Non-Toxic Plants for Creating a Beautiful Dog-Friendly Yard

by Keri Wilson on August 26, 2023 in Lifestyle,

While pet owners are often vigilant about identifying houseplants that may harm dogs, they often overlook outdoor plants’ potential toxicity. Since today is National Dog Day, it’s an opportune moment to shed light on landscaping with non-toxic plants that are safe for our beloved canine companions. 

Jim Putnam, plant expert from Southern Living Plant Collection, says, “The most important thing is knowing your pet and their habits, and having an awareness of the plants in your yard that they may encounter.”

We’ve curated some practical tips and a list of pet-friendly plants that are easy to find at your local garden center.

Many outdoor plants can be toxic and harm your furry friends. Photo Betty Arosemena on Unsplash.

1.Proper fencing to create boundaries: Ensuring a secure environment with sturdy fencing can provide the necessary safety for your pets and protect your garden from potential damage.

2. Designated play zones: Have areas where your dog can run and play freely to prevent wear and tear in your garden. Cover these areas with dog-friendly surfaces such as grass or clover.

Create well-defined pathways in your garden. Photo Hiro Takashima on Unsplash.

3.  Create paths and walkways: Well-defined paths discourage dogs from trampling plants while guiding humans and dogs through the garden.

4.  Shaded spaces: Provide shaded areas where your dog can rest comfortably on hot days. Dog-friendly structures like pergolas can provide some protection from the elements as well.

Establish clear boundaries for your pets. Photo courtesy Jim Putnam.

5. Training and Boundaries: Train your dogs to respect certain areas in the garden and establish clear boundaries. Reinforce positive behavior to prevent them from trampling or digging in places you want to protect.

6. Pest and weed control: Choose organic and safe options for the optimal health of your plants and your dog.

7. Choose nontoxic plants:

Crapemyrtles are a dog-friendly flowering shrub.. Photo courtesy Southern Living Plant Collection.

If you’re searching for a Fido-friendly flowering shrub for sunny areas, Delta Breeze™ CrapeMyrtle offers colorfast dark burgundy foliage contrasted by pale lavender blooms. This variety offers a longer blooming season than traditional varieties and will rebloom from summer to fall.

A fragrant rosemary plant is a welcome addition to any garden. Photo courtesy Southern Living Plant Collection.

With its calming fragrance and delicate blooms, Chef’s Choice® Culinary Rosemary can add a touch of charm to your landscape and is a lovely addition to any dog-friendly garden.

Add a blooming Camellia to your pet-friendly yard. Photo courtesy Southern Living Plant Collection.

Infuse elegance into a dog-friendly area with Light Pink Shi Shi™ Camellia. Glossy spreading foliage is accented with semi-double blooms from October through December.

This rose is an attractive groundcover for your garden. Photo courtesy Southern Living Plant Collection.

Need a charming ground cover to fill in a sunny space? It’s a Breeze® Red Rose is a heat-tolerant and extremely disease-resistant option.

Blueberries are a safe treat for both people and pets. Photo courtesy Southern Living Plant Collection.

Blueberries are rich in antioxidants, and if you don’t mind sharing them with your dog, Bless Your Heart® Blueberry Shrub can provide a tasty and healthy treat for both of you.

Magnolia trees are the foundation for many landscapes in the South, and thankfully they are dog-friendly too! ‘Stellar Ruby’ Magnolia provides an elegant twist with ruby red, banana-scented blooms. 

SUPERSEMPS® Hens & Chicks are an easy-care and colorfast option for a low border or rock garden. Varying shades of green and purple instantly infuse texture and interest with this evergreen succulent.

A safe, beautiful garden can be enjoyed by both people and their dogs. Photo courtesy Jim Putnam.

Landscaping with dogs requires balancing beauty and functionality, creating an environment that meets your pets’ and plants’ needs. Following these tips can help make it possible to design a space for both you and your dog to enjoy.


Cover photo Ron Fung on Unsplash

Keri Wilson writes on behalf of Garden Media Group, a firm specializing in marketing and public relations for the home and garden, horticulture, outdoor living, and lawn and landscape industries. For more information, visit