Experts share tips for pet-proofing your outdoor space this summer

Summer is the best time for being out in the garden. But if you own a pet it can be tricky to enjoy the outdoors as your furry friend digs up the lawn or does their business on your prize plants.

To help protect your garden from pet damage whilst also ensuring your space is safe for animals so they don’t harm themselves – share 10 top tips below.

Protect your plants

There are many safe sprays you can use near your plants and flowers to deter dogs and cats from going near them. Many are made from plants themselves and contain strong scents that dogs dislike, such as orange peel and bitter apple, which should steer them away.

Cats really don’t like citrus smells so mixing some orange essential oil in water and spraying it around the perimeter of flowerbeds should do the trick.

Create a designated ‘business’ area

One way to prevent your dog from doing their business everywhere is to designate a specific place in your garden for this.

Bring your dog to the spot to relieve themselves and then reward them with praise and treats. You can leave one of their toys in the area, so they know it’s theirs.

Get rid of harmful plants

We want our pets to be able to enjoy their outdoor space safely, but some plants are dangerous to our beloved companions. While many plants are perfectly safe, others can range from mildly irritating to potentially lethal.

To avoid illness, or worse, get rid of any plants that may harm your pet. These include irises, hydrangeas, daffodils, lilies and herbs (English pennyroyal mint, parsley, etc.).

Create barriers

If you don’t want your pets anywhere near your flowers, shrubs and veggies, use decorative fencing as borders or barriers so they can’t access them.

Make pathways

Think about your pet’s ‘path to grass’ on very hot days so that they don’t burn their paws on hot patios. To do this, add leafy plants to create shady spots along the route to your lawn.

Clear up any exposed patches or piles of soil

Dogs love to dig, so an exposed area of soil is really inviting for your pup. Smooth over or remove any piles of soil to prevent mess and spreading more dirt.

Use raised plant beds

If you’re trying to grow something in your garden, pets can hinder the process as they may trample or pee on the plants. Invest in raised plant beds so that they can’t reach and destroy your greenery.

Choose tough grass

Lots of common garden grass is easily destroyed by pets, but some variants are tougher and much more durable. Bermuda grass is a great option as it has deep, sturdy roots, making it harder to ruin. It’s also fast-growing, meaning that any damaged areas can be quickly repaired.

If putting down grass seeds, try to keep your pet off the new areas of grass while it gets established. Seeds can cause problems by getting into pets’ ears, eyes and paws and working their way under the skin.

Protect your pond

Our furry friends love a swim or a drink in hot weather. So, if you’re lucky enough to have a pond, invest in a cover to stop dogs jumping in and hurting themselves, and to keep fish safe from cats.

Make sure you’re covered

You might not be aware that your home contents insurance could cover objects in the garden too. Check your policy to make sure you’ve got the level of cover for your needs. Although some insurance providers offer cover for loss or damage of certain plants and shrubs, most standard home insurance policies won’t cover accidental damage caused by pets, especially in the garden.