How To Plant A Horse-Friendly Garden
Even though it is not the season to start your landscaping journey and build the ideal garden for you and your equestrian friend, it is a good time to prepare for spring and summer.
If you are a horse racing fan and are already browsing through the TwinSpires news about the Breeders’ Cup 2023 in Santa Anita Park, perhaps the landscape and atmosphere can inspire you to build the ultimate garden for your horse.
Landscaping not only adds aesthetic appeal but also contributes to the overall atmosphere of your Horse-Friendly Garden. However, before you start digging and planting, it’s crucial to consider the safety of your equine companions.
The Investment in Your Landscape
Before we go on this journey, there is one thing to remember. Landscaping is an investment, and even though annual plants may only grace your stable’s surroundings for one season, the costs can add up. Therefore, taking the time to research and select horse-friendly plants that complement your property and lifestyle is essential.
Balancing Beauty and Safety
Matt Johnson, Principal at Equine Facility Design in Portland, Oregon, emphasizes that landscapes serve more than just a decorative purpose for your stable.
A thoughtfully designed landscape can support water conservation, reduce pollutants in waterways, and even enhance fire resistance. However, the safety of your horses should be a top priority.
Know Your Toxic Plants
Many popular plants, while visually appealing, can be hazardous to horses. Take the oleander, for instance, a southern flowering shrub known for its exquisite beauty but dangerously toxic to horses.
Lilies, milkweeds, delphiniums, hyacinths, daffodils, and butterfly weeds are other favorites that are toxic to equines.
While there may be situations where you’re inclined to incorporate plants that can be poisonous to horses, it’s essential to make informed decisions. The level of risk you’re willing to take is a personal decision.
Safe Landscaping Practices
The safest approach is to choose plants that are not toxic to horses. Careful planning can help you strike a balance between the plants you love and the safety of your equine companions.
- Plant Placement: Keep plants at a safe distance from areas where horses have access. Create buffer zones between walkways, barn entrances, and flower beds to prevent horses from reaching the plants.
- Plant Selection: Choose plants that are known to be non-toxic to horses. Research horse-friendly options that thrive in your climate and soil conditions.
- Mulch Matters: Use safe mulch in planting beds to reduce maintenance and conserve moisture in the soil. If you have horses, a good idea is to avoid mulches that are made from black walnut or cocoa, just for safety, and make sure to add gravel in between just to prevent any fire risks.
Enhancing Your Landscape with Color
When it comes to adding color and vibrancy to your landscape, consider the following:
The choice of plants depends on your landscaping goals. When it comes to adding some color to your garden, Annuals are usually a top pick for horse-friendly landscapes. But, let’s not forget about the position of the plants and the sun they need.
- Sunny Delights: For sunny areas, consider bright daisy-style flowers like Black-Eyed Susans (just like the Preakness Stakes cocktail). These vibrant, sun-loving flowers bloom throughout the summer and attract bees and butterflies. Plant them a bit farther from the barn to enjoy their beauty without putting extra work into dealing with bees.
- Shade-Loving Options: In shady areas, hardy impatiens are an excellent choice. They thrive in various conditions, including deep shade, and can create lush mounds of color. Hanging baskets filled with impatiens are a favorite for show barns but don’t forget to water them regularly.
When you have a horse, you should be building a garden that not only looks good but is safe for your equestrian friend. So, horse safety should be your top priority when selecting plants for your garden and designing your landscape.
Things like types of plants that are safe for horses, plant placement, and safety practices can ensure you are on the right path for creating the perfect garden for you and your horse.