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Pet-Friendly Landscaping: It's Not Just About Non-Toxic Plants

Judy Macomber divulges how to design your yard in a way that makes you and fido happy



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The first thing Judy Macomber wants you to know: It’s not all about toxic plants. “Pet-friendly landscaping is really just planting your garden in a way that makes both your plants and your pets healthy and happy,” says the University of California–certified Master Gardener and publisher of PetLovers Publications.

The first step in pet-proofing outside, she says, is to scrutinize your yard. Is there ample shade for your animal to rest under? Is there fencing so they can’t flee? Do they have a soft surface to run on? Are they trampling your plants? “If they’re creating a path where you don’t want them to, you need to redirect the landscaping so it goes in a different direction. You can do that with shrubs or pavers.”

But the best solution she’s seen for this? Lavender bushes. “It’s a flea and bug repellent, and it smells good. So when your dog runs through it, they smell good too!”

To that end, observe the way Fido interacts with your foliage before ripping it all out to replace it with nontoxic plants like lavender, wheatgrass, dandelion, and even edibles like green beans. “Each dog is different. There are some who will chew and others who couldn’t care less.”


Visit mastergardenersd.org for a full list of plants that are toxic to pets.

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