HOW TO MAKE YOUR COMMUNITY GARDEN DOG FRIENDLY

Whether it’s a plot of land to grow flowers, herbs or produce, a garden brings health and community benefits to any neighborhood.

From making friends with neighbors to getting in a little daily exercise, a community garden can yield a boost in neighborhood friendliness and productivity. And who doesn’t love home-grown produce to feed their family or a bouquet of flowers to brighten up their living room?

But before homeowner’s association or apartment managers implement a community garden, they should hire a landscape architect to design the space and make it pet friendly for all the dog owners in the neighborhood.

To better prepare you for your first phone call or meeting with your landscape architect, we’ve put together a guide on how to make your garden welcoming and dog friendly:

DOGGIE PROOFING YOUR COMMUNITY GARDEN

While the benefits seem endless for implementing a community garden, some precautions have to be put into place to maintain safety and cleanliness.

Neighbors are bound to walk their dogs close to the flowers and plants, and community gardeners might bring their furry friends inside while they garden. With dogs roaming around and inside the garden, landscape architects will want to include pet stations in their design

With doggie stations, pet owners can pick up their dog’s #2 with poop bags and throw it out in a dog waste receptacle—all in one motion. Unlike cow manure, dog poop does not make a good fertilizer, and it can get in the way of gardeners when scattered across the ground.

On top of a dog waste station, community gardeners need to be informed of dog-friendly plants and not-so-dog-friendly plants. Consider creating a list of the toxic plants and require gardeners to sign off stating they will not plant them. You can also speak with your landscape architect and ask them to leave space for signage where you can list the top five poisonous plants and the top five dog-friendly plants:

TOP 5 POISONOUS PLANTS FOR DOGS

Aloe Vera. While the yellow goo inside the aloe plant heals sunburns and skin irritations, it contains aloin, an agent that’s toxic to dogs.

Azalea. The azalea plant is a vibrant, easy-to-grow flower shrub with a powerful toxin to dogs. Just a few leaves can cause serious gastrointestinal issues, and excessive consumption can be fatal. If you find your dog eating any azalea plants, contact your vet immediately.

Elephant Ear. The name of this plant comes from its large, elephant ear shaped leaves. However, they contain calcium oxalate crystals, which cause oral discomfort.

English Ivy. This plant tends to grow on the sides of buildings or flat surfaces. It’s low maintenance, but it produces a steroid that’s toxic to dogs called sapogenin.

Sago Palm. The sago palm, a variety of a palm tree, thrives in warmer climates. However, they are extremely harmful to dogs. The entire plant is toxic to dogs, but the seeds contain high levels of a possibly fatal toxin called cycasin.

TOP 5 DOG-FRIENDLY PLANTS

Blue-Eyed Daisy. Known for its pearly white petals and steel blue core, the blue-eyed daisy bloom throughout the summer. They’re tough and can withstand hot and dry conditions.

Daylily. Daylilies are quite the versatile plant. They thrive from Minnesota to Florida, withstand a variety of soils, and bloom for years with basically no attention.

Marigold. Another easy-going plant, marigolds can handle a wide range of growing conditions. Plant them, and they grow without much help from you.

Petunia. Easier to grow from transplants than seeds, petunias are one of the most popular flowers. They brighten any garden with their vibrant pastel colors.

Sunflower. Most of us are familiar with sunflowers, but did you know they’re another easy-to-grow plant? They tolerate heat and droughts. And who wouldn’t love sunflower seeds on tap?

For a full list of poisonous plants for dogs and dog-friendly plants, visit ASPCA’s website. If you or your landscape architect need dog park accessories for your community garden, in addition to dog poop stations and bags, browse DOGIPOT’s entire line of dog park pet products.