Dog in a garden

How to make your garden design dog friendly

A lot of people think that having a dog means giving up having a nice, well-kept garden. But that doesn’t have to be the case. With a little bit of thought and planning, you can have a gorgeous garden that’s also safe and enjoyable for your furry friend.

Here are some tips on how to make your garden design dog friendly.

Build a Fence

Fence off any areas you don’t want your dog to access. This could be the vegetablepatch, or an area with delicate plants that you’re worried your dog will dig up.

Labrador lying on lawn in garden next to a dog fence.
Dog and dog fence

A picket fence or low wall is usually sufficient to keep most dogs out of an area. Just make sure there are no gaps big enough for them to squeeze through.

Use dog-friendly plants

Avoid using any plants that are poisonous to dogs, such as azaleas, rhododendrons, oleander, and yew. Instead, opt for pet-safe alternatives like lavender, rosemary, heather, or daisies.

Close-up of rosemary field.

You can also get creative with your plant choices and use things like ornamental grasses or pretty herbs as edging around your flower beds.

Incorporate water features

Dogs love playing in water, so incorporating a small fountain or birdbath into your garden design is a great way to keep them happy (and cool) on hot summer days.

Big dog drinking from birdbath in a garden.
Dog drinking from birdbath

Make sure the sides aren’t too steep and that there’s no danger of them getting stuck in anything.

Provide shade

Make sure there’s plenty of shade. Dogs can get sunburned just like we can, so it’s important to make sure there are shady areas for them to retreat to when they need a break from the sun. Trees are the best option for this, but if you don’t have any in your garden you can always provide some shelter with an umbrella or pergola.

Boston terrier lying in the shade between two raised planting beds.
Dog in the shade

Provide resting places

Provide a comfortable place for them to rest. Just like us, dogs need somewhere comfortable to relax and take a break from all the excitement of being outside. A doghouse is the obvious choice here, but if you don’t want one in your backyard you could always put out a shady spot with some cushions or blankets for them to lie on instead.

Chihuahua dog resting in wooden doghouse in a garden. Dog is smiling.
Dog resting in a doghouse


With a little bit of thought and planning, it is possible to have a beautiful garden that is also safe and enjoyable for your furry friend. By following these tips on how to make your garden design dog friendly, you’ll be well on your way to creating the perfect backyard oasis for both you and your pet pooch.