From Mother Nature Network's Ramon Gonzalez:

So you want to have a garden and a dog, but think both of your passions can't coexist within the confines of your backyard? With a bit of planning and dog whispering, you can grow a dog-friendly garden — and a garden-friendly dog.

Get on all fours in the yard you want to convert into a garden and ask yourself, "What do I, as a dog, want from this space?" The breed, personality and age of your dog may dictate just how much you can convert to garden, and what kind of garden you can grow.

"Yes, breed can matter. Sighthounds, as long as they are given space to run, are really couch potatoes in between their spurts of activity. They generally love to sun bathe," says Cheryl S. Smith, dog behavior expert and author of "Dog Friendly Gardens, Garden Friendly Dogs". "Some of the small breeds specifically meant to be companions, such as Tibetan spaniels or Maltese, can have low or no impact on the gardens. On the other hand, terriers are quite literally 'earth dogs,' and inclined to dig and chase vermin. Dachshunds go right along with them."

In 15 handy online tools for gardeners, I recommended a couple of DIY garden design tools you can use to layout a garden. Look at your property and make note of the paths the dog has already created to survey its domain. Plan your garden around these well-worn paths and convert them into garden paths by laying stepping stones or mulch.

If a dog run happens to cut through the ideal location for your new vegetable garden, you'll have to protect it. The American Kennel Club recommends creating boundaries for Fido out of a low picket fence and using vocal commands and treats to teach your pooch where it can and cannot go.

Similarly, densely planted areas, raised beds and mounds can reroute a dog through a space. If you've ever planted a new bed with seedlings and small starts, you know that people will try to gingerly step between the plants and cut through the bed, rather than moving two feet and walking around it. Don't expect your dog to do much better. Protect newly planted areas with fencing until plants are established, or start with larger plants in three-gallon containers or larger that can bounce back from some abuse.

Smith advises dog owners to build a raised bed filled with sand in which the dog can be trained to dig and play by using verbal commands and praise. "Bury a toy or some treats, run to the pit with your dog, dig something up and play with the dog with it," she says. "Any time you see the dog dig anywhere else, encourage the dog to accompany you to the digging pit, and praise. It's all good."

Leave a sunny patch of the yard undisturbed so your pooch has somewhere to bask in the sun. Designate an area away from the garden where your dog can play, dig, eat and drink. A tree stump, large piece of driftwood, or large boulder can serve as a lookout perch and marking area.

Dog-friendly garden tips from the Oregon Garden


The Oregon Garden maintains a beautiful demonstration garden that teaches visitors about how a garden can co-exist with dogs. Among some of their helpful advice is a suggestion to plant edibles like apples that you and your dog can enjoy together.

When we garden for wildlife, we create areas where fauna can hide and seek shelter. Think about a protected area, like a doghouse, where your dog can escape the scary sounds of your battery-powered trimmer, the rotating blades of your push mower, and just generally feel safe.

As a responsible dog owner, you want to ensure that your garden is safe for your four-legged friends.

The ASPCA maintains a list and photo gallery of plants that may be poisonous to pets. The group includes common garden plants like azaleas, lily of the valley, oleander, and foxglove among others. Over the years I've gardened with dogs and cats without a problem, but it would be prudent to garden on the side of caution.

Fertilize and compost responsibly. Avoid using insecticides at all, but if you have to use them, make sure you follow the directions on the packaging. Build a storage shed for anything you need to apply in your garden, and keep tools like rakes, tillers, and hoes that could cause trauma and pose a tetanus risk away from your dogs.

No matter how well you plan and train your dog to stay out of the garden, remember to keep things in perspective.

"Training can also keep the dog from interfering with the garden, but training takes time and patience, and sometimes both of these are in short supply," says the author. "Understanding that the dog is just doing what dogs do — not a demon out to destroy your beautification efforts — helps."

Related on HuffPost:

Loading Slideshow...
  • 1. Energy Savings For Your Home

    The average home spends almost 20 percent of its utility bill on cooling. These cooling bills can be lowered by simply changing out incandescent light bulbs with EPA's Energy Star qualified lighting, which use less energy and produce approximately 75 percent less heat. Raising your thermostat by only two degrees and using your ceiling fan can lower cooling costs by up to 14 percent too.

  • 2. Increase Your Gas Mileage

    Obey the speed limit; go easy on the brakes and avoid hard accelerations; reduce your time idling; and unload unnecessary items in your trunk to reduce weight. If you're not using your removable roof rack take it off to improve your fuel economy.

  • 3. Prevent Skin Cancer And Be SunWise

    Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the U.S. and is the most common cancer among 20 to 30-year-olds. Remember to practice safe sun habits.

  • 4. Heading To The Beach? Check The Water.

    Americans take almost two billion trips to the beach every year. Beaches are a place to play, watch wildlife, fish, and swim. Learn more on how to plan a safe trip to the beach and check out state specific beach advisory and closing notifications.

  • 5. Take EPA's Apps With You On Your Smartphone

    The AirNow app gives location-specific current air quality information to use to protect your health when planning daily activities and the Ultraviolet (UV) Index app provides daily and hourly forecast of the UV radiation levels from the sun so you can better prevent overexposure to the sun.

  • 6. Enjoy The Outdoors And Capture The State Of The Environment

    Almost 40 years ago, EPA's Documerica project captured thousands of images across the nation as EPA's work was just beginning. Now it's your chance to mark the progress and submit environmental photos to EPA's State of the Environment photo project.

  • 7. Protect Yourself With Insect Repellents

    Mosquitoes and ticks can carry diseases but you can protect yourself by choosing the right repellent and using it correctly. Read the product label before using; apply just enough to cover exposed skin and clothing; and look for the protection time that meets your needs. Children can use the same repellents as adults unless there is a restriction on the label.

  • 8. Water Wisely

    A large percentage of water we use at home is used outdoors. As much as 30 percent of that outdoor water use can be wasted due to evaporation by watering in the middle of the day. Water in the morning when winds are calm and temperatures are cool. Look for the new WaterSense labeled weather-based irrigation controller that uses local weather data to determine whether your sprinkler system should turn on.

  • 9. Clean Greener

    If you're going to wash the car, deck, boat, or RV- be sure to look for the Design for the Environment (DfE) label to quickly identify and choose cleaning products that are safer for families and also help protect the environment. Look for the DfE label on grill cleaners as well.

  • 10. Improve Your Indoor Air

    About 90 percent of people's time is spent indoors. While inside this summer, make sure to free your house of mold, test your home for radon, check your carbon monoxide detector and ask those who smoke to go outdoors.

  • 11. Check Into An Energy Star Hotel

    On average, America's 47,000 hotels spend more than $2,000 per available room each year on energy. Look for an Energy Star certified hotel--they perform in the top 25 percent of hotels nationwide, use an average of 35 percent less energy and emit an average of 35 percent less greenhouse gas emissions than peers.

  • 12. Waste Less And Remember To Recycle

    Each year, Americans generate millions of tons of waste in homes and communities but it's easy to reduce, reuse, and recycle. Recycled items such as glass can be used in roadway asphalt (glassphalt) and recovered plastic can be used in carpeting and park benches. Learn what you can do to waste less.

  • 13. Season Firewood

    Summer is a great time to season firewood in preparation for fall and winter. Remember to split firewood to the proper size for your wood stove or fireplace, but no larger than 6 inches in diameter; stack firewood to allow air to circulate around it; cover the top of the stack to protect it from the rain; and store your firewood for at least 6 months before using it.

  • 14. Looking For A Summer Project And Tired Of The Heat? Try Composting

    Composting can be a fun and educational summer project that saves landfill space, helps feed the soil and prevents methane, a potent greenhouse gas.

  • 15. Let Summer Inspire You And Submit Six Words For The Planet

    Keep the creativity flowing beyond the school year and into the summer by submitting a meaningful story or idea in just six words.

  • Also On Huffington Post...

    In this episode we teach you how to make your own high spf, water proof sunblock from organic and natural ingredients for pennies on the dollar compared to buying it off the shelf. Ingredients include- zinc oxide (sunblocking agent), coconut oil (soothes and conditions skin), bee's wax (waterproofing agent), and tea tree oil (soothes and repairs skin and smells good too). Rub on and paddle out.