Top Six Garden Pets for Brits Aside from Cats & Dogs

Many of us cherish the presence of pets in our outdoor spaces. However, not everyone can meet the demanding needs of traditional pets. For one, dogs and cats reign as popular household companions with gardens. They often demand substantial care and yard modifications for safety.

So, ask yourself, “Is the time and effort I can dedicate less than what pooches and felines need?” If so, it might be time to seek and consider other animals that are great for keeping outdoors.

Best Six Alternative Garden Friends

Not every homeowner in the UK has the capacity to house traditional pets like dogs and cats. It might be because the family has young children, are too busy, or have a crowded space or small garden at home. But this doesn’t mean you have to forego the joys of pet ownership. There’s a diverse range of garden-friendly animals that are ideal for British homes. Below, discover your low-maintenance, space-conscious outdoor companion:

1. Rabbits

Up-close shot of a rabbit with brown ears.

(Image Credit: Pxhere)

Rabbits rank high as one of the UK’s favourite garden pets. These little creatures are admired for their playful nature and adorable appearance. Contrary to popular belief, they are relatively low-maintenance. A spacious hutch, ideally ten by 6 feet, with a cosy living area, is essential for their well-being. Daily cleaning, not too arduous, and a regular garden playtime are enough to keep them healthy.

As social animals, they prefer companionship. If time may be an issue, keep at least a pair to prevent loneliness. Their diet, primarily consisting of hay and fresh vegetables, is straightforward and cost-effective. With these simple needs met, rabbits can be delightful, affectionate garden pets.

2. Guinea pigs

Close-up of a charming guinea pig enjoying the lush greenery of a garden lawn.

(Image Credit: Rawpixel)

Guinea pigs thrive in a cosy cabinet that provides shelter. Plus, a secure, grassy outdoor area for grazing and exercise. These charming little creatures have a simple yet specific diet. Like rabbits, they need a steady supply of hay and fresh veggies. Moreover, vitamin C supplements as they cannot produce it naturally.

Regular, gentle handling helps build trust and social bonds. Guinea pigs also benefit from the companionship of another guinea pig. Their quiet nature and minimal space requirements make them suitable for smaller gardens.

3. Tortoise

Close-up of a stoic tortoise with a straight face, directly facing the camera.

(Image Credit: Needpix)

Tortoises are adaptable to outdoor living in appropriate climates. They need a secure and spacious enclosure that offers sunbathing and shaded spots. Their dietary needs are straightforward. It focuses on leafy greens and the occasional fruit treat, making them easy to cater for. 

Additionally, tortoises are known for their longevity, offering long-term companionship. They also have minimal noise impact, making them perfect for peaceful garden settings. Regular health check-ups and a clean living environment are essential, though. These gentle reptiles are notably low-fuss. With their basic needs met, they’re likely to thrive with minimal additional care.

4. Chickens

Three free-ranging chickens exploring the garden.

(Image Credit: Flickr)

Introducing chickens to your garden isn’t just about fresh eggs. It’s also about bringing lively energy and natural pest control to your outdoor space. These birds need a sturdy coop for safety and overnight shelter, such as in a garden shed. They also thrive when allowed to roam and forage during the day. In return, they offer invaluable help by eating pests and fertilising your garden. 

Their diet is simple: commercial chicken feed complemented by kitchen scraps. Additionally, chickens have distinct personalities and can form bonds with their owners. With the right care, these feathered friends become a delightful part of your garden life.

5. Ducks

Close-up view of adorable baby ducks featuring fluffy down feathers and endearing expressions.

(Image Credit: Stocksnap)

Ducks add a charming and effortless dimension to garden life. While they share some care needs with chickens, their love for water sets them apart. A pond or a dedicated water feature is essential for their well-being. Such features provide them with a natural habitat for swimming and foraging.

Ducks are excellent at controlling garden pests, thanks to their appetite for insects. Their diet consists of waterfowl feed – supplemented with greens and kitchen scraps. Beyond their practical benefits, ducks bring a sense of tranquillity to any garden. All thanks to their gentle quacking and serene presence on the water.

6. Pygmy goats

Young pygmy goat joyfully hopping and running across a garden lawn.

(Image Credit: Flickr)

Pygmy goats are a delightful option for those with more spacious gardens. Despite their smaller stature, these friendly animals bring a lively and engaging energy. They require a robust enclosure to roam and play safely and a shelter to protect them from the elements. Their diet consists of hay and specialised goat feed. Also, they contribute to garden maintenance by grazing on weeds and overgrown shrubs. Note: Regular veterinary check-ups and hoof trimming are essential to keep them healthy.


These six garden-friendly pets offer delightful alternatives to traditional cats and dogs. From the playful antics of rabbits to pygmy goats, there’s a perfect garden companion for every lifestyle. Each brings unique benefits and joy to your outdoor space. They prove that the world of pet ownership is as diverse and vibrant as nature itself.

Explore our range of DIY enclosed homes, particularly small garden sheds. At Garden Buildings Direct, you can choose from various sizes and materials. Durable plastic sheds are included in the options to help you find the perfect fit for your needs!

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