What does a pet-friendly garden look like?

Are you an animal lover and want to make your garden not only for you, but also for the benefit of nature? That’s great, because you can offer a wide variety of animals a species-appropriate and safe habitat. And a pet-friendly garden is really fun! You can read about the things you should consider that benefit all animals, domestic and wild alike, here.

The planting

Those who place a lot of emphasis on exotic plantings often do the native wildlife no favors. The unknown plants are practically worthless for the ecological system of our animals. This is because they only feel comfortable in a natural habitat that they are also accustomed to and where they can find the most compatible food and the best nesting opportunities.

In addition, cats and dogs often eat grasses when they are not feeling well in order to vomit better afterwards. Anyone who grows poisonous plants in the garden (for example, ivy or chrysanthemums are poisonous to cats) is putting the lives of their four-legged friends at risk! A natural, native plant variety without poisonous herbs or berries is therefore recommended for all garden visitors.

Guide to poisonous plants

You can read more about poisonous plants for dogs and cats in these articles:

In addition attract various shrubs and bushes the valuable bees, without whose pollination skills we would not have flowers or even fruits and vegetables. But other insects are also attracted and serve not only as useful exterminators of aphids, but at the same time as a food source for hedgehogs, bats or other wildlife.

Natural garden for wild birds
Birds are happy to have native plants – they provide enough food at any time of the year.

Aside from providing food and nesting opportunities, shrubs and trees also provide shady spots or shelter in the summer and a place to hibernate in the winter. Especially if you leave the leaves or rake them up.

If you’re not a fan of large piles of leaves or simply don’t have the conditions, you can still become a wildlife rescuer with building a hedgehog house yourself.

Set boundaries

Those who allow dogs in the garden would do well – depending on the size of the dog – to draw a hedge or a fence. Sometimes a wall also serves as a boundary. All of these opportunities, in turn, provide shelter for small creatures to nest in.

Which limitation is used depends on the animals and the space, but also on personal taste and financial possibilities. However, it should be borne in mind that wild animals use large territories and then can not enter or leave a hermetically sealed garden. So small wild animals are happy to have practical passages to travel through different gardens.

A small garden pond with stones and green plants. Caption reads: Garden ponds with fish need some care. But even without fish, the cool water pleases the eye and many an insect.
Garden ponds with fish require some care. But even without fish, the cool water pleases the eye and many an insect.

Particularly demanding: the garden pond

If you have a beautiful garden pond, you should pay attention to the right choice of fish. If the pond is large and deep enough, the fish can also overwinter in it. If it is not deep enough, it threatens to freeze through completely in the winter. In that case, the fish would have to spend the cold winter inside the house.

Garden ponds with fish are a subject in itself and deal with them for beginners is not easy. Therefore, expert advice is absolutely necessary, because there are many things to consider.

Otherwise, a pond can also look pretty if there are only plants in it and no fish stocking. Presumably, frogs will settle there if they like the pond. These overwinter in the soil in or around the pond.

A garden pond made from an old shower tray with stones and a frog. Caption reads: garden ponds without fish stocking are easy to maintain and please many a frog.
Garden ponds without fish stocking are easy to maintain and please many a frog.

Avoid sources of danger

The greatest danger in the garden are all kinds of electrical appliances such as lawn mowers, lawn robots or hedge trimmers, because they can mean death for small animals and seriously injure larger ones, such as hedgehogs. Therefore, if possible, hand scythes or reel mowers should be used. Otherwise, before mowing the property must be thoroughly searched – but this is no guarantee that an animal will not still come into the garden while the mowing work is already underway.

The same applies to the cutting and felling of trees. Birds or squirrels often sit in their nests here, and these may then become homeless – or be killed during felling. Therefore, great caution is required, because the Federal Nature Conservation Act prohibits the destruction of actively used animal nests!

By the way, it is essential that trees, especially fruit trees, are not covered with nets, because animals could get caught in them and die in agony!

Insecticides, pesticides or even fertilizers should be taboo in a pet-friendly garden. The risk of domestic or wild animals eating any of it is far too great. The popular “slug pellets” in particular are an absolute no-go in a pet-friendly garden. The same applies to the removal of leaves or other garden waste. These must not be burned in the garden under any circumstances. Not only because of the stench and smoke, but also because domestic and wild animals could get hurt. Instead, piles of leaves provide a great way for small animals to shelter for the winter.

Birds bathing and splashing in a bowl
Watering troughs with running, fresh water are especially popular with birds.

Animal watering troughs in the garden are extremely popular with birds, who also like to bathe in them, and with all other animals that like to take a sip of water in the summer. But all watering holes, just like rain barrels or garden ponds, are also potential sources of danger where animals can drown.

Therefore, water buckets or barrels should be covered in any case. Watering holes and ponds should be constructed in such a way that the animals cannot drown in the first place; for example, small boards or footbridges in the pond help animals that have fallen in to get out again. In winter, ponds should be covered anyway (always taking into account the inhabitants).

Each garden also offers individual sources of danger or trip hazards and risks of injury that must be eliminated. These include

  • Basement stairs
  • open light wells
  • all types of gratings
  • Tilt window to the garage or tool shed
  • Sharp garden knives or other pointed objects lying around in the open that humans or animals could step into
A hedgehog in a garden. Caption reads: Wildlife such as hedgehogs enjoy a pet-friendly garden.
Wild animals such as hedgehogs are happy to have a pet-friendly garden.

Create a pet friendly garden is not difficult

Although it may read that way: It’s not hard at all to set up a pet-friendly garden where not only your animal family members and you feel comfortable, but wildlife does too.

With this you do something good not only for you, but also for nature :-)

Two black and white cats sit on a table between succulents. In the background a white gate. Caption reads: With a few little tricks, cats, dogs and all wildlife can live together in your pet-friendly garden.
With a few little tricks, cats, dogs and all wildlife can live together in your pet-friendly garden.

What does your green oasis of well-being look like?

What animals do you share it with?

As always, we appreciate every comment!

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