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I’m cuddled up under a heated blanket with my main man Max, most of my clients are hunkered down with their loved ones who took a day off in anticipation of the biggest snow storm of the year, and all I can think about is gardening.

It seems like an odd time to be thinking about spending countless hours outside, let alone planting flowers, but after 8 years of living in Chicago I am beyond excited to start turning my new backyard into a little slice of paradise for me and my dogs.

Shaded AreaA Shaded Escape

After suffering through the scorching summer we had last year, my top priority is to create an area where the three of us can sit back, relax, and cool down.  I love the look of this canvas canopy and know that it will provide the perfect amount of shade on a sunny afternoon.  I also like that it’s raised high enough to make the land beneath it usable for something really fun like….

shady pool and sand pitA Doggy Pool and Sand Pit Digging Area!

Sorry kids, this play pit’s for the pups!  There’s nothing that my dogs love more than a soak in the pool on a hot day.  Last year I found out the hard way that leaving the pool on the grass leads to two things: ugly dead grass and super dirty dogs.  So this year I’m hoping to incorporate a sand pit.  Not only will it make for a more pleasing visual experience, the sand will help to absorb the water without creating a disastrous mud puddle.  Also, digging has been a favorite hobby of many of my foster dogs, doggy house guests, and Cinema (though she’d never admit it).  With a sand pit it will be easy to help my joyous digging friends to differentiate between acceptable digging areas and areas that make me develop a twitch.  A win-win for everyone!

pool time

Pool Junkies

To add to the aesthetics I’ll be planting these beautiful, dog friendly flowers around the edges.

hollyhocksHollyhocks

Because Hollyhocks need full sun and moist, rich but well drained soil, I’ll be using planters to outline the pool area with these brilliant pink flowers.  Having them in planters will make it easier to water them regularly and guarantee they flourish.

Alyssum

Alyssum

I’ll be using Alyssum as abundant ground bedding along with…

Bachelor Buttons

Bachelor Buttons

petuniasMultiflora Petunias

VioletsViolets

agilityAgility Equipment

Last summer I came across the best book ever for DIY Agility Equipment and now that Cinema and I have been taking lessons I can’t wait to bring out all of the jumps, walks, hoops, and tunnels we made last year.

picket fenceGarden

Let there be flowers!  Or at the very least shrubbery.  For 8 years I have been eyeing my mom’s gardens with intense jealousy.  Now that I have a backyard of my own, I can’t wait to make it a beautiful place to spend a Sunday afternoon.  I will be using:

divideddayliliesDaylilies

These rugged, adaptable, vigorous perennials can endure in a garden for many years with little or no care.

Canna Lily Tropicana

Canna Lily Tropicana

NasturtiumsNasturtiums

Loved for their rich, saturated jewel-toned colors, Nasturtiums are fast and easy to grow and, in fact, do best with a little neglect.  Which is perfect for my garden.

Climbing NasturtiumFlowering Vines

I was so bummed to find out that two of my favorite vines, Morning Glories and Sweet Peas, were poisonous to dogs.  But these Climbing Nasturtium will make a beautiful addition to the trellises I will use to line the fences.

Stay tuned for our lessons on expectations and bee control. : -)