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Covering Garden with Bark..A good idea for dogs?

Hi all.

Since the last time I posted on here, we have bought a new house. The garden was completely covered in large stones and decking which we have now removed and we're now at the point where the garden is down to just soil.

Our garden is in a sort of L shape but with the corner missing (if that makes sense). The main part of the garden runs along the back of the house and measures approx 8 x 12m. This is going to be 'our garden' with grass, patio, etc, etc,

The other part of the garden runs along the side of the house and measures approx 6.5 x 10.5m. This part of the garden is currently home to 2 sheds. Eventually, we want to split this area into two and paving both areas. One part will be for the dogs and one part will be an outdoor kitchen type area with the BBQ, etc. However, at present we can't afford to do this so we are looking for a quick and cheap solution to see us through the winter to prevent the dogs from getting filthy when they're let out. the area is currently unlevel, we were thinking of covering the entire area with bark which should be fairly soft on the dogs paws but I was wondering if I could have your thoughts on whether this is a good idea. 

In theory, it would probably be cheaper to turf or seed the area but at least the bark will help to kill the bits of grass and weed that's there at present so that when we do pave the area, everything under the paving will be dead, but happy to listen to thoughts.



  • Orchid LadyOrchid Lady Posts: 5,800

    I think, but may be wrong, that some bark chippings are poisonous to dogs as it is treated with something. I only know because I used bark chippings once as a mulch on my border and a group on FB (which I came off) where up in arms about how I could poison my dogs!!!! Needless to say, the dogs were and always have been fine, but I didn't use the bark again just in case.

    Having said that, there are probably dog friendly varieties that haven't been treated but I would guess at them being more expensive.

    Some weeds will,just come through the back too, as will grass so I wouldn't use it as a weed suppressant anyway.

    Hope that helps for now and congratulations on your new house.

  • Hi Orchid Lady,

    Thanks - I had heard that about some bark being poisonous to dogs but I'm always very skeptical of things like that. I have been looking online and B&Q do natural softwood bark that looks like it may be ok but planning on going and reading the packaging tonight. 

    The only other option I can think of is gravel/stones which would be useful as hardcore for paving anyway but I know the dogs won't thank me for putting lumpy stones down that will hurt their little feet.

  • Hi Philippa,

    The idea of bark isn't purely as a weed suppressant, but it's more to act as a temporary covering for the soil over winter. I don't want to put grass seed down ideally as it's a bit of an awkward area to get to with a lawn mower (lots of odd shaped planters sunk in the ground, etc. 

  • Beaus MumBeaus Mum Posts: 3,541

    I have put bark down in Beaus you knowwhat corner of the garden and had no problemsI but  after hearing bout what the others say I would read up on it if I wanted to get more just in case image

  • Victoria SpongeVictoria Sponge WearsidePosts: 3,149

    Gaz, you could get hardwood woodchips instead of bark. I get it from a poultry supplies company and they say it's designed for playgrounds and doesn't have mould spores so I wouldn't have thought it would be poisonous.

    The hardwood chips sit on top of the soil and they're not spiky hard; I think they'd be comfortable to walk on.

    OL - hysterical facebookers- how tiresome- they'd be horrified by my 'poison grove' borderimage


  • Lily PillyLily Pilly Central southern Scotland Posts: 3,845

    Gaz I have put a thick (4 inches ) covering of bark down in all my garden as I couldn't control the weeds whilst waiting for plants to grow. It needs topped up every two years. I have two retrievers who eat anything but especially enjoy a good crusty bit of bark. Never had a problem!

    Weeds are flowers, too, once you get to know them.”
    A A Milne
  • Orchid LadyOrchid Lady Posts: 5,800

    Ha ha Vic, that's nothing....there was the time I gave the dogs a tiny bit of burger off the BBQ (in the days when I ate shop burgers!) and they wanted me to rush them to the vets because they can't eat onions......get real!!!!

  • Victoria SpongeVictoria Sponge WearsidePosts: 3,149

    Hmm- and let me guess, the dogs were perfectly fine and you saved yourself an emergency vets feeimage

  • Orchid LadyOrchid Lady Posts: 5,800

    Yep image I was b****y annoyed interfering do gooders LOL!!  Do they actually realise how much REAL onion is in those burgers image

  • Victoria SpongeVictoria Sponge WearsidePosts: 3,149

    I wouldn't have thought the onion in a burger counts as 1 of your 5 a dayimage

    What did the do-gooders think afterwards when the dogs were fine? Did they realise they had been a bit OTT? 

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