Pets can be a fantastic addition to any home but, it's no secret, they're a big responsibility, too. The children might be nagging you for a puppy or you may like some quiet company with your own feline friend. Either way, your garden is going to have a new inhabitant soon and it needs to be a safe place for them to roam, play and relax. With that in mind, if you're looking for garden “pet-proofing” inspiration, look no further. Here are some handy tips to ensure your new family member has a safe, comfortable time outdoors and enjoys your garden as much as you do!

Which plants should I avoid in a pet-friendly garden?

You might not think it but some of the most common flowers and plants that we find in our gardens are actually incredibly hazardous to our pets. Some of the symptoms include vomiting, diarrhoea, oral irritation and difficulty in swallowing. In the worst cases, pets have even been reported to have died as a result of ingesting toxic plants! Some common plants to avoid include:

  • Daffodils
  • Crocuses
  • Tulips
  • Lilies
  • Laburnum
  • Azaleas
  • Wisteria

Can I incorporate toxic plants into my pet-friendly garden?

While we recommend avoiding them altogether, it is possible to enjoy plants that are potentially hazardous to your pets as part of your garden (if you really can't let go of the wisteria!). One way to do this is to incorporate a secure greenhouse into your garden. Keep those toxic beauties under lock and key, so you can enjoy them at your leisure. If you have a dog, you could even be a little braver – enjoy the plants you love, but raise them high, where no mischievous animals can reach them. Shelves and stands can be a fantastic way to add layers and levels to your garden, while you enjoy the plants you love at the same time.

Protect your pets' paws!

If you're introducing pets to your home, it might be time to say goodbye to the gravel and stones. These two, while pretty, can hurt your pets' paws, get stuck between toes and even, in the case of some more food-focused dogs, even be swallowed! A paved pathway is much safer than gavel or stones. It has another bonus, too – a free nail trimming service! As your pet walks up and down the pathways, their nails will be kept nice and short, naturally. You can save their feet from harm and avoid a scratch-filled trim session/wrestling match, too.

Make sure you have plenty of shady spots

It might not seem like a priority in the winter when it's freezing but, in the summer, your pet will be desperate to get outside and enjoy a run in the garden. When they've done their “zoomies,” they'll need somewhere shady and cool to chill out and sleep off the exercise. Make sure there's room for them to do so!

Need to re-plant before your new friend arrives?

Your local garden centre in Kent has everything you need to pet-proof your garden, with a selection of fragrant, beautiful new plants, seedlings, pots and crafts to make your garden a safe, comfy place for your new friend. See you soon!