Dogs Trust unveil first ever dog friendly garden at RHS Hampton Court Flower Show! | Dogs Trust

Dogs Trust

Dogs Trust unveil first ever dog friendly garden at RHS Hampton Court Flower Show!

It's been a very long 'lead' up to this day, but today (Monday 4th July) we can finally unveil our garden, the first ever dog friendly garden at RHS Hampton Court Palace, 'A Dog's Life.'

This year, we celebrate 125 years of Dogs Trust. It was back in 1891 that Dogs Trust, or the National Canine Defence League as it was known then was founded in Islington just a stones throw away from our head office in Angel, to campaign for the protection of strays and the provision of proper veterinary care. In 1964 we reached another milestone, our non-destruction policy was adopted and to this day, Dogs Trust will never destroy a healthy dog.

Today, Dogs Trust is active in ten countries around the world and has moved from being just a rehoming charity with 20 rehoming centres, to one that also works within the community and alongside the Government to deal with a range of issues including dangerous dogs, puppy farming and the online sale of puppies. We invest over £6 million a year in our very important preventative work.

So, how could we celebrate this milestone?

We wanted to not only mark 125 years of saving dogs lives, but we wanted to celebrate the very special relationship between man and dog. Dogs Trust Harefield in West London has long been working to build a sensory garden for dogs and their two-legged friends. This space provides exciting areas to forage, exercise and explore and aims to enrich the lives of the dogs in the charity's care whilst they await new homes. With this in mind, we had a big challenge ahead of us. We wanted to create the first dog-friendly garden at RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show.

We teamed up with acclaimed designer (and dog lover) Paul Hervey-Brooks, who took the lead on designing a beautiful, enriching and safe garden for dogs and their human friends to enjoy together. Most importantly, we wanted to ensure that this garden would be something that our dogs would be able to enjoy for many more years to come.

Working with the Dogs Trust veterinary team to ensure that every aspect of the garden was dog friendly, Paul designed 'A Dog's Life' which is now on show at one of the country's most prestigious gardening shows, promoting our rehoming efforts, our achievements over the last 125 years and encouraging more people to support the vital work we do. The garden, of which 70% will be 'rehomed' at Dogs Trust Harefield includes diverse planting of hybrid plants to highlight various dog breeds, perennial plants to reflect our non-destruction policy, a modern mix of sculptures made by Paul Tavernor (www.paultavernor.com) to highlight the range of dogs you could meet at a Dogs Trust rehoming centre, two water features, a digging area for the dogs, large trees to provide shelter, sniffer tracks for fun and a pavilion in which dogs and their human guests can enjoy together. Everything has been created from durable materials to reflect the 'forever home' sought by dogs in the care of Dogs Trust.

Inspired? How can you make your garden more canine compatible?

Here are some of our top tips on making your garden a safe place for your dog.

  1. Keep your dog safe with secure garden borders. Judge the height based on your dog’s breed and temperament and consider the regulations affecting your property. Also regularly check for any gaps that your dog can wriggle through.
  2. Features that offer different heights can give dogs vantage points to enjoy. Railways sleepers, steps and small benches can all be used to create versatility.
  3. A variety of textures in your garden can provide extra sensory stimulation – this could be non-toxic sand, grass, wood chippings or gravel, all of which provide interesting places to hide dog toys and treats and for your dog to explore.
  4. If your dog loves to dig to uncover things, create a fun area for your dog to show off their digging prowess and praise them for using this spot
  5. Shallow water features – as we’ve used in our show garden – make for another playful environment whilst also providing a cooling off spot on hot summer days. 
  6. Choose non-toxic plants in your garden. See above for a link to our list of plants that could be dangerous for your dog.
  7. A quiet retreat or spot in which to shelter and use at their leisure can help your dog to feel safe.
  8. Have fun with your dog in the garden – exercise, train and play with your dog to keep them entertained. Interactive toys can keep your dog occupied but it is important to play with your dog daily.
  9. Gardens can harbour unwanted friends such as slugs and ticks so ensure your dog’s flea, tick and worming treatments are up to date. Seek advice from your vet to discuss the best options for your dog.
  10. Scoop that poop - prompt disposal of dog poop will keep your garden smelling of roses!

Vote for 'A Dog's Life' to win the People's Choice Award

RHS Hampton Court Flower Show is one of the most prestigious flower shows in the world, and we'd love to see you there. Did you know you can vote for your favourite garden in the People's Choice Award?

Come and visit Dogs Trust at RHS Hampton Court Flower Show and meet some of our four legged friends who are looking for their forever homes. If you are on Instagram or Twitter, be sure to use #RHSHampton and tag us in any of your pictures using @DogsTrust. We'll see you there!