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How To Keep Animals Out Of Your Garden

deer 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 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 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 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

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