A Perfect ‘Green’ Garden Dog House And Landscape

With Earth’s climate in a dire state of emergency, it’s important now more than ever to try to do your part.  So, why not go green and mean with a well-planted yard and garden dog house?

In this article, I’ve got some great resources for you, like some fantastic flowers that are safe for dogs.  Take an exclusive look at our list of top garden plants and also the plants you don’t want in your yard (for the safety of our furry friends). Read on my friends, read on.

Great Green Tips

Plastic Has No Place!

Garbage and plastic.
Plastic Garbage

So, I’m sure you’ve seen the news about the great plastic garbage patches in the oceans.  And with studies emerging every day about the dangers of microplastics infiltrating our bodies, waterways, soils and everywhere in between.  Let’s support a cleaner world and NOT go with plastic. Why not build your own dog house like the one I made in my video Wood Plank Dog House Build.

The problem here is that if you want to buy a dog house, it’s not likely you’re going to find one that isn’t plastic.  Well, that was the case when I went around to all the local small and big-box pet stores in my town. I’m not talking indoor dog crates here either.  I’m talking about outdoor dog houses.

Big Box Store Dog Houses

I went all over to some big box stores and all anyone had in stock were plastic ones. Now I understand that plastic is everywhere but I honestly thought someone would be selling one made of some type of wood.  The only place I found wood dog houses was on carpenter and renovator’s local websites advertising custom built dog houses. Likely an issue of supply and demand. Here in Canada, with our freezing, nasty winters, not many are foolish enough to keep their dog outside for extended periods in the winter.  I mean, when it’s minus 20 Celsius outside, that’s just plain freezing.

Most breeds you’d find frozen if left out in an unheated dog house for too long in frigid cold winter. Not a nice way to go. That being said, the dog houses here are meant for summer, for the most part. And in my opinion, they look like cat litter boxes. I bet they don’t sell many.  Again, I must recommend building your own. Or buy a custom one from a carpenter. Heck, if you’re even remotely handy, you can build your own doghouse. Just use my easy to follow the video and plans to build a simple plank-style dog house out of wood. It doesn’t look half bad either. But stay away from plastic, that crap has no place in your yard. And it’s counter-intuitive to our green dog house concept.

Want To Build Your Own Dog House?

Care And Maintenance Of The Garden Dog House

The point here is to maintain what you have.  The whole ‘disposable’ mentality is a big problem.  We always want the newest, latest version. Now I get things like computers, that as technology progresses, we upgrade our products.  But the entire concept of disposable items is one of the mentalities that got the human race into the predicament it now faces globally with garbage.  We humans simply produce too much garbage. It winds up polluting and spreading plastic into our natural eco-systems.  

So, don’t go into having a dog house and considering ‘just throwing it out’ after a few years.  Therefore, what you should be doing is building a dog house that is meant to last. This is a part of the green dog house concept. Keep your dog house in good shape by maintaining it, so it can be enjoyed by your dog and maybe even future generations of dogs.  Make your dog house and be proud of it.

A Fresh Coat Of Paint Goes A Long Way

Maybe give it a fresh coat of paint every couple of years. Or if you stain your dog house, as I did for the Wood Plank Dog House Build video, then throw a new coat on it every couple of years.  Do a Dog House Reno project to improve it. But don’t have the mentality to just dispose of it. It’s better for the environment for us humans to start getting away from disposables. What do you think? Leave me a comment below, I’d love to hear your perspective on this.

The whole idea with landscaping and gardening around our dog houses is to maintain a balance between animals and plants. Balancing an ecosystem makes us feel a great sense of achievement and accomplishment. That’s why I focus on making a green dog house, so to speak.

Planters And Gardens For The Garden Dog House

A window flower planter is shown in this file photo.
A window planter.

I’m a big fan of gardening.  You’ll see this if you take a look at my writer name Farmer Jer or see my other website FarmerJer.com.  I’m a bit of an amateur urban farmer and love to garden. I grow all kinds of flowers, herbs, fruit, and vegetables.  I love growing stuff. And I like to do projects and build things too. So, why not make a dog house that has planters on it? Or a planter roof so the entire roof is covered with plants?  There are so many ways you can incorporate planters and plants to your dog house, it could be a little jungle house for your dog!

There’s nothing better than walking into your yard and feeling proud of the gardens you’ve made.  I know it makes me feel great when I’m out admiring my yard on a nice day. Landscaping around your dog house is not only an aesthetically pleasing concept, but it’s also smart.  If your dog is out in the yard for extended periods, then they will need a BIG area where they can pee. And landscaping with this in mind can avoid issues down the road.

When You Gotta Go, You Gotta Go!

A statue of a dog peeing on the corner of a building is shown in this photo.
A statue of a dog peeing.

My dog, who is featured at the beginning of my video Wood Plank Dog House Build on YouTube, is a Yorkshire Terrier.  She is very particular with regard to where she has to urinate. I’ve noticed that she doesn’t like to pee in the same place.  She sniffs around and apparently finds a place she hasn’t urinated on, for at least some time anyway, and decide to use the least used spot she can find. 

Ask me to smell urine in the grass outside and its A)not likely I’ll agree in the first place haha or B)not likely I’ll be able to, being the nose-blind human I am (compared to dogs, we are virtually nose-blind).  Dogs have an uncanny ability to smell, compared to us humans. So when I see my dog sniffing around the yard, looking for a place to go, she’s probably thinking ‘Geez, this entire lawn stinks of pee! Nasty!’. That’s probably pretty on-point for what my princess of a little lap dog is thinking.  She’s got quite the personality, let me tell you.

The point to this rant is to remind you to try to think like a dog, just a bit when considering the way you will landscape around your dog house.  Give them as big an area of lawn to pee on as you can. And hopefully, your dog won’t be too particular like mine is.

Eight Great Safe Garden Plants For Dog Owners Garden Dog House

Beebalm

Beebalm flower shown in this photo by Farmer Jer
Beebalm flower picture by Farmer Jer.

Also known as Bergamot (NOT bergamot orange), beebalm is a wonderful plant in the mint family.  I wrote an article about it on my site FarmerJer.com actually. In my research, I discovered the usefulness of beebalm, and that it is actually safe for dogs.  Not that a dog is going to eat it, but it’s good to know it won’t harm them if they did chomp on a flower or leaf by accident.

Actually, beebalm makes fantastic tea.  I grow beebalm in my garden and use the leaves to make this tea. It’s like a subtle, mild chai with hints of both orange and lemon. The first time I made the tea, I took 4 small fresh leaves and chopped them up into a small pot of boiling water.  I let them steep for about 20 minutes. Then I drank the tea. It was refreshing, delicious and felt strangely rejuvenating. I could talk all day about how much I like beebalm, but do go read my article on it, its a really awesome little plant that most people don’t know how valuable it is.  Be in the know, my friend!

Chickens and Hens

Chicks and Hens with a purple lavender photo-bombing the shot.
Chicks and Hens with a purple lavender photo-bombing the shot.

I love these weird little alien-looking plants. So naturally, I have them in my flower gardens.  They are non-toxic to dogs and cats and look weird and cool at the same time.  Great flowering weirdness to fill in the garden around your dog house.

Common Snapdragon

White snapdragon flowers are shown in this file photo.
Beautiful White Snapdragon Flowers.

These are great garden flowering plants that are non-toxic to both dogs and cats.  I highly recommend these at the back of your flower bed as they can get a bit tall. They look beautiful and like beebalm, snapdragons also attract bees so they help support a healthy garden. Therefore, it supports the green dog house concept.

Orchids

White orchid blossoms are shown in this photo.
Orchid blossoms

Are you SERIOUS about plant care?  Well, if you have a dog and a love for some of the more delicate varieties of flowering plants, then orchids might be right for you.  If you’re up to the challenge of growing orchids, you’ll likely want to keep them away from your dog just for the fact that a dog could damage the orchid!  But seriously, most orchids are non-toxic to dogs, so if orchids are your thing, have at it. I would recommend orchids for a dog house that has a planted roof.  That way the orchids won’t get trampled by your dog when the dog is playing or running around. You also may not want the dog peeing on your orchids so the roof or a planter is the best idea.

Petunia

Petunias are beautiful little flowers that are a great addition to any garden dog house.
Purple Petunias

This beautiful flowering plant comes in a variety of colors and is non-toxic for your dog.  The plant is a perennial and a favorite in any colorful flower garden. Since they are safe for dogs, I say plant away my friend!  Plant lots of these and your gardens around your dog house will look fantastic!

Rose

The rose flower.  Always a welcome addition to the green dog house concept.
The Rose.

Ahh, the flower that symbolizes love.  Everyone knows what a red rose looks like.  And these bushes and flowers are non-toxic to dogs so you can grow as many as you want.  The dog will likely steer clear of the bushes due to the thorns, but that’s fine, your roses shouldn’t get trampled.  Kinda makes the perfect combination so long as your dog is small enough to appreciate the thorns. Bigger dogs might now care so much and wreck your rose bushes.  But roses are beautiful and non-toxic so are a wonderful addition to a garden. I think roses would look great as a row behind a dog house, maybe running a fence line or frame a garden area.  They can grow upwards of 6 feet tall depending on the variety, so keep that in mind when planting rose bushes, they can get big.

Sunflower

Sunflowers make a wonderful tall barrier of flower awesomeness to complete your green dog house.
Sunflowers emit happiness, don’t they?

Who doesn’t like a bright, beautiful sunflower?  Bees like them, and they are also non-toxic for your dog.  They like full sun and can grow pretty big so I like to plant these at the back of a bed.  Tallest at the back, shortest at the front, that way you see everything. It’s also a good way to get sunflower seeds.  These plants are also pretty hardy and have a natural resistance to pests.

Zinnia

A zinnia flower.  Beautiful and easy to keep, they make a great addition to a green garden dog house.
Zinnia flowers are beautiful and come in a variety of colors.

Okay, zinnias are one of the easiest plants to grow so there’s really no excuse not to have some color in your garden.  Zinnias are annuals. They produce seeds and then the plant dies. So, make sure you collect the seeds and start them up early inside for the next year.  Doing this can keep you in free zinnias for years and years and years and they look great too. Oh, and did I mention they are non-toxic to dogs and even cats.  Plant these in the mid of the beds (they get 12” or so tall) to add a ton of color to your flower gardens and your green dog house landscaping plan.


Don’t Sacrifice Safety For Beauty

A beautifully manicured and landscaped garden area.  A dog house would look good on the right.
A beautifully manicured and landscaped area.

Top 11 Most Common DANGEROUS Plants For Dogs That I Found At Local Stores

** If you suspect your dog ate something poisonous, seek veterinary assistance immediately! **
APCC 24-Hour Emergency Poison Hotline 1-888-426-4435

“I do not recommend planting any of these near where your dog house will be.”

Farmer Jer

Remember, just because a plant is dangerous to your dogs, doesn’t mean you can’t keep it. When you are going for a green dog house concept, balancing the gardening with having animals, you might want to have some of the following plants. Just be extra cautious, use common sense, and where you can keep them completely out of reach of your furry friends. That way you can have a beautiful garden and a green dog house at the same time.

Begonia

This pretty flowering plant may look beautiful, but it’s actually toxic to your dog.  It can destroy their kidneys. According to the ASPCA, the symptoms might include drooling.  The most toxic part of the plant is the root, so if your dog is a digger, keep them clear of these plants for sure. Keep the plant away from your dog via a fence and it could potentially fit into the green dog house concept.

Chamomile

If you are a tea drinker, then you already know how nice Chamomile tea is.  But don’t give any to your dog. Best not to plant this around your dog house. It can cause a whole slew of problems for your pooch like vomiting, diarrhea, and even anorexia so keep it away from areas your dog will be hanging out in.

Chives

These are delicious in your salad, and really bad for your dog.  Dogs like to eat grass, at least mine does, so I keep a fence around my herb garden where I grow chives.  Chives can really mess up a dog’s blood by breaking down the red blood cells. That is no way for your dog to go, so keep them away from chives.

Daisy

I grew daisies in my flower garden.  They didn’t like the soil in my area and didn’t do so good.  But in hindsight, it’s no big deal to me because they aren’t safe for my dog anyway.  Daisies can cause diarrhea, vomiting, incoordination and more so best to leave them in an area your dog won’t be going.

Foxglove

Also known as Digitalis purpurea.  This flowering plant is often found for sale at gardening centers and is a beautiful addition to any flower garden.  However, this plant is highly dangerous if ingested. Foxglove can cause cardiac arrhythmias, cardiac failure, and death.  I keep foxglove in my garden that has a fence around it. I have no interest in finding my dog died because she ate a plant she shouldn’t have. This might be one to avoid adding to our green dog house landscaping plan.

Ivy Arum

Also known as Pothos, Taro Vine, Devil’s Ivy. – Although it may not kill your dog (Phew!) it can cause severe oral irritation, drooling, vomiting and also can give your dog problems with swallowing.  This is a very common house plant due to its hardiness. Here in Ontario, you can buy these almost anywhere that sells plants. I even saw Pothos for sale at the grocery. In fact, I’ve kept Pothos for years and find it to be a great indoor plant.  Just keep your dog from chomping on it, and everything will be fine.

Lavender

My wife Christine just loves the smell of lavender.  We have several large bushes of lavender growing in two of our gardens and we harvest it regularly.  I bring a small bushel of the flowers with stems and leaves attached to the house and set out on a shelf to make the room smell nice.  They work great but aren’t so good for our dogs. Lavender causes nausea and vomiting so don’t let your dog eat it.

Lily of the Valley Bush

This bush is beautiful but can be deadly for a dog.  Even a few leaves can be serious trouble. Keep your dog clear of this bush.

Nightshade

Deadly nightshade, or black nightshade as it is sometimes called, can be found in some garden centers.  But, as the name suggests, it isn’t good to eat this stuff. The plant may have pretty little purple flowers but can cause a whole bunch of problems for your dog that may prove to be fatal so best to keep this one behind a fence if you have a dog. Although a beautiful plant, you might want to avoid including this plant in your green dog house concept.

Onion

Good for humans, bad for dogs.  The allium family is a major cause of dog poisoning.  In my experience, when eating a juicy burger, the onion is one of the most likely ingredients to fall out.  So, watch your dog when you’re eating onions and don’t let them get any.  

Tomato Plant

Another one that humans eat, well the fruit anyway.  But the plant is actually toxic to dogs. And yet, the ripe fruit is not toxic according to the ASPCA.  I love tomatoes. I grow them every year and had a huge amount from a tiny space this year. My wife and I still have a huge pile of tomatoes in our house and we’ve made batch after batch of tomato sauce.  But the plant itself is quite toxic to dogs so again, use caution. I use chicken wire to protect both my vegetables from pests but also keep my dog out of potential harm’s way. If you want to know more about how I grow organic tomatoes and also hydroponic tomatoes, take a look at my article about tomato growing on farmerjer.com.

One Common DANGEROUS Plant Family For Dogs

Allium.  This is the onion family of plants which has somewhere around 900 or so species.  This includes chives. According to the Journal of Venomous Animals and Toxins including Tropical Diseases, the allium, or onion family of plants is a common culprit for poisoning of dogs due to ingestion of the plant.  Never feed your dog anything that contains onions. Just don’t do it, unless you want to have a huge vet bill and maybe even have to bury your dog. A nasty way to go to, it messes up the hemoglobin of their blood. Yikes!  Keep your dog away from this family of plants!

Bibliography

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