Three pet-friendly garden hacks to try this weekend

Jean Vernon
17 June 2022 - 2 min read
gardening dog

Here are three simple ideas to keep your pets safe, happy and engaged in your garden.

Our very own ManyPets gardening novices have filmed their efforts to show you just how easy it is to make your garden a pet haven – we can do much more than just pet insurance, you know!

Each of these garden projects needs minimal space and time. Why not give them a try this weekend and see what your cat and dog thinks of the result.

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Build a pet wigwam

A garden wigwam made from thick hazel stems makes a fabulous scratching post for your cats. But if you made it a bit bigger and left a few poles out at the front then you have created a den for any pet.

Now train runner beans up the outside and the leafy shade creates privacy and a cool place for pets to hang out. It's a fabulous way to keep pets cool, not to mention a source of delicious fresh beans for you.

You will need…

  • Hazel poles

  • Garden twine

  • Tool to poke holes in the ground

Step by step

  1. Gather together seven or more thick hazel poles or similar (don’t use bamboo it might splinter, but willow could work too). Choose clean straight stems about two inches (5cm) diameter and 7-8 feet long (210-240cm). Remove any side shoots. Dig over the area where you are building the wigwam so that you can insert the poles, or find a tool that will pre-make holes about 18cm (6inch) deep.

  2. Push the thicker end of each stick, into the ground at a slight angle and then put another pole opposite, leaning them together at the top. Now spread the others out at even spacing and push the fatter ends into the ground, leaning them in at the top. If you want a hidey-hole remember to leave a pole or two out on one side.

  3. Tie the top with strong twine, or cable ties to hold the structure together. Now you can plant out runner beans on the outside to clamber up the poles, or why not hang a hanging basket of catmint from the centre to waft its scent far and wide for your cat family?

Create a sunning spot

Most pets like a place to rest and sunbathe somewhere quiet. It could be a big, flat rock that collects the heat. Or a paving slab mounted on top of some breezeblocks, or a lovely turf seat. Watch where your pet likes to be the most and install a raised platform for them to chill out. A turf seat is a relatively inexpensive if you can get some rolls of turf.

You will need…

  • Slabs of turf

  • Soil

Step by step

  1. Get hold of some grass turf. Don’t use artificial grass, it’ll trap dirt, be difficult to clean and could make your pet hot and bothered. You could even grow a few grass turfs in seed trays, or buy a few rolls depending on the size of your project.

  2. Make a mound out of soil to the size and shape that you want. Firm it down so that the soil isn’t crumbly and loose. Take your time to make sure the turf seat is in the right place and the right size for your pet’s needs.

  3. Unroll the turves over the mound. Make sure there’s a close fit between the roots of each turf and the soil below. You can pin them down with wooden pegs. Push these through the turf and into the soil. Keep the joins close together. Now water thoroughly until the grass turf roots into the soil, especially in hot and dry weather.

Make a drinking station for cats and dogs

All life needs water. If our pets are outside in the garden in hot weather then a shallow bowl/bird bath positioned beneath a slow dripping tap will provide fresh clean water. You can make this as simple or elaborate as you want. But remember that your garden wildlife may use it too.

You will need…

  • Large, shallow bowl

  • Outdoor tap or water butt

Step by step

  1. Find a large shallow container like a bowl, or a birdbath or buy something special for the purpose.

  2. Place it beneath an outdoor tap so that it can be filled with fresh water and cleaned regularly. You can leave the tap gently dripping while your pets are in the garden to keep the bowl topped up.

  3. If you don’t have an outdoor tap then place the bowl or birdbath out in the open in the garden and keep it topped up with fresh water. Be sure to clean it regularly with ecological washing up liquid to keep it hygienic for your pets and for wildlife.

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