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. Red Itoh Peony Scarlet Heaven, Paeonia Itoh

    'Scarlet Heaven' Itoh Peony has striking, deep scarlet-red petals that surround golden yellow centers on enormous single flowers. The 7 to 9 inch blooms arrive in late spring and are...

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    Scarlet Heaven Itoh Peony Scarlet Heaven Itoh Peony, Intersectional Peony Paeonia (Intersectional hybrid) Scarlet Heaven
    $73.98 Sale $36.99
    Per Bag of 1
    'Scarlet Heaven' Itoh Peony has striking, deep scarlet-red petals that surround golden yellow centers on enormous single flowers. The 7 to 9 inch blooms arrive in late spring and are lightly fragrant. Cold hardy and resistant to disease, 'Scarlet Heaven' does not require staking and is resistant to both deer and rabbits. (Paeonia Itoh)
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  2. Coreopsis Enchanted Eve PPAF, Tickseed Enchanted Eve PPAF

    Dwarf Coreopsis Enchanted Eve is ten years in the making to become disease and deer resistant that will be a proven delight in your garden. Beautiful burgundy petals with yellow edg...

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    Enchanted Eve Coreopsis Enchanted Eve Tickseed (Patent Pending) Coreopsis Enchanted Eve (Patent Pending)
    $15.98 Sale $7.99
    Per Plant - 3" Pot
    Dwarf Coreopsis Enchanted Eve is ten years in the making to become disease and deer resistant that will be a proven delight in your garden. Beautiful burgundy petals with yellow edges bloom from early summer until early fall with no deadheading needed! Enchanted Eve's dwarf size makes it ideal for containers, boarders and small spaces in gardens. (Coreopsis)
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  3. Magic Mars Single Hollyhock, Alcea rosea Magic Mars

    'Mars Magic’ Hollyhock bears single, bright red blooms with beautiful yellow centers on tall, stately stalks. Perfect for the garden's back row, blooms appear from bottom to top st...

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    Mars Magic Single Hollyhock Magic Mars Single Hollyhock Alcea rosea Magic Mars
    $11.98 Sale $5.99
    Per Plant - 3" Pot
    'Mars Magic’ Hollyhock bears single, bright red blooms with beautiful yellow centers on tall, stately stalks. Perfect for the garden's back row, blooms appear from bottom to top starting in mid summer. Very attractive to hummingbirds, this single hollyhock is a true perennial, coming back to share its blooms year after year. (Alcea rosea)
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  4. 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 $9.98 Sale $8.49
    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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  5. Purple Miss Kim Korean Lilac, Syringa pubescens subsp. patula Miss Kim close up of purple white flowers

    Extend your Lilac season with this easy-to-grow variety. Miss Kim blooms later than other Lilacs and ignites the senses with an abundance of highly-fragrant, lavender blooms that sof...

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    Miss Kim Korean Lilac Miss Kim Korean Lilac Syringa pubescens subsp. patula Miss Kim
    As low as $29.98 Sale $14.99
    Per Plant - 4" Pot
    Extend your Lilac season with this easy-to-grow variety. Miss Kim blooms later than other Lilacs and ignites the senses with an abundance of highly-fragrant, lavender blooms that soften to pink as they mature. In fall foliage turns a beautiful red-burgundy color adding three season interest to your garden. This compact, rounded shrub is a must have for fragrance, attracting hummingbirds and butterflies. (Syringa pubescens subsp. patula)
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  6. True Blue Gentian in the garden, Photo Courtesy of Walter's Garden

    Just like its name, this Gentian’s blooms are true, vivid blue with rich, green clumps of foliage. A unique addition to any garden. PP#20433 (Gentiana)...

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    True Blue Gentian True Blue Gentian PP#20443 Gentiana x intermedia True Blue PP#20443
    $21.98 Sale $10.99
    Per Plant - 3" Pot
    Just like its name, this Gentian’s blooms are true, vivid blue with rich, green clumps of foliage. A unique addition to any garden. PP#20433 (Gentiana)
    Learn More
  7. 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 $8.99
    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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  8. Japanese Sedge Grass Everillo filling out a container planting

    EverColor 'Everillo' Sedge Grass shines with golden foliage that lights up the shade garden. Part of the popular EverColor Series, foliage emerges lime green and shifts to a sunny ye...

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    EverColor® Everillo Sedge Grass Everillo Japanese Sedge Grass PP#21002 Carex oshimensis EverColor® Everillo PP#21002
    As low as $24.98 Sale $12.49
    Per Plant - 3.5" Pot
    EverColor 'Everillo' Sedge Grass shines with golden foliage that lights up the shade garden. Part of the popular EverColor Series, foliage emerges lime green and shifts to a sunny yellow, adding vibrant texture and year-long color to the landscape. A versatile, low-maintenance groundcover or edging plant for wet or dry shade. Perfect for edging woodland pathways and shady planting beds. Add 'Everillo' to containers and window boxes for evergreen color and lush texture. Deer resistant. (Carex oshimensis)
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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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