Best Garden Surface for Dogs (Types and Costs)

  • By: TheWalledNursery
  • Time to read: 5 min.
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If you have a dog at home, you’ll want to make your garden safe for them to be in. Changing the garden surface can make it safer for dogs and even discourage them from digging. Bark mulch, pebbles or flat stones, and pine cone chunks are good options. 

Some dog breeds naturally love to dig. If changing the garden surface doesn’t keep them out, there are more steps that you can take.

Best garden surface dogs guide
Best garden surface for dogs

You’ll want to keep reading to learn more about the best garden surfaces and how much they can cost. 

What Are the Best Garden Surfaces For Dogs? 

The best garden surfaces to keep your dog from tearing up your garden include:

  1. bark mulch
  2. pebbles and flat stones
  3. pine cone bits

These materials all irritate your dog when they try to dig up your garden, causing them to stop. 

They also look lovely in gardens and won’t harm your pet. You’ll want to learn more about the different types of garden surfaces before you buy one.

Here’s what you should know.

1. Bark Mulch Garden Surfaces 

  • Cost per square foot: $0.20 to $0.60 

First, bark mulch is one of the best garden surfaces you can have!

The texture of thick bark chunks can bother dogs and stop them from digging up plants. Plus, the mulch adds essential nutrients to the soil as it breaks down. 

Many gardeners like how the bark mulch looks spread out among their plants.

Pine bark mulch surface for dogs
Pine bark mulch surface is great for dogs

As it breaks down, you will need to add more bark mulch to the surface. Although, it does decompose very slowly, so you won’t have to do it all that often. 

Many wood companies sell their bark mulch for cheap since they’d otherwise throw it away. If you can find a local place that offers bark mulch, you’ll get a great deal.

However, you can also find mulch made for gardening- but it will cost more than what tree removal companies will charge you. 

Most Importantly – Bark mulch is safe for dogs. Cedar, cypress, and pine bark are the most common mulch types you’ll find, and they won’t harm your pet. You will need to check that the bark doesn’t have any lingering pesticides in it, however. 

2. Pebble and Stone Garden Surfaces 

  • Cost per square foot: $1.00 to $4.00 

You can also add a layer of smooth stone to the top of your garden.

It looks beautiful and will deter your pup from digging! You need to make sure that you use stones that don’t have any edges, as the gravel can harm your dog’s paws. 

Instead, flat stones are best. You can place them around your plants, making it harder for a dog to get to them.

Garden stone surface for dogs tips
Garden stone surface for dogs

With smaller pebbles, you’ll want to set them throughout your entire garden since they shouldn’t block the water moving to the plants’ roots. 

You can usually find gravel like this at a low price. You’ll want to offer your dog plenty of grassy areas in your yard when you use this gardening material.

That way, they won’t have to step on the stones if they don’t like how they feel. 

Stones even stop the spread of weeds, reduce erosion, and prevent insect invasions. Your garden will have better protection with this type of garden surface. 

Overall – Rocks are another excellent option for gardens with dogs. Most dogs won’t try to eat the stones, although you’ll want to keep a close eye on puppies.  

3. Pine Cone Mulch Garden Surfaces 

  • Cost per square foot:  Free to $0.50 

Like tree bark, most dogs won’t want to dig up pine cone chunks.

This gardening material is also very inexpensive. It also deters other animals that may want to dig in your garden beds! 

You can either use whole pine cones or shred them when it comes to mulch.

Most people with dogs prefer to crush the pine cones before adding them to their gardens. If your dog likes to play with pine cones, this would be your best option. 

Pine cones surface for dogs

Pine cones naturally aerate the soil and also protect it from wind erosion.

You get plenty of benefits from this type of garden surface, so you’ll want to try it! You’ll also have access to tons of free pine cones if you have a pine tree in your yard. 

We’d have to say that pine cones are one of the best safe dog deterrents for gardens.

Many people also add them to their potted plants to stop their pets from digging them up. 

Keep In Mind – Pine cones aren’t toxic to dogs, but you’ll still need to know they won’t eat them. Whole pine cones can cause intestinal blockages, so you should crush them before putting them in your garden. 

Why Does My Dog Dig in the Garden? 

There are breeds of dogs that tend to dig more than others.

Your pup might dig to get to animals or insects in the soil. They might also get bored and think it’s fun to dig up plants.  

There are many different ways to deter dogs from destroying a garden. Using the above garden surfaces can help immensely.

Although, you can also use them in combination with some other deterrents. 

How Do I Stop My Dog From Digging? 

Using specific garden surfaces can discourage your dog from digging- they don’t like the way the material feels against their paws.

Stop dog from digging explained
Stop your dog from digging

However, you can also add strong-smelling plants to the garden. You won’t need many for them to have an effect. 

Marigolds, cayenne peppers, and lavender all have smells that make dogs avoid them. If you can’t plant any of these, you still have options.

You can spray a mixture of black pepper and water on your plants.

Or, you can bury cotton balls you dipped in oil of cloves just under the soil. Your dog will smell it and stop digging. 

In Short – There are plenty of ways that you can prevent a dog from tearing up your garden. These methods are safe for dogs, so you won’t have to worry! 

Final Thoughts

Changing the garden surface can make it safer for dogs and even discourage them from digging. Bark mulch, pebbles or flat stones, and pine cone chunks are good options.

All garden surfaces have their benefits but the decision is upon you. Making the choice depends on expence and which your dog prefers best. Trial and error on each garden surface to see which works best for your dog.

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