By A.A. Newton for Lifehacker
Pets and gardens don’t always get along. If you have both, it’s important to keep them out of each other’s business so everyone stays happy and healthy.© Photo: kochabamba (Shutterstock) A boxer dog lies next to a garden bed full of green plants and yellow flowers. It has its tongue out.
How to pet-proof your garden
Of course, this is a lot easier said than done. Dogs love to dig, and cats love to find new and exciting venues for pooping—which, for some reason, are always your garden beds. But with some common sense and a little work, you can keep pets and other assorted critters out of your garden and out of trouble. This video from HomeAdvisor lays out loads of great tips for pet-proofing any garden:
Grab some chicken wire
You probably already know that chicken wire is great for keeping cats, dogs, and other small animals out of garden beds—and that you should stick to pet-safe fertilizer and plants in case they outsmart the chicken wire—but plants aren’t the only part of your garden that’s potentially dangerous for pets. Birds can spread diseases like salmonella to you and your pets, so if you have a bird feeder, it’s important to clean it regularly and keep it far away from your pets (and kids).
Add a few decoys
Trying to keep animals from getting into trouble requires near-constant supervision, which is where decoys come in handy. We already know that giving pets a “yes” for every “no” is an effective way to modify their behavior; designating a corner of your yard for unlimited digging (or an all-you-can-eat catnip buffet) should make your plants look a lot less interesting by comparison.
In general, you can avoid a lot of headaches by giving pets an inviting space of their own that’s near the garden without being in the garden. That could be a doghouse, a patch of dirt with lots of toys, a personal grove of catnip and wheat grass, or even some pet-friendly outdoor furniture. You’ll still probably need some chicken wire, but with any luck, your pets will be so busy enjoying their personal hangout zone that they won’t even look at your tomatoes.