Several factors need to be considered in landscaping. Besides aesthetics, you also need to think about functionality.
Basically, this means you’ll need to make sure that your yard can be used optimally. Is your turf easy to care for, or do you always need help from lawn care experts in Glencoe, MO? Does it use up too much water? Is every corner of your yard accessible via a paved pathway?
Of course, another important consideration is how the landscape fits in your lifestyle. If you live with your family and have pets and children running around, you might want to choose the plants you add to your yard more carefully. Although they may be great to look at and are low maintenance, some plants may have harmful effects on animals or young children.
To help you choose, this article tackles which plants you should avoid and the six pet- and child-friendly ones you can add to your landscaped yard.
3 Plants to Avoid
As mentioned earlier, some plants may be harmful to pets and children. They can either be toxic or have certain parts that can cause injury (e.g., thorns or saps that cause allergic reactions). Below are some examples:
1. English Ivy
The English ivy is a vine that is mildly toxic to animals and children when taken orally. It can lead to vomiting and diarrhea and may even cause neurological conditions. Touching its leaves can cause an allergic reaction that may manifest on the skin.
Every part of all kinds of azalea bushes is deemed poisonous because of the grayanotoxinthey contain. Ingesting this type of toxin can cause a variety of symptoms, which may vary between animals and humans.
Nerium oleander – more commonly known as oleander – is an ornamental evergreen shrub commonly used in landscaping. It is used as a median divider on freeways in places with warm weather. However, this plant is extremely toxic, with a single leaf able to kill a full-grown adult.
Like azaleas, every part of the oleander plant contains poisonous substances, including its leaves, stems, flowers, and even the tiniest twig.
6 Pet- and Child-Friendly Plants for Your Landscape
Now that you know some of the plants you need to avoid, the next step is to identify which ones your landscaping contractor in Chesterfield, MO can use. Here are some of the most recommended plants and how you can care for them.
1. Alpine Succulents
Sempervivums, more popularly known as Alpine succulents, are ideal outdoor plants for small urban spaces. They are non-toxic so they go well with both children and pets.
They can root just about anywhere and are very easy to care for, making them ideal for novice plant owners. Simply plant them in sandy, well-draining soil. If you choose to put them in pots, make sure that they have drainage holes.
Also, remember to water only when you determine that the soil is totally dry. It’s better to do infrequent but deep watering to avoid root rot. Observe the plant and regularly check for signs of overwatering and underwatering, and change your watering pattern accordingly.
2. Japanese Aralia
If you want to make a good impression with your landscape without putting your pets or children at risk, then the Japanese aralia is a great choice for you. This is a very hardy tropical plant that can thrive no matter where you put it – in the shade, under the sun, or somewhere in between.
Also known as Japanese fatsia, this broadleaf evergreen sports large, deeply lobed leaves that grow as big as one foot in width on long leaf stems that reach upward and outward.
You might find your Japanese aralia leaning on one side – that’s totally normal due to the weight of its massive leaves. It can grow 10 feetto 15 feet tall, depending on the age of the plant.
3. African Daisies
Also known as osteospermum, African daisies are beautiful flowering plants that are harmless to cats, dogs, and babies. They offer a variety of colors that can be quite useful in landscaping. They are also easy to care for and don’t need as much water as other plants.
Although these flowers won’t hurt your pets’ insides, any plant matter consumed in large quantities could lead to an upset stomach. That said, it’s best to be mindful of your pet.
Like African daisies, snapdragons are flowering plants that are also safe to plant in properties where dogs and children are roaming around.
They bloom best when placed in moist but well-draining soil, specifically during late spring or early summer. They do well under light shade but tend to bloom better when placed under full sunlight.
In the hot weather, snapdragons tend to stop producing flowers, but that doesn’t mean they’re dead. They’re simply saving up some energy to rebloom when the temperature starts to drop.
Many varieties of snapdragons are available, and each come in different heights. Thus, they can be used in various parts of your landscape. Smaller cultivars can be used as a groundcover or edging, while taller ones can be used as borders.
5. Boston Fern
If you want to add texture and pattern to a landscape, ferns might be what you’re looking for. These plants have beautiful foliage, but most varieties can be challenging to grow.
If you’ve given up on ferns, then you probably have yet to meet the Boston fern.
This plant is quite popular among cat lovers because of its long fronds that make wonderful playthings for kitties. More importantly, the Boston fern is certified as a pet-safe plant by the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA). It is also non-toxic to humans, according to the University of Nebraska.
Boston ferns thrive in a humid environment with indirect sunlight. They also look pretty great when placed in hanging pots or baskets.
6. Spider Plant
Also known as the airplane plant, the spider plant is an excellent plant for landscaping because of its grass-like leaves that come in many different shades of green – from pale to emerald green. It is also listed as a non-toxic plant to both cats and dogs, according to the ASPCA.
It also extends into “legs” or “vines,” making it an excellent plant to put in hanging baskets. These vines will then grow into baby spider plants that can be transplanted in their own pot or left alone.
Botanically known as chlorophytumcomosum, spider plants are most recommended indoors as they thrive in low light conditions, but they also do well outdoors.
Plants for Pets and Children
Landscaping is not just about aesthetics – it’s also about ensuring your comfort, convenience, and safety. Make sure that the little ones in your household – both humans and other species – can enjoy the yard most with these pet- and child-friendly plants.