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. Deer Resistant Pre-Planned Garden

    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 Deer Resistant Pre-Planned Garden
    $151.99 Sale $129.99
    Per Garden of 17
    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. This Pre-Planned Garden comes with a garden layout map to make planting easy.
  2. Lady's Mantle in rock garden

    Lady‚s Mantle is a classic beauty long cherished for velvety, scallop-edged foliage and chartreuse blooms. Growing in soft mounds, the light green to olive foliage is ignored b...

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    Lady's Mantle Lady's Mantle Alchemilla mollis
    As low as $13.32 Sale $11.32
    Per Plant - 3" Pot
    Lady's Mantle is a classic beauty long cherished for velvety, scallop-edged foliage and chartreuse blooms. Growing in soft mounds, the light green to olive foliage is ignored by deer and rabbits. Sprays of loosely clustered flowers create an airy halo above the plants in late spring and early summer. Lady's Mantle makes a lush groundcover and easy complement many other perennials. With a luxuriously soft, touchable texture, tuck these plants into a cottage gardens or grow at the edge of a path. (Alchemilla mollis)
  3. May Night Meadow Sage

    May Night is the top signature Salvia, with famous deep blue/purple blooms. A big favorite. Perennial plant of the year in 1997. (Salvia nemorosa)...

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    May Night Salvia Meadow Sage May Night Salvia nemorosa May Night
    As low as $7.99 Sale $6.79
    Per Plant - 3" Pot
    May Night is the top signature Salvia, with famous deep blue/purple blooms. A big favorite. Perennial plant of the year in 1997. (Salvia nemorosa)
  4. Curb Appeal Deer Resistant Collection

    Our Deer Resistant Curb Appeal Plant Collection is an easy way to enhance your home with a trio of popular, pollinator-friendly plants. This colorful and low-maintenance collection f...

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    Deer Resistant Curb Appeal Plant Collection Curb Appeal Deer Resistant Plant Collection
    $33.32 Sale $28.99
    Per Collection of 3
    Our Deer Resistant Curb Appeal Plant Collection is an easy way to enhance your home with a trio of popular, pollinator-friendly plants. This colorful and low-maintenance collection features compact, tidy varieties of favorites deer-resistant plants, including Russian Sage, Black-Eyed Susan, and Fountain Grass. Collection of 3 plants.
  5. Archer's Gold Creeping Thyme

    Attractive, fragrant, and flavorful, ‚Archer‚s Gold‚ Lemon Creeping Thyme combines good looks with delightful lemony scent and flavor. In summer, the low-growing go...

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    Archer's Gold Creeping Thyme Archer's Gold Creeping Thyme Thymus citriodorus Archer's Gold
    As low as $13.32 Sale $11.32
    Per Plant - 3" Pot
    Attractive, fragrant, and flavorful, 'Archer's Gold' Lemon Creeping Thyme combines good looks with delightful lemony scent and flavor. In summer, the low-growing gold-and-green foliage is covered with pale purple flowers abuzz with pollinators. Planted as an edging along walkways or between stepping stones, this tough plant will tolerate light foot traffic and release a citrus aroma with every step. Or, plant in a kitchen garden or container so you can snip a sprig or two to enliven culinary creations. (Thymus citriodorus)
  6. Buttonbush, Cephalanthus occidentalis

    Buttonbush is a native shrub with extraordinary versatility and pollinator appeal. Plants produce eye-catching, fuzzy-looking spherical flower heads in late spring, attracting butter...

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    Buttonbush Buttonbush Cephalanthus occidentalis
    As low as $13.32 Sale $11.32
    Per Plant - 3" Pot
    Buttonbush is a native shrub with extraordinary versatility and pollinator appeal. Plants produce eye-catching, fuzzy-looking spherical flower heads in late spring, attracting butterflies, bees, and the occasional hummingbird all summer. Round red fruits follow, attracting birds and providing fall and winter interest. Plants grow well in any soil type, and tolerate poor drainage and standing water, making them an ideal choice for water features, rain gardens, and boggy soil. (Cephalanthus occidentalis)
  7. Checkerboard Low-Grow Lavender Collection

    Our Checkerboard Low-Grow Lavender Collection features contrasting white and purple blooms for creativity in your container or garden design. Sun-loving Lavender is ideal for dry soi...

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    Checkerboard Low-Grow Lavender Collection Checkerboard Low-Grow Lavender Collection Lavandula
    As low as $47.99 Sale $42.99
    Per Collection of 4
    Our Checkerboard Low-Grow Lavender Collection features contrasting white and purple blooms for creativity in your container or garden design. Sun-loving Lavender is ideal for dry soils, with elegant, fragrant flowers and foliage that will draw pollinators. Our Low-Grow Collections are perfect for transforming your yard from lawn to flowers, a few square feet at a time! Plant below taller perennials, as edging for a garden border, or as a no-mow lawn alternative. Collection of 4 or 12 plants.
  8. Sensational!™ Lavender, Lavandula x intermedia Sensational!™ with purple flowers

    Sensational!™ Lavender is an improved, easy-to-grow variety that makes growing lavender accessible to more gardeners than ever! Silvery foliage is topped by large, dense purple flo...

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    Sensational!™ Lavender Sensational!™ Lavender Lavandula x intermedia Sensational!™
    As low as $10.65 Sale $9.05
    Per Plant - 3" Pot
    Sensational!™ Lavender is an improved, easy-to-grow variety that makes growing lavender accessible to more gardeners than ever! Silvery foliage is topped by large, dense purple flower spikes. With a compact, dense habit and notable durability for sun, heat, and humidity, as well as cold tolerance, Sensational stands apart from many traditional Lavender varieties. A favorite of honeybees, these fragrant flowers will attract a wide range of pollinators. (Lavandula x intermedia)

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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