How to Keep Unwanted Animals off Your Lawn
Want to learn how to keep unwanted animals off your lawn, or out of your garden and trash? If so, join landscape designer Doug Scott for products and scare tactics that’ll keep deer, raccoons, rabbits or squirrels from wreaking havoc on your outdoor living spaces.
Critter Deterrent Tips
Use this multi-layered line of defense to keep unwanted animals at bay:
Clean up: Tidy up and organize potential critter hiding places like woodpiles and overgrown shrubbery.
Remove potential food sources: Fill your outdoor spaces with foul-tasting foods critters don’t care for. Harvest edible produce as soon as it’s ripe, and gather fallen nuts and fruits. And, of course, bring your pet food in at night.
Repel them: Keep trash-loving critters out of your garbage cans by using products like granular or liquid repellents. Or, try using trash bags containing essential oils like corn mint oil.
Scare them: One of the most time-tested deterrents for critters is free-ranging backyard dogs. But, garden pinwheels, noisemakers, and motion-activated sprinklers or lights will do the trick, too.
Exclude them: To protect your yard, or specific areas of plants from foragers, create barriers like netting or chicken wire around plants or electric fences around garden areas.
Signs of Unwanted Animals & Deterrent Strategies
Deer: Signs of deer include nibbled buds and scraped tree bark, half-eaten fruits or vegetables and damaged shrubs or trampled plants. Make deer feel uninvited by applying deer-specific repellents. Or, incorporate yard plants with fuzzy or prickly leaves or strong scents, like iris, coneflower, sage or lavender. Fencing that’s at least 8-feet tall can help, too.
Squirrels: Tell-tale signs of squirrels include planting beds or pots with holes dug in them, missing plants or half-eaten seed heads. Make squirrels feel uninvited by picking up fallen fruits and nuts. Or, apply spicy or minty repellents to your plants. Covering plants with either plastic netting or chicken wire also helps. Of course, you can always scare them off with motion-activated noisemakers and sprinklers.
Rabbits: Signs of rabbits include clean-cut leaves or razor-trimmed-looking vegetation and uprooted plants. Make rabbits feel uninvited by staying away from tender plants and opting for strong-scented ones like garlic, onion, oregano, basil and geranium. Like other critters, applying essential oil-based repellents and scaring them off with lights, shiny objects, or free-running dogs and cats works well. Or, create barriers made from chicken wire, hardware cloth or plant cages.
Raccoons: Of course, you’ve seen the raccoon signs—open garbage cans and trash tossed about, water-garden fish missing or consistently emptied or mangled bird feeders. Make raccoons feel uninvited by keeping your yard free of brush and tall grass. And, be sure to fix or cover any unsealed spaces around decks and outbuildings. Definitely use lockable trash cans or secure non-lockable models with cinder blocks or bungee cords. Similar to other critters, try switching up between motion-detecting sprinklers, strobe lights and other scare tactics. And, remove any store-bought or homegrown food scraps and never leaving pet food out overnight.