How To Keep Animals Out Of Your Garden

deer in gardendeer in garden

Do you have pesky visitors in your garden? Don't worry! Human and beast can coexist peacefully, even if you have a delicious beautiful garden - we promise! These 7 helpful tips, including recommendations for deer resistant plants, will help you keep damage to a minimum.

windmill and garden in front of homewindmill and garden in front of home
Customer Photo by Vonne S.

1. Plan Ahead

  • Get in the garden before the critters do! Placing animal deterrents early in the season will help to keep them out before they make your garden a home. Once they move in, it’s a lot harder to get them out.

2. Scare Them Away

  • Noise makers like wind chimes, or disposable pie plates and whirligigs, can be used to scare off unwanted visitors. 
  • Motion detectors that set alarms or lights work well with night foragers. 
  • Motion activated sprinklers give intruders a cold, unwanted shower, which will change their behavioral pattern if they have become a habitual visitor. 
  • Fool birds and rodents with rubber snakes, plastic owls and other faux predators.
cat in echinaceascat in echinaceas
Customer photo by Chris N.

3. Fence It In

  • To keep out animals, consider fencing in your gardens! 
  • Short fences keep out gophers and most rodents. 
  • Burrowing critters like voles and woodchucks are tougher to keep out, so dig a trench to extend fencing underground. 
  • Tall fencing (at least 5 feet) is the most effective deer proofing deterrent. If cost or appeal is a concern,try fencing a smaller area, as deer don't like tight spaces and will move to other feeding areas

4. The Smell of Success

  • A lot of critters are turned off by strong scents. The best way to apply scents is to soak pieces of cloth and place on the edge of your garden. It’s best to apply before a rainstorm and re-apply after wet weather.
  • Cayenne pepper and hot suace keep out rabbits, gophers, chipmunks, raccoons, and woodchucks.
  • Peppermint Oil will keep away squirrels and mice.
  • Lemon peels, orange peels, or coffee grounds will keep away cats.
  • Citronella, Eucalyptus, and Lavender will keep away rodents - and pests too!
  • Another fantastic way to incporporate these strong scents into your garden is to plant strongly scented herbs and perennials around your garden borders! Herbs like Peppermint, Lavender, Thyme, and Oregano smell delicious to gardeners, but will deter animals. 
customer garden with sculpturescustomer garden with sculptures
Customer photo by Esther W.

5. Have A Heart

  • When nothing works to deter rabbits, gophers, and woodchucks, you may choose to use a trap to capture them. It’s a great way to remove an animal without hurting them. 
  • Be sure to check with your local game warden or animal control center for protocol on where to release critters once you've trapped them!

6. Deer Resistant Plants To The Rescue!

  • Naturally, an important step is to plant deer resistant plants! There are many plants that deer and critters will stay away from naturally. As we mentioned above, many plants that are very fragrant in flowers or foliage are natually unappetizing to critters. We offer a wide selection of deer resistant plants, so you can let your creativity come to life in your critter-resistant garden design!
  • Some perennial favorites like echinaceafernslavender, peonies, and sage, are great examples of plants that are beautiful in the garden, but don't attract deer!
  • Shop All Deer Resistant Perennial Plants
  1. Phenomenal Lavender, Lavandula x intermedia

    Phenomenal Lavender has it all: exceptionally tolerant of both high heat and harsh winter, this easy-to-grow lavender even shows resistance to the effects of humidity. Highly fragran...

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    Phenomenal® Lavender Lavender Phenomenal® PP#24193 Lavandula x intermedia Phenomenal PP#24193
    As low as $13.98 Sale $6.99
    Per Plant - 3" Pot
    Phenomenal Lavender has it all: exceptionally tolerant of both high heat and harsh winter, this easy-to-grow lavender even shows resistance to the effects of humidity. Highly fragrant with concentrated essential oils, Phenomenal's spikes of purple-blue flowers attract butterflies and bees to the garden. Edible, deer-resistant and fast-growing, this silver-leafed lavender has left all other new introductions in the dust! (Lavandula x intermedia) PP#24193
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  2. Pink Echinacea Magnus, Echinacea purpurea, Coneflower

    'Magnus' Coneflower has vibrant pink, ray-like flowers that surround deep-orange center cones, attracting plentiful pollinators to the garden throughout the summer. Leaving the spent...

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    Magnus Echinacea Purple Coneflower Magnus Echinacea purpurea Magnus
    As low as $8.98 Sale $4.49
    Per Plant - 3" Pot
    'Magnus' Coneflower has vibrant pink, ray-like flowers that surround deep-orange center cones, attracting plentiful pollinators to the garden throughout the summer. Leaving the spent stems and flowerheads in place to overwinter will also attract birds. Coneflowers are notably tough native plants and 'Magnus' is no exception, withstanding drought, clay, humidity and harsh winter conditions without complaint. Easy to grow, this plant is a great choice for beginner and experienced gardeners alike. (Echinacea purpurea)
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  3. Deer Resistant Pre-Planned Garden Hero Image

    Our beautiful, Deer Resistant Garden is the answer to years of customer pain! Feathery grasses are paired with boldly-colored upright plants, while striking lupines and coreopsis art...

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    Deer Resistant Pre-Planned Garden
    $199.98 Sale $99.99
    Per Garden of 17 Plants
    Our beautiful, Deer Resistant Garden is the answer to years of customer pain! Feathery grasses are paired with boldly-colored upright plants, while striking lupines and coreopsis artfully fill in the understory. Plant along boundaries to prevent deer from venturing further into your yard.
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  4. Black Eyed Susan Goldsturm, Rudbeckia in bloom in perennial garden

    'Goldsturm' Black Eyed Susan brings a burst of showy color to the full-sun garden. Golden yellow, daisy-like petals surround nectar-rich, brown center 'buttons' set atop deep green f...

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    Goldsturm Black Eyed Susan Black Eyed Susan Goldsturm Rudbeckia fulgida Goldsturm
    As low as $9.98 Sale $4.99
    Per Plant - 3" Pot
    'Goldsturm' Black Eyed Susan brings a burst of showy color to the full-sun garden. Golden yellow, daisy-like petals surround nectar-rich, brown center 'buttons' set atop deep green foliage. Unbothered by most pests, poor soils, drought and humidity, 'Goldsturm' is easygoing and the perfect addition to flower arrangements and pollinator gardens. Deer resistant and long-lasting. (Rudbeckia fulgida)
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  5. Lavender Munstead, Lavandula angustifolia Close Up

    'Munstead' Lavender is an English Lavender that has fragrant, cool lavender-blue spikes and gray-green, mounded foliage. You can tuck this lavender into your herb garden, but we lov...

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    Munstead English Lavender English Lavender Munstead Lavandula angustifolia Munstead
    As low as $9.98 Sale $4.99
    Per Plant - 3" Pot
    'Munstead' Lavender is an English Lavender that has fragrant, cool lavender-blue spikes and gray-green, mounded foliage. You can tuck this lavender into your herb garden, but we love it planted with other colorful perennials in borders, planted in a massive swath where it can sway in the breeze, or set in a pot on the patio where you can enjoy its pleasant scent. Excellent in fresh or dried bouquets. (Lavandula angustifolia)
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  6. Common Milkweed, Asclepias syriaca

    Common Milkweed is the most-well known of the milkweeds – and an important food source and host plant for Monarch butterflies. This reliably cold-hardy native plant is as beautiful...

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    Common Milkweed Common Milkweed Asclepias syriaca
    As low as $14.98 Sale $7.49
    Per Plant - 3" Pot
    Common Milkweed is the most-well known of the milkweeds – and an important food source and host plant for Monarch butterflies. This reliably cold-hardy native plant is as beautiful as it is tough. Clusters of tightly-closed lavender buds open to reveal sweetly-fragrant pink blossoms, attracting a menagerie of local pollinators to the garden. Long-lasting plants produce spectacular interest at every stage of growth. (Asclepias syriaca)
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  7. Purple Lavender Superblue, Lavandula angustifolia

    SuperBlue' is a compact and fragrant Lavender plant that tops out at 12", making it a perfect choice for edging walkways and setting into patio containers. This English Lavender...

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    SuperBlue English Lavender English Lavender SuperBlue PP#24929 Lavandula angustifolia SuperBlue PP#24929
    As low as $11.98 Sale $5.99
    Per Plant - 3" Pot
    SuperBlue' is a compact and fragrant Lavender plant that tops out at 12", making it a perfect choice for edging walkways and setting into patio containers. This English Lavender is fairly tough, withstanding drought and overwintering reliably in all but the coldest zones. Rich and saturated, 'SuperBlue' produces blooms that are tighter together, delivering more color and fewer airy gaps. (Lavandula angustifolia)
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  8. Fragrant Peony Collection

    While many peonies are known for their pleasing scent, the Fragrant Peony Collection includes the sweetest smelling varieties we know! 'Festiva Maxima' with its double-white blooms d...

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    Fragrant Peony Collection
    $111.98 Sale $55.99
    Per Collection of 3
    While many peonies are known for their pleasing scent, the Fragrant Peony Collection includes the sweetest smelling varieties we know! 'Festiva Maxima' with its double-white blooms dashed with crimson smells divine. 'Bartzella', an Itoh hybrid, is famous for its lemon-scented flowers. And 'Pink Hawaiian Coral' is an award-winning, semi-double bloomer noted for its fragrance and notched petals. Plant these where you can smell them!
    Learn More

7. For Best Results, Combine Forces!

The tricky part about deterring animals is that there is no perfect fix. Your results will vary depending on where you live, seasonal conditions, and the food supply for wildlife in your area.  Make sure to alternate techniques, so animals don’t become accustomed to your deterrants. Be willing to experiment and try new techniques when others don’t work!

For more information on repelling animals in your gardens, read 8 Ways to Critter-Proof Your Fall Bulb Plantings

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