So spring has sprung and now that we are in a new home we would like to start making the yard pretty my goal is to add flowers, greenery and a herb garden. We moved in last spring but spent first year tackling a very horrible yard more dirt than grass and there was more weeds in the grassed areas than there was grass. This being our first place where we can plant anything and our second spring of having dogs i was wondering if anyone has any tips of safe dog friendly gardening. For example what flower, greenery and herbs to avoid, what are safe flowers, greenery and herbs to plant that if they get into they won't get poisoned. What plants are dogs naturally attracted to, or naturally avoid. Tips of how to keep them from digging, or out of the dirt. We are looking for flowers that will grow yearly on their own. Our yard is on the west side of our house. Despite how bad my yard was it has very healthy soil (house was a rental before we bought it and yard was very unkept). Our yard is medium sized and the patio takes up 1/3 of it so we would like to avoid taking up grace space to do raised garden beds. Oh i guess plants have to be durable enough to handle 2 dogs peeing in the yard.

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Here's a list of plants that are non-toxic to dogs (and cats and horses, if you wish).  This isn't a complete list, but it is large.


We just bought our first home last year, so I've been researching the very same subject since last fall.  ;)  Raising your flower beds is a good way to keep the doggies out.  I try to keep mine at about chin-height or higher and it seems to discourage my pooch.  He doesn't seem to find it as fun to have to climb into the bed in order to dig.


I'm zone 5, so here are some of the flowers and greens I've been looking into planting (an image search will show you what they all look like):


Wave Petunias, Evergreen Candytuft, Aubrieta cultorum, Phlox Paniculata, Brunnera, & Stachys Byzantina


Here's the search-able list of the plants.  My darned connection is a bit screwy today and I couldn't edit into the above post in time. 

Serviceberry  Amelanchier alnifolia

Red flowering currant   Ribes sanguineum

and, of course:

Dogwood    Cornus sericea

if there are hardy fuchsias that survive in your climate, they are fun and 0 maintenance.

Native roses can be good natural barrier plants.

Serviceberry are fabulous and tremendously underused.   I have catbirds who will spend all day in mine when they have berries.   The berries are very tasty, if you can get any after the birds are done with them.

The only place I've seen cedar waxwings in Seattle is in our serviceberries.  Every year.

Pay attention to the dog runs and tennis ball courses.  Plan the race courses around your yard.  Place shrubs accordingly.


There is a really awesome book about landscaping for dogs. We have a copy at the library where I work and it has a lot of information.  It also has different ideas, instructions, and suggestions for landscaping a dog-friendly yard. Maybe you can find a copy at your library. Here is a link for more info.

Well i got some ideas for the plants but what about herbs, what are some easy first timer herb for a herb garden that is safe for dogs. ones i would love to grow is (parsley, basil, rosemary, thyme, mint, cilantro, sage and chives). i am looking to grow just common not any of the fancy stuff like bog rosemary and Spanish thyme and those are the only ones i am finding in the list of toxic or non toxic list neither list stats the common herbs.

Chives have potential to be harmful, so you should grow those out of reach (in a pot, flower box, etc.)  Most bulb plants (including garlic, onions and chives) are toxic to the liver when too much is ingested.


Sage is safe in herb form, but is dangerous if ingested as an essential oil.


All of the rest are fine, but dogs are just like people and may have allergies of their own.  I'd say just keep an eye on them at first to be safe, but all should be well.  ;)

Only thing I would add about herbs is that anything from the mint family is very invasive, so might want to have that one in a pot if you don't want a whole garden full of mint.

Keep your dog in mind when deciding what's "safe".   For instance, rhododendron is toxic but I have yet to see a dog with any desire to eat a rhododendron.  A dog who is truly destructive might, or a dog that's left alone in the yard for hours, but most dogs in a normal household are not about to chow down on a rhododendron.  So for most people it's safe to plant them, but puppies in the mouthing stage should be carefully watched around them.


On the other hands, many dogs will readily eat acorns and crabapples, and both are somewhat toxic.  

Have you thought about container gardening? If you only have so much room, you can use some flowerbeds, and then use containers for the rest. It keeps the plants safe, especially if you plan on doing herbs. And you won't have to worry about the dogs peeing on them. My mom and I have currently started this, and have just used large pickle type buckets with holes drilled in the bottom. Any containers work, just remember the holes in the bottom.

Use soil, but we also use coffee grounds. Here the Seattle's Best Coffee has used coffee grounds that they bag up and give out for free specifically for gardens. Maybe some coffee shops or cafe's do this around where you live. There are a variety of really good books as well on amazon. There is container gardening for vegetables and herbs, and flowers as well. I hope this helps!

Stay away from cocoa bean mulch...I believe it's lethal to dogs. I use vinegar for weeds. I have perrenials(sp) and just ad a few annuals. My dogs don't bother my flower but do use the area to poop occasionally:(


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