One way to avoid dog damage in the garden

Here's a simple way that gardeners can use to prevent damage to plants by playful dogs.

Courtesy of Donna Williamson
Look carefully at the center of this photo near the bottom to see the decorative edging pieces that have been placed where family dogs often enter a flower bed and cause damage to plants. (You may need to hit the Enlarge button below to really see it.) This kind of edging is easy to find, relatively inexpensive, attractive, and it works.
Courtesy of Donna Williamson
From a distance, the decorative metal edging pieces, placed in spots where dogs enter the garden, are invisible.

My friends have a couple of golden retrievers, one just about two years old. PJ is a big boy and lumbers through the garden for amusement. Hannah is much more graceful, but when playtime hits, it's best to get out of the way.

Plantings easy for playful dogs to damage

My friends are also accomplished and eager gardeners and at the entrance to their home have developed a front walkway area with several varieties of boxwood, bulbs, and perennials. They're easy for dogs to damage.

They recently came up with a brilliant solution. As I was walking up to the front of the house, I didn’t notice them. But as I got closer, I saw pieces of decorative metal edging randomly arranged within the plantings. [See first photo at top.]

Since one of my friends is a fabulous artist, I initially thought this was an artful arrangement.

The solution is easy and decorative

“It keeps the dogs out!” she explained. “I watched where they entered and put in one of the pieces. They could easily jump over them, but it’s enough of a visual distraction that they are not sure they can land easily. It’s working beautifully!”

Although there are other ideas, this one is easy and inexpensive. Lots of nurseries and other stores carry these individual edge pieces in colors such as black or dark green. These metal ones are not heavy or clunky, and are invisible from a distance. [See second photo above. Click on the arrow at the right base of the first photo.] They are mildly decorative and don’t need to match to change the dog’s behavior.

What a great solution! I will gladly adopt this approach with other wonderful dogs that have trouble resisting gardens. Thanks, Michelle and John!


Donna Williamson blogs regularly at Diggin' It. She's a master gardener, garden designer, and garden coach. She has taught gardening and design classes at the State Arboretum of Virginia, Oatlands in Leesburg, and Shenandoah University. She’s also the founder and editor of Grandiflora Mid-Atlantic Gardening magazine, and the author of “The Virginia Gardener’s Companion: An Insider’s Guide to Low Maintenance Gardening in Virginia.” She lives in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia. To read more by Donna, click here.

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