Drifting, dancing snow swirled wildly upon the wind, suspended momentarily before falling to the ground.  The great hardwoods sluffed and shuddered the fleecing while the evergreens donned it with style and panache.  Their mighty boughs bore the weight both beautifully and pragmatically.


Evergreens not only provide much-needed color and aesthetics in Winter, but they also offer protection and warmth for local wildlife.  The often dry earth underneath their branches offers birds and critters an important supply of dry, dead leaves and debris to shore up their nests and dens.


Nature provides, and her grand design is nothing short of amazing, so why can’t we borrow a page from her book and create pet friendly spaces for our furry friends?  Guess what?  You can!  It’s called Petscaping, which basically means creating safe and thoughtful spaces where pets can live and play.


Consider adding dog friendly plants like edible flowers (i.e. marigolds, pansy and nasturtium).  Dogs also like the taste of herbs, like basil and cilantro, which can also freshen their breath.  Fruits and vegetables are also great choices, as long as you don’t mind sharing.  Please be sure to research all plants prior to planting.  The ASPCA is a great place to start and offers a listing of toxic and safe plants.


Dogs also love access to water, which can be offered artfully and playfully.  Consider self-circulating, self-filling water features, like fountains or ponds.  Bacteria killing UV filters can be added to keep water clean and safe.


Create pathways that will aid in keeping pets from tromping through beds while keeping their paws relatively clean.  Consider rotten granite, flagstone, river rock or certain mulches.


If you don’t have a lot of natural shade, consider adding umbrellas or overhead sails where dogs can retreat from the heat.  In offering shaded areas, dogs may be less inclined to dig.


Keep chemicals to a minimum, and be sure to read labels thoroughly when using.  Pay attention to the “re-entry interval” if listed, which refers to the time in which dogs can return to the area safely.  If no “re-entry interval” is listed, keep pets away until the dust has settled, and the chemical has time to dry.


Dogs are a big part of our families, and enjoy the outdoors as much, if not more than we do.  Invite them out into the landscape by creating safe, dog-friendly areas that are both beautiful and practical.  Reach out to Sweeney’s, and we’ll help you design and create a landscape you can both enjoy!

Plant of the Week

Photo of Midnight Rose Coral Bells courtesy of Midwest Groundcovers.

Midnight Rose Coral Bells

Large, dark purplish-black foliage with hot pink flecks lighten to a creamy pink in Summer.  Grows in a mounding form 12-18″ tall and 18-24″ wide.  Prefers sun to partial shade and moist, well-drained soil.  Attracts butterflies and hummingbirds.  Deer resistant.  Dog safe.

“To sit with a dog on a hillside on a glorious afternoon is to be back in Eden, where doing nothing was not boring – it was peace.”

-Milan Kundera

Warm wishes,

Kim Sweeney