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Dogs Trust announces garden at RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show!

Did you know you can vote for Dogs Trust's garden, 'A Dog's Life' for the People's Choice award?

Update: Dogs Trust is thrilled to announce that it has been awarded a Gold Medal for its show garden, 'A Dog's Life' at RHS Hampton Court Flower Show. 'A Dog's Life' is the first ever dog friendly garden at an RHS show.

Paws will be padding into Hampton Court Palace Flower Show this month (July 5th-10th) as Dogs Trust - the UK’s largest dog welfare charity - unveils the show’s first ever garden designed especially with dogs in mind. Celebrating the charity’s 125th year, the garden marks Dogs Trust’s commitment to finding loving homes for thousands of abandoned dogs every year.

Designed by acclaimed designer Paul Hervey-Brooks and entitled ‘A Dog’s Life’, the garden will be a unique and welcoming space for both people and dogs to enjoy together. A first of its kind for the show, the garden features a number of secret elements for dogs to sniff out and enjoy. With intricate paths woven into planting, and tunnels hidden in herbaceous borders, the garden symbolises the twists and turns of a dog’s journey to finding a forever home.

The garden is inspired by the charity’s sensory space at its West London rehoming centre, which 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. Dogs Trust has created this one of a kind garden to promote its rehoming efforts and to encourage more people to support the charity’s work. Many of the garden’s features, including the trees, pavilion, sculptures and some of the plants will be ‘rehomed’ at Dogs Trust West London for dogs and visitors to enjoy.

Dogs Trust’s garden will include the following features:

  1. Diverse planting to reflect the broad range of dogs you could meet at a Dogs Trust rehoming centre. The mix includes hybrid plants as a reference to the various dog breeds taken in and rehomed by the charity and perennial plants to reflect the charity’s promise to never put a healthy dog to sleep
  2. Sniffer tracks subtly marked out within the planting for dogs to discover before stopping for a rest
  3. Tunnels in various sizes woven into the herbaceous borders for dogs to explore
  4. Two water features, including a large still rill representing the abandonment faced by stray dogs and another that provides running water for dogs to enjoy
  5. A snug pavilion located at the rear of the garden in which dogs and their human guests can survey the landscape. The durable materials used reflect the ‘forever home’ sought by dogs being looked after by Dogs Trust. A shadow of a dog and owner will be projected inside this structure
  6. An area for dogs to enjoy digging and trees that provide shelter and places to forage and search for toys and treats
  7. A modern mix of sculptures positioned in the large water rill and around the water will illustrate the playful character of dogs and showcase the range of dogs Dogs Trust cares for every year
  8. Plants that are non-toxic to dogs have been chosen to keep dogs safe
  9. 70% of the garden will be recycled at Dogs Trust Harefield – this includes the pavilion, trees, sculptures and the remaining plants that are not sold on the last day of the show.

Adrian Burder, Dogs Trust CEO says:

“We are thrilled to be at Hampton Court this year. Paul’s design works as a space that appeals to both human and canine senses and one that dogs and people can enjoy harmoniously. From secret sniffer tracks subtly weaved into rich herbaceous planting to the digging area and peaceful pavilion retreat, dogs of all shapes and sizes have been considered, which echoes the approach of every Dogs Trust rehoming centre.”

In the early 1900s, Dogs Trust, or the National Canine Defence League as it was known then, asked its members to organise a series of private shelters to care for stray dogs. These would often be set up in the members’ gardens, including one in Hampton itself, and became a refuge for dogs who would otherwise face an uncertain life on the streets. Fast forward to 2016 and Dogs Trust now runs 21 world-class rehoming centres catering for the needs of all dog breeds, so it seemed fitting to celebrate this with our own dog friendly garden at Hampton Court in our 125th year.

Adrian continues: “We hope our garden encourages visitors to learn more about our rehoming work, whilst also inspiring people with subtle ways to make their own garden a welcoming space for dogs.”

Dogs Trust tips for a dog friendly garden

Top tips for a dog friendly garden

  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. Take a look at our list, here.
  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!

What is Poisonous to Your Dog DOC 325 KB