Pet friendly Landscape Garden Design with couch lawn and potted plants.

Landscape Garden Design with dog friendly plants.

A patch of lawn, even if it a small patch, will provide recreational space for children and pets in your backyard. In this landscape garden design, a stepped brush fence creates a screen for the colorbond garden shed. If you have a lot of brush fence, consider breaking it up with some vertical gardens. Having a shed in the backyard means that all of the fertilizers, garden machinery and fuels can be safely locked away. A grevillea and a feature garden as well as screening plants add to the effect that makes the garden appear larger than it actually is.

Pet friendly Landscape Garden Design with soft Couch lawn for pets
A couch lawn is ideal for pets and children to play on.

The lawn creates a valuable space for pets to play or for entertaining guests as well as contrast and a beautiful green space for the garden.

Hard wearing couch lawn
Hard wearing couch lawn can be an ideal surface for pets and children to play on.

Couch Grass

The grass chosen was Santa Ana couch Cynodon dactylon x Cynodon transvaalensis which is a hybrid variety of Nullarbor couch. Its soft matt is ideal for pets and small children. For the Gold Coast and south east Queensland it will require regular thatch removal, so take a look at other varieties better suited to the Queensland Climate. For example Oz-E-tuff. If you are in a colder climate, your couch may go a little brown over winter. In this picture you can see where the shadier part of the lawn has just started to brown. This is a temporary condition and your couch will revive once the warmer weather returns. This is not usually a problem on the Gold Coast with its mild winters. If your dog likes to wee on the lawn keep a bucket of water or a hose handy to wet the lawn down where your dog has been. The key to making the lawn child friendly and dog friendly, is in the layers below the lawns surface. The lawns should be laid on a sandy loam soil to maintain a soft surface in the case of falls. See our blog on Lawn Care for more information.

Rear Couch Lawn and plants out of reach of small dogs.
The potted plant and pedestal with the lawn pavers create an illusion of depth in the lawn

Garden Design

The lawn slopes gently down to a stained sleeper edge and raised garden bed. The blue pansies contrast beautifully with the white alyssum and white garden chairs. Herbs for the kitchen are also grown in this raised garden bed. Raised garden beds and pots help to keep young dogs and puppies away from plants. The landscape garden design features wooden decking and a rendered concrete retaining wall. Pavers sunk into the lawn help to reduce wear marks and create a contrast with the rich green couch lawn. The potted plant and pedestal along with the pavers create an illusion of depth for this landscape garden design. The lawn pavers lead to garden steps to access the lawn area.

Lawn Pavers
Lawn Pavers and edge paving leading to garden steps.

In this landscape garden design, Sandstone edging is used at the top of the antique slate step. The sandstone provides a wonderful contrast to the lawn and its neat edge helps with garden maintenance of the lawn edging. The steps can be used as seating for entertaining as well as providing access to the lawn area. Small dogs and older people might struggle with steps this height, so a ramp is provided by the edge of the lawn. This ramp also helps when the mower needs to be brought out to the front yard.

antique slate steps
Sandstone lawn edging and antique slate steps.

Plants to avoid for Pets and Children

For pets and small children there are many plants that should be avoided. There are plants that are toxic to pets, and some which will cause skin irritation. For example, Moses in the Cradle (Tradescantia spathacea) and Zebrina ‘Wandering Jew’ (Tradescantia zebrine) should be avoided if you have a dog, as they have been associated with allergic skin disease. Other plants to be avoided include holly, poinsettias, cycads and oleander. Another plant to avoid is the Duranta erecta which is often sold as a hedge plant but is poisonous for your pets and children. When planning your garden, talk to the horticulture expert at your local plant nursery for help with pet friendly plant selection. Even the pebble mulch we have used in this garden will be a problem if your dog likes to chew on stones. It is important to keep your dog entertained with toys and chew bones as well as keeping an eye on them in the garden.

Plants in pots.

For splashes of colour around the garden, viola, pansies and lobelias were added to the shrubs growing in pots. Out of the reach of puppies and small dogs. Snail pellets should also be avoided if you have a puppy or small dog.

Pansies and lobelias
Pansies and lobelias add a slash of colour to the courtyard.

Plants in Vertical Gardens and Garden Walls

Another effective way to keep your pet and garden separated is to use a vertical garden or a garden wall. This will mean that your plant is safe from your new puppy and your new puppy is safe from your plants.

Pet Friendly Paved Courtyard

This landscape garden design features a paved courtyard, a dark green magnolia grandiflora “little gem” was planted in a square garden pot. The pot was painted dark brown to create an aged ceramic look. (The pot is actually fibreglass.) As its name suggests, little gem is a compact variety of magnolia. It will help to give your garden a tropical feel.
The orange marigolds go well with the blue lobelia and dark green Magnolia. Around the pot you can see the start of a box hedge and the pebble mulch. In the background climbing roses in concrete pots, and wall mounted pot plants add to the effect.

magnolia grandiflora “little gem”
Magnolia grandiflora “little gem”
Magnolia grandiflora “little gem”
Magnolia grandiflora “little gem” in a planter pot.

Magnolia grandifolia ‘Little Gem’ is a compact cultivar that will flower at a young age. Shiny oval-shaped leaves are dark to mid-green. Large creamy-white chalice-shaped flowers are very fragrant. You will see these flowers appear through summer and autumn. A slightly acidic, rich soil with plenty of organic matter is recommended. In this courtyard, the plant is protected from hot northerly winds. The elevated pot keeps the plants out of reach for puppies and small dogs.

Contact us

For help with the design  and development or your landscaping ideas, contact one of our experienced Landscape Gardeners. We can help with small garden design all the way up to  Commercial Landscape design.  Our specialities include fast growing screening plants, plant health and horticulture, garden lighting  and outdoor pool landscaping ideas.
For more landscape garden design ideas, take a look at our Garden Design blog.

Click on the link to our blog page for of our landscape gardening advice on horticulture and garden design.
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