As warmer weather slowly greets New England, thoughts of lawn care arrive!   Today, guest Clara Beaufort, of Gardenergigs.com,  joins us again to share how to Plant Smart with Petscaping.

The most commonly grown crop in the United States is found in our yards. I’m talking about Fescue, Bluegrass, and Bermuda grasses. Americans spend nearly 40 billion dollars a year on their yards, pampering their plants, laboring on their lawns, and tending their trees and bushes. But they spend over 60 billion annually on their pets, and that total is growing every year. With so much money on the line, it pays to plan ahead. Consider “petscaping” your lawn and garden.

Pests and Poisons

Dogs, cats, and kids love to put things in their mouths, so consider your plant choices carefully.  Some safe choices for dogs are African violets, alyssum, daylily, pansies, and petunias. If you have a cat, consider planting valerian, cat grass, lemongrass, mint, and of course, catnip. The ASPCA maintains a list of common plants that are toxic to pets, so review these before making any purchases. Choose organic, pet-safe fertilizers, and for large-scale pest problems, consider natural diatomaceous earth. It can kill cockroaches, fleas, and ants within 48 hours of application. (Keep any pets out of your yard during this period, as it can cause eye irritation.) You should research any products you’re applying to your yard; even organic products like bone and blood meal can be toxic to dogs. You’ll want to keep them away from affected areas for several weeks after application.

Build a Barrier

Another way to keep your pets safe from the dangerous lure of your pretty plants is to construct barriers. You can purchase ready-made cloches and grow tunnels from your local home improvement store or build them yourself. These fit over growing plants and deter pets and nosy wildlife alike. Blocking off dangerous or delicate areas of the garden is a good idea.  Fencing comes in a variety of options and helps protect not only your plants, but your pets as well.  It can be both decorative and practical. With wireless pet fences, it can even be invisible. Check with your homeowner’s association and look into local building regulations before choosing a fencing option. Some neighborhoods restrict the type and size of fencing you’re permitted to use, and some cities and towns require a building permit.

Should barrier plantings or fencing be impractical, you can boundary train your dog. This is also a great solution for certain behavioral problems, such as begging at the table or climbing on furniture. Boundary training can be part of your regular training regime, helping to establish your rules and your leadership of the family “pack.” Remember your furry friends’ feet as well. Any paths you construct should be gentle hardscape, and any mulches should be easy on pet paws and large enough not to cling to their coats.

Pet Perspective

Get a dog’s-eye view of your yard and try to anticipate potential problems. Choose pet-friendly plants and surfaces and ensure that any water present is free-flowing. (You don’t want your pets drinking out of a stagnant pool in a birdbath!) Try to imagine what your pet would enjoy doing in your yard. Create designated spaces where he can roam. Dogs are territorial and feel the need to protect you, so sacrifice a few feet of perimeter to make a path they can “patrol.” It’s also important to designate an appropriate outdoor potty space, lest your pets decide to relieve themselves all over your flower beds. They’ll also need shelter and shade, if they’re going to spend much time in your yard. Even if your dog lives indoors, he will may enjoy his own doghouse.

The whole point of looking after your yard is to create a special space where you and your family can create memories together. This is the place where you’ll spend your weekends and where you’ll have cookouts, pool parties, and naps in the sun. It’s your private piece of heaven, and your pet wants to be part of that, too. A well pet-scaped yard allows the whole family, furry friends included, to enjoy the beauty of nature together.

Check out the potential of a new home and yard with h.a. Fisher Homes.  Contact us to find out about our current & upcoming neighborhoods!