Any dog or cat lover will know that most pets love being outdoors and will quite literally leap at any opportunity to get some fresh air and explore outside. If you’re lucky enough to have a garden or yard that can accommodate their love of the outdoors, why not go the extra mile for them and design it with their needs in mind? Whether you’re thinking of adding a few small touches or redesigning the whole area, here are some of the best ways to make your garden a pet paradise.
One aspect of gardens that is often overlooked when it comes to pet-proofing is the ground. It’s really important to consider whether your paving, pebbles or mulch are comfortable for your pet’s paws, and whether or not they’ll make a mess. Choose smooth flagstones set in a pebble bed to give dogs a comfortable area to walk on, and opt for mulch with small cedar chips that is easy on paws but also won’t cling to fur. You can use these materials to create a pet-friendly path or area to run on, allowing them plenty of exercise without causing any discomfort.
Link Outside and Inside
We all know that pets can be a little indecisive when it comes to choosing whether they want to be inside or outside, and cats in particular are known for this. A secure cat or dog flap is always an option, but if you want to really make your home their playground, then easy access external folding doors could be the answer. Opening these when you’re at home and the weather is warm allows both dogs and cats to wander freely between the house and garden, giving them complete freedom at last. Make sure you also leave some nutritious food such as Dr Marty's Nature Feast out for your cat, they will no doubt my hungry after a day outdoors.
Create a Shelter
Most pets enjoy basking in the sun, but they can also overheat easily, so it’s a great idea to have a shelter in which they can cool down but still enjoy being outside. Whether this is a fancy doghouse or a simple table for them to lie under, it will give them a place to feel safe and secure in their garden. Cats also love to hide underneath things, so you can never have too many places for them to shelter. Just remember to do safety checks on all furniture before you let your pets climb on or hide under them, especially if you like to make things yourself.
If you’re into gardening, the chances are that you have some plants that you don’t want your pets to jump all over or eat. Luckily, it’s quite easy to create borders around your garden that will keep your furry friends away from your favourite shrubs. Placing pieces of driftwood in front of these areas at a reasonable height will persuade most pets to stay away, especially if there are plenty of interesting things to keep them entertained elsewhere. If you’re worried about your dog using your flower beds as a private bathroom, you can also use a large piece of wood as a marking post that will encourage dogs to relieve themselves there instead of on your roses.
Make Water a Feature
The majority of pets love running water, so adding a fountain, stream or pond will make your garden a true paradise for them. You could make your own or choose one from a garden centre, but just make sure that it isn’t so big as to be dangerous if they fall in. Most cats will content themselves by drinking from a small fountain, while dogs might like to splash around in something a bit bigger. Personalise your water feature for your pets and see how happy they are to spend time in their own pet paradise.
Animals love to play, so adding some features that encourage this will make them incredibly happy. This might be as simple as putting some of their favourite toys outside, or even creating a dog play course that includes tunnels, balance beams and obstacles. Take inspiration from what your pet loves to do and build them a play area that’s perfect for them. If your pet is curious and likes to watch passers by, you might even consider creating a special window in the fence for them to look through. If they prefer to sleep outside all day, you could create a special stone platform for them to lie on. Use their playfulness as inspiration for their own unique pet paradise.
*This is a collaborative post - pictures sourced from Pixabay*