to grow if walked on or nibbled by dogs.
There are however some plants that remain defiant in the face of the dog and will continue to thrive even if they have become the new found ‘bed’ for your dog to pass the hours. Such plants include Bergenia, Eupborbia, and Lambs ear all recover quite quickly after being sat on by a dog. However the majority of other herbaceous plants will not respond as well and mesh wire or screening will be needed to divide your ‘pest’ from your plants. There is however a long list of plants which dogs won’t eat and generally avoids and these can be used as barriers to save the rest of your plants.
If you intend on building a fencing or screen to contain your dog there are a number of factors to consider:
Give your dog plenty of space. Dogs need plenty of exercise, ample space should be provided for them to stretch their legs.
Provide shade & shelter. If your dog is left at home alone during the day he will need to sit in comfort. Provide a warm dry place away from full sun and with a source of water at all times
Constructing your fence; you will need a grade of mesh wire to suit the type and size of dog you have. Puppies will only require 22 gauge wire would be sufficient, while a larger dog will need a higher gauge mesh wire.
I have used a 22 gauge mesh wire and 5ft fencing posts to erect a barrier around my vegetable and herb garden which also holds my mini greenhouse and cold frames. The fence is 90cm in height and in buried 10cm under the ground.
The majority of the garden is for my puppy and I’m still in the process of teaching him ‘how to be a good gardener’. He has already mastered the art of scarifying as he tears up the moss from my lawn, but I’m not convinced of his idea of how to fertilise grass!
I’m sure that dogs and gardens can live together, but with a certain amount of compromise. If you can train your dog early, keep him exercised and stimulated then your garden and dog will be all the better for it.