With the proliferation of pets (or fur babies, if you’re a pet parent), landscapers across the country have adapted to taking a pet-friendly approach to crafting appealing properties. Often, this is easier said than done, especially if you are unaccustomed to considering animal safety or unfamiliar with the effects certain plants can have on pets.
Plant selection, the use of chemical sprays, and more can all heavily influence whether a Tampa Bay property is suitable for pets. While you don’t need to become an expert on the specifics of these topics, having a little general knowledge can go a long way toward creating a pet-friendly landscaping environment.
At Landcrafters, we take great care to account for pets when designing and maintaining a landscape. With over 20 years in the business, we’ve learned a lot. Now, we’re passing that knowledge on to you so you (and your pets) can thoroughly enjoy your property without worry.
What to Know About Pet-Friendly Landscaping in Tampa Bay
There is no one-size-fits-all approach to pet-safe landscaping, but there are some standards that are relatively universal. These include things like avoiding certain plants, planning ahead to minimize the impact of your pet on your investment, and using chemicals in a thoughtful manner.
Before you take on your next landscaping project, we strongly encourage you to find a professional landscaping company in Tampa Bay that you trust. Work with them to create an environment that is not only beautiful but also safe for your furry friends.
In the meantime, this introductory guide should provide you with the information you need to avoid the biggest mistakes associated with pet-friendly landscaping.
Avoid Plants that are Dangerous to Pets
One of the biggest challenges facing Tampa Bay homeowners and local commercial property owners is determining which plants on their property could be toxic to pets. The list is long, and unless you’re a landscaping expert who is able to identify particular plants on a whim, it’s unrealistic to put such pressure on yourself or your staff.
To help you out, we’ve compiled a list of the most common plants that can harm pets. Keep in mind that this is not a comprehensive list. Still, it can be a useful tool in deciding which plants to avoid and potentially remove from your property if they already populate it.
As members of the rhododendron family, azaleas are dangerous to pets. Despite being popular shrubs that bring a vibrant floral touch to Tampa Bay properties, the toxic nature of these plants can cause central nervous system issues, vomiting, and even cardiovascular failure in pets. If your property is home to or frequented by pets, avoid populating it with azaleas.
They may be beautiful, but the effect lilies can have on pets is anything but pretty. From oral irritation to potentially deadly vomiting, the side effects of digesting lilies are quite severe for pets, particularly cats. The leaves are the most dangerous part of the lily, but the entirety of the plant is toxic to animals.
There are many types of ivy, and a significant portion of them should be avoided if you have pets. From the leaves to the berries, every piece of this plant is poisonous to pets and causes severe digestive issues.
Any list discussing toxic plants should include oleander. While their rich blossoms are pleasing to the eye, the entirety of the plant is dangerous to pets—even the smoke can be harmful if the plant is burned. It’s not just pets that can suffer from ingesting oleander, either. Children can experience health problems if they put the plant in their mouths.
Remember, there are more plants out there (including common ones) that can harm pets. This is a small, introductory list, and you should consult an expert about plant selection if pet health is a concern when designing your landscape.
Be Wary of Chemicals
It’s no secret that proper fertilization, pest control, and herbicides can transform a Tampa Bay property for the better. With Florida’s climate occasionally being harsh to landscapes, using the tools at your disposal to unlock the full potential of your property is understandable and commonplace.
Despite the apparent miracles they can work for plants, the chemicals used in fertilizers, pesticides, and herbicides can be dangerous to pets. As such, it’s important to practice discernment and the safe application of such landscaping chemicals.
Be selective about the chemicals you are using. Most do not contain a surplus of potentially hazardous chemicals, but you should still do your due diligence before opting for a particular product. Once you’ve found the right products for your property, apply them via the proper guidelines.
After applying chemicals, even those marketed as pet friendly, ensure that all pets stay off the treated areas until they are dry. This reduces the possibility of consumption either directly or as a result of licking excess chemicals off paws, etcetera. Be sure that treated areas are clearly marked.
Consider High-Use Areas
While not directly related to pet safety, considering high-use areas and landscaping them appropriately can keep animals, people, and your property as safe as possible. For example, if you have a commercial HOA property with a dedicated dog park, you may want to utilize turf instead of natural grasses. This not only substantially reduces the wear and tear associated with high levels of foot (and paw) traffic, but also can provide better traction for those intense play sessions.
This is just one example of thinking pet-specific and long-term. For more ideas that can make your Tampa Bay property—whether it’s an individual residence, business, or large community—more pet-safe and a pet-friendly landscaping spot. If you want to build an animal oasis, we suggest reaching out to a landscaping professional and brainstorming ideas together that will work for your specific property.
Turn Your Property into a Pet Paradise with Landcrafters
Pets play an integral role in our lives. From the faithful relationships they give us to the funny videos that lift our spirits, the impact they have on us as individuals and our culture as a whole is obvious. The least we can do is create thoughtful landscapes that work for them, just as they work for us.
Landcrafters is committed to helping your Tampa Bay property reach its full potential, and that includes making your pets as safe as possible. Whether it’s avoiding the use of certain plants, strategically applying necessary chemicals, or designing and implementing pet-friendly landscaping elements, we have the experience and expertise to assist you in achieving a property that considers the needs of your pets. All you have to do is reach out to us to discuss your particular landscape!
For more landscaping tips, tricks, and insights, we encourage you to read our blog. It is packed with valuable information that ranges from odes to Florida’s palm trees to practical guides to the implementation of smart irrigation systems. We update it regularly with new topics, so check back often.
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