Dog safe plants for backyard.

IRuehl(8b-9a, Savannah GA)April 27, 2011

I need something that will hold up to 2 big bulldogs. As of right now its a huge empty space, with a short fence on the southside of my home,backs up to a huge wooded lot that is guaranteed to stay that way. Gets shade in the hottest part of the day thanks to the large trees in back. Its in Savannah GA, so it gets hot and muggy as all get out. Am I asking to much? LOL, help!

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inkognito

You made a choice to own two "big bulldogs", a good choice in my opinion, so make the garden for them as them dogs don't do compromise.

    Bookmark   April 28, 2011 at 5:42PM
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IRuehl(8b-9a, Savannah GA)

That's what I want to do, lol! I am going to add pavers off my deck, so I have a place for my BBQ, and stuff, and a playground for my kids, I have a huge area for lawn, and doggy playfulness. But there's not one plant in my yard! I want to add some small trees, and strong shrubs that wont poison my pups, and can take being bumped about a bit :)

    Bookmark   April 29, 2011 at 7:23AM
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gardengal48

If adult dogs, poisoning is not likely to be a concern. Accidental poisoning of pets ingesting toxic landscape plants is pretty low :-)

But you will need something that will stand up to playfulness and accidental bumping or running into.....limit the amount of fussy perennials and focus on woody shrubs and trees and hardy groundcovers. And while I typically recommend starting out small, this may be one time when you want to invest in larger, more mature plants to begin with. Less chance of getting damaged before establishment if you start out with something of size.

As to selection, choose whatever you like that tolerates your specific conditions. Berries can sometimes be attractive, even to older, adult dogs, and are often toxic to some degree so you might want to avoid plants that produce these in quantity (like hollies, daphne and skimmia), otherwise you are not very restricted except by growing conditions.

    Bookmark   April 29, 2011 at 8:49AM
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woodyoak zone 5 Canada(5b)

Shade will be a necessity for dogs in your climate. Some big, arching, tough shrubs would be good so they can have a nice shady den underneath them. I know what works in my climate but don't have any idea what would work in yours.... (Bridalwreath spireas and Beautybush - Kolkwitzia - are the favorites for the dogs to lay under here. The dogs like to excavate a pit/den under them to get to cool soil. Those shrubs are tough enough that they don't mind the digging...)

    Bookmark   April 29, 2011 at 11:07AM
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leafy02(6 Central Kentucky)

I have dogs, and our biggest problem has been getting things to grow in the "paths" they wear along the fenceline as they run back and forth arguing with the neighbor's dog. Once things are established (shrubs, sunflowers, whatever) the dogs will go around them, but until they are about 2' tall, it seems they're just as happy to run them over.

It isn't pretty, but what I've done is basically made a cage of 36" wooden stakes around new shrubs until they have had a chance to reach the magic height.

Several houses ago I thought planting thorny climbing roses along the fence would solve the problem, but those roses were no match for my terrier. She ate the whole row within a week of them being planted, thorns and all!

    Bookmark   May 2, 2011 at 12:05AM
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nandina(8b)

Yes, any new plants/trees must be protected with fencing. First tree that comes to mind and would provide a change of texture against woodlands would be Windmill palm (Trachycarpus fortunei). Also consider, crape-myrtles, Savannah holly, Chaste tree (Vitex agnus-castus), Fringe tree (Chionanthus virginicus), Wax Myrtle (Myrica cerifera). All are easily located at your excellent nurseries in Savannah where you can ask for other suggestions. The one tall shrub to avoid is Oleander (Nerium oleander) as it is very poisonous.

Now to go off topic...as you are new to Savannah which is a wonderful city, suggest you plan a Sunday brunch at the Westin Hotel to enjoy the music of two famous old time jazz musicians. On piano is former musical director for Bob Hope, Bob Alberti and on base five time winner of Downbeat polls, Ben Tucker. They play all the oldies and it is an enjoyable treat.

    Bookmark   May 4, 2011 at 2:31PM
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cearbhaill

Dogs and gorgeous gardens can co-exist but it isn't always easy- you have to stay two steps ahead of them and think everything through from their viewpoint and their eye level.
I have literally over 250 of these little cages around plants.

My dogs are 180-200 lbs. and the puppies are very clumsy and the cages do work.
It's just enough of a deterrent to cause them to go around instead of through LOL.
I buy the fencing in bulk and cut to fit.
When the plant reaches a size where it can hold its own I cut the cages off and discard them.

I also think it is important to keep some paths clear.
My beds have room between the fence and the plant farthest back for the dogs to run- I can't stress this one enough.
They're gonna do it regardless so I just incorporated that thought into the bed designs.
And everything is dog proofed- even those reindeer there are impaled on steel fence posts driven deep.

Here is a link that might be useful: more yard photos

    Bookmark   June 5, 2011 at 11:30AM
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Frankie_in_zone_7

You've focused your question on what type of plant, but as you can see there is an underlying design- for - dogs concept. Search and you will find some extensive detailed discussions on previous threads.

    Bookmark   June 6, 2011 at 7:08AM
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