While I love my pets – Gina (a jack russell x sausage dog…. we think) and Lea (a small tabby cat) – how they see the garden doesn’t always align with my view. This year I have accepted it is not just my garden, it is theirs as well and have tried to adapt the space accordingly.


It was an easy solution for Lea. I could continue to have my plants squashed in certain pots that she loves to sleep in (I even tried skewers & sticks which she would also flatten and sleep on), or I could leave a few empty pots to keep her happy. Also I had to accept that any time I picked up the camera she would appear, wanting to be part of every photo.

Gina on the other hand, while small and cute – she’s quite territorial. Make that incredibly territorial. She guards our property from any dog who may walk past by running up and down the fence line reminding them of how big and tough she is (they are never fooled). After watching many plants become trampled and even setting up pots to try and break up her running (with mixed success) – I decided to make a formal dog run for her.

Creating the dog run

One of the hardest parts of the garden to get anything to grow has been the section directly behind the front fence. Gina had compacted the soil with her running and a large tree on our nature strip means little light ever falls there. To try and improve this I dug up all the soil, added gypsum (we have heavy clay soil here which I’ve spent a lot of time trying to break up), & compost and mixed it all in. I created a more formal dog run with small stakes and twine, and planted some shade tolerant plants in which have all taken off with great success! Gina no longer tramples my garden and she remains happy being the “big” guard dog. 

It’s lovely having the company in the garden – the pets supervise every planting and change made, and they have both really enjoyed what our front yard has become. They now spend loads more time in the garden than when we first moved in, enjoying all the new spots created by the new plants (e.g. lying in the shade of a pumpkin leaves) which is really a great compliment.