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Fencing off the garden can be an expensive endeavor. Some gardens are too big, some are too rocky, and sometimes your landlord doesn’t want a fence around his property. So how in the world are you supposed to keep your garden safe from animals when you can’t put up a wall?
Find alternate ways, of course. It isn’t much of a hassle to keep your garden animal-free; all it takes is a bit of planning and some products you can pick up just about anywhere. And, most of them are outdoor-friendly.
Why should I keep animals out of my garden?
Because they are some of the most destructive elements, you will come across in your time as a gardener. Rabbits can wipe out an entire garden overnight! Deer munch and trample everything in sight, moles can destroy your garden from the inside out, and even cats can do some severe damage to your garden by urinating on plants and using your soil for kitty litter.
It is best to try and keep, at least most of these happy animals, out of your sunny garden – to keep everyone (including you) happy. So here are your 9 ways to keep those animals out of your garden.
Keep Animals Out of Your Garden Without a Fence
1. Blood Meal
Let’s start with probably the least popular one, but pretty effective; blood meal is essentially dried blood. You can pick up this product at any meat packaging plant, and it is pretty effective as an animal repellent. It has nitrogen in it, which is a great deterrent, and animals don’t usually like the smell of blood, so they should steer clear, including the deer—going all Doctor Suess up in here.
You can sprinkle this at the base of your plants and around the perimeter. Just be sure not to get any on the plants themselves, as it can burn them – blood is acidic after all.
Although certainly a gory idea, it has been proven effective, and you can certainly try it out for Halloween.
This one is a little more acceptable and can be picked up at the local Starbucks. Sprinkle used coffee beans around the garden is a sure-fire way to keep unwanted animals out. Deer, cats, and even slugs will keep away from the high acidity of your garden bed.
Much like blood meal, coffee also turns the earth acidic, making it less appealing for animals to come and visit. The best part about using coffee is if you have a Starbucks in the area, it will cost you next to nothing, maybe even less, to get some used coffee beans every week.
3. Scarecrow Sprinklers
If you can afford them, scarecrow sprinklers are probably the most effective method of keeping animals at bay. Functioning like a motion detection light, the sprinkle will instantly turn on when it spots movement in the area, frightening the animals away with a well-aimed spray of water. This is particularly effective against cats. You can use motion detector lights as well. Sudden bright lights will, of course, chase animals away and can alert your dog if you have one. Speaking of which…
4. Get a dog
Dogs mark their territory, and as such, they will communicate to all animals in the area that ‘I live here, so stay away!’ The only problem with getting a dog is that if you have no fenced-in yard, your dog will wander and might end up becoming a nuisance to your neighbors. A simple solution is when it’s night, you can put your dog on a long leash in your garden; that way, when the dog hears the animals, it will start barking and should chase them off.
But it is a little impractical, and it is a little unfair to keep the dog on a leash when it’s outside. But the option is there for those who want to try it and see if it works.
5. Human hair
Another weird one, but undoubtedly effective. If you know of a barber shop nearby, and you can stomach it, go and ask for some human hair to hang up in your garden. You can put them into bags and hang them around on trees. The smell alone will keep animals away. You can also sprinkle hair around the perimeter of your garden. Deer and rabbits, in particular, don’t like human hair too much, especially if it’s unwashed.
It’s a weird one, but one that works quite well.
6. Sharp smelling plants
You can also try using specific plants to keep animals out. Some plants act as deterrents to animals, while others can attract them. Here are a few you can try;
Lavender – a big bush with a beautiful scent; lavender is not too appealing to animals and will keep them out of your garden. It is also a pretty beautiful plant, and you get them in different species, so you should easily find one that will work in your garden.
Lavender keeps out mosquitoes and flies in particular.
Onions – the sharp scent of onions can keep even snakes a
way. If you’re planning on starting a vegetable garden, onions are a great addition. The only problem is, you have to harvest them, so that means there might be a short time where the onions aren’t there to keep animals out.
Marigold – the sharp scent of marigold is quite well-known to most gardeners, and some deliberately keep it out of their patches, particularly for its smell. But marigold is the champion in keeping rabbits out. They can’t stand the smell. Thankfully marigold is a pretty plant, and it’s pretty hardy. So even if you don’t like the scent, it is an excellent addition to scare off the rabbits.
Sharp smelling herbs – anything with lime, some thyme, rosemary, or mint can be used as a deterrent; animals are very reliant on their sense of smell, if the area smells too sharp, they might hop along to another garden instead, A herb garden is, in any case, a great addition to your patch, so perhaps make it the border to your garden?
There are dozens of plants you can also try, impatiens, conifers iris, lupine, larkspur, forsythia, and yarrow. These are plants that deer and rabbits won’t eat and thus won’t make your garden as welcoming. This is also a great option; make your garden unwelcoming by planting things they won’t eat. Of course, this will prevent you from growing a delicious vegetable garden.
7. Plant some diversions
You can also put some plants in the garden specifically to attract those animals. Planting things that deer and rabbits will eat on the other side of your garden might encourage them to go over there and leave your precious flowers alone. Catnip, for example, will work perfectly to attract cats, love clover, and dandelions will also work fine. You can make a point of putting these plants in an area where the animals will feel safe.
You can also try periwinkle for deer or yummy carrots for rabbits. Have a small ‘animal patch’ on the far side, where all these little critters are welcome.
Mix and match
Although these are all good ideas, please don’t limit yourself to only one of these solutions; try mixing them and see what works. Perhaps the blood meal with some sharp-smelling herbs will work perfectly for your garden. Or maybe some catnip on a small patch on the far side is all you needed. Perhaps you can plant some lavender as a border but then mix in some marigold plants in between, plus some herbs, to be sure. Use a few of them and see what works; every garden and every area is different.
Although it is always a treat to see a deer up close, it’s not something you want to see happen in your garden where you’ve worked long and hard to get your plants just right. You don’t have to use fencing to keep them out, and you certainly don’t have to use poisons; some well-planted diversions or a few sharp-smelling herbs might do the trick, and if that doesn’t work, you can always try the barber or the meat-packing factory. There are many ways to keep them out; you need to figure out what works best for you.
Sometimes you’ll have to mix and match to find the perfect combination, but thankfully some solutions do not end up hurting the animals, and some even benefit them to some extent.