How to Keep Animals Out of Your Garden

No garden ever needed more vermin in it eating for free. Follow this garden preservation advice to keep animals away for a happy and healthy backyard full of vegetables.

By Jamie Goodwin


It’s important to know how to keep animals out of the garden, or you may end up losing your plants to critters.


To address this problem, start by identifying the culprit. Some animals that tend to love gardens are squirrels, deer, cats, raccoons, rabbits, and groundhogs. Once you’ve determined what you’re dealing with, try these garden tips to ensure your vegetable or flower garden won’t be harmed by animals.


Natural Scents

When it comes to protecting your garden from animals, find something that repels them. Since sense of smell is so central to animals, using natural scents they don’t like is a great way to repel them.



Lemon peels in garden


To repel cats, try using lemon peels, orange peels, coffee grounds, or pipe tobacco. For deer or raccoons, use cayenne pepper or hot sauce. For keeping squirrels out of your garden, try peppermint oil. For other animals, try spraying one of the following essential oils around your garden:


  • Citronella
  • Eucalyptus
  • Lavender
  • Lemongrass
  • Mustard




Strong-Smelling Plants

The plants you choose and the layout of your garden can attract unwanted animals if you’re not careful. If possible, don’t plant anything these animals like. Or, plant those things away from your garden. Make sure you don’t have standing water or places for animals to hide out on your property. Then, plant an herb garden that will repel animals.




Some herbs to plant are:

  • Mint
  • Oregano
  • Thyme
  • Dill



Oregano plant


Garden Fences

Deer can jump over a 6-foot fence, but garden fences can deter them and prevent other animals from entering the garden. You could also install chicken wire, bird netting, or a mesh cover. Just make sure to bury these barriers at least 3 inches into the ground to stop burrowing animals from getting into your garden.





Exposed soil is a prime target for animals. If you want to keep them out of the garden, cover the soil. Try putting mulch on top of the soil. To stop small rodents from digging in your garden, you could add sea shells and other sharp items to the mulch.





Try hanging aluminum cans or pie plates around your garden. The sound of these items hitting each other can scare away animals. The aluminum’s shininess can also repel them.




Humane Traps

If you know what animal is getting into your garden, consider purchasing a humane trap to catch it. Add bait to attract the animal. Once you’ve caught the animal, drive several miles away before releasing it. If you release the animal too close to your home, chances are it will just return to your garden sooner or later.




Motion-Activated Sprinklers

Since deer are easily spooked, a motion-activated alarm can quickly scare them away. You may also want to try a motion-activated sprinkler near your garden. The movement can keep the deer and other animals from sticking around.




Human Hair

Rodents, deer, and rabbits hate the smell of unwashed human hair. Place it around your garden, or use it as natural mulch. Not only will it provide nutrients for the soil, but the smell will repel animals. If, for some reason, you just don’t happen to have extra hair lying around, consider contacting a salon or barber shop to see if they could give you clippings to use in your garden.





By introducing natural predators to the area, you can effectively keep certain animals out of your garden. Let your dog or cat roam your yard. Install an owl or hawk nesting box near your property. If you can’t do this, try placing urine from predators around your garden. The smell can deter smaller animals from entering the area. Even something like a foo dog statue could help scare some animals from your garden, almost like a scarecrow. 




Follow this garden preservation advice, and you’ll be able to keep animals away and keep the spoils of your garden for yourself.


Images used with permission, courtesy of and

Next: The Art of Growing Mushrooms