How to Keep Animals Out Of Garden Without a Permanent Fence

how to keep animals out of garden without a fence

Trying to keep animals out of your garden can sometimes be easier said than done. 

While the best way to keep animals out of your garden is to surround it with a fence, there are other methods you can follow that may help you with deterring those pesky critters away.

But let’s be honest here, without a fence you’re not going to be able to keep 100% of the animals out of your garden. Heck, even with a fence you probably still won’t be able to keep 100% of the animals out of your garden. But there’s no denying that a good fence will deter most of the animals away, especially if that fence is electrified. 

If for some reason you can’t put up a fence (maybe you’re renting your home or don’t have the budget right now), then you’ll have to employ some of those other methods I was referring to earlier. Or you can build your own homemade fence alternative and save yourself some money.

Even if you’re renting your home, all you have to do is dig up the poles of your homemade fence and pack it all up whenever your lease is about to expire. Just make sure to check with your landlord before you start digging up a bunch of holes for a homemade fence.

Some landlords won’t be too happy about that…

Best Ways to Repel Animals From Your Garden

Here are some of the best methods for repelling animals without the use of a fence (at least not an actual fence). However, some of these methods will teach you how to set up your own fence without having to pay an expensive company to come out and install it for you. Of course, when setting up a fence of your own it probably won’t be as tall, look as pretty, or do as good of a job at keeping out a wide variety of animals, but it will work at repelling some of those troublesome creatures. And that’s all that really matters. 

Now, just to be clear… There’s no need to employ all of the methods listed below to deter animals from going into your garden. Simply pick and choose the methods that seem best-fitting for the animals that are currently residing in your area.

I hope this information helps you repel those pesky animals, critters, rodents, or whatever else is walking, crawling, or slithering into your garden and eating your plants and/or vegetables.

Chicken Wire 

One of the best alternatives to surrounding your garden with a regular metal, wood, or plastic fence is to surround your garden with a fence made of chicken wire. Chicken wire is a type of mesh that’s made of high-quality galvanized (coated with a protective layer of zinc to prevent rust) iron wire that’s woven in a hexagonal pattern.

While chicken wire is commonly used to confine poultry, it can also be used to prevent small animals such as rabbits, possums, and raccoons from entering your garden. And unlike other types of garden fencing that’s made of nylon and polypropylene, chicken wire is made of galvanized iron so it can’t be easily chewed through.

Many homesteaders even combine chicken wire with other types of fencing (such as deer or garden fencing) to provide the ultimate form of protection against hungry animals (other than an actual fence).

You can also purchase a wire cloche if you only need to surround a small section of your garden (typically an individual plant) with chicken wire. A wire cloche is a small covering made out of chicken wire (sometimes looks like a bell) that you can use to surround a smaller-sized plant such as lettuce, broccoli, or a strawberry bush.

Wire cloches come in a variety of different shapes and sizes with some even being big enough to cover multiple plants. However, some bigger sized animals will be able to knock (or push) the wire cloche over as they tend to be fairly light in weight.

Helpful Tip: Make sure there’s about 12 to 15 inches of chicken wire coming out from the bottom of the fence by bending the chicken wire at a 90-degree angle. This will prevent small critters from being able to dig underneath your fence.

Containers & Raised Beds

Image by Jeyaratnam Caniceus

The hardware cloth (wire mesh with ¼ to ½ inch square openings) is attached to the bottom of the raised bed to prevent animals from burrowing into your garden bed. Whereas the livestock panel is placed on top of the raised beds to deter animals from entering your garden.

Okay, so a raised garden bed by itself isn’t going to keep the critters out of your garden, but in combination with a few extra precautions (such as hardware cloth and livestock panel), it will help deter animals from getting to your vegetables. 

Using a container such as a pot or a barrel will help keep out some of the smaller-sized animals that like to burrow their way into your garden, but it won’t do much for deterring the bigger-sized animals as they can just climb their way into the container. Of course, you could always get a giant container that’s so big that animals can’t climb into it, but I’m honestly not sure where you would find a container that large. 

Now if you want to get creative you could make yourself an elevated raised garden bed. That will really stick it to them critters!

Store-Bought Repellent

One of the best ways to convince animals to no longer go near your garden is to use store-bought animal repellent.

You can either spray your plants with liquid animal repellent or you can scatter animal repellent granules all over your garden. Or even better yet you can create an animal repellent barrier around your garden by essentially forming a fence of granules. I prefer the fence idea.

So which works better, liquid or granules?

To be honest, I have no idea. They both seem to work fairly well at deterring animals away from the garden. Just don’t expect miracles to happen has no animal repellent is 100% effective. I’d recommend for you to use both liquid and granular animal repellent so that you get the benefits from both.

While liquid animal repellent works through smell, taste, and touch, granular animal repellent only works once the animal actually eats it. Only then will they realize the granules taste bad and make them feel sick. Once they realize this they’ll never want to go near your garden again.

Hopefully…

Motion-Activated Sprinkler

Another effective method for repelling animals away from your garden is to use a motion-activated sprinkler system. 

Since most animals are easily startled, the motion-activated sprinkler is the perfect solution for scaring them away. All you have to do is pop in a 9-volt battery, stake the sprinkler into the ground, and then connect the sprinkler to your garden hose and turn it on. Now you have a superior version of the modern-day scarecrow. But instead of scaring animals away with sketchy looks, you’ll be scaring them away with Mother Nature itself! 

Motion-activated sprinkler systems typically have a 30-ft range and can cover up to 1000 square feet of your garden. Most motion-activated sprinklers are solar powered as well so you won’t have to worry about going through lots of 9-volt batteries as they tend to be highly efficient.

The best part about motion-activated sprinklers, however, is that you can connect multiple sprinklers together as long as you have multiple garden hoses to do so. This means that no matter how big of a garden you have, you’ll still be able to cover every square foot of it if you want to. 

Deer Netting 

The cheapest way to build a homemade fence to deter animals from getting into your garden is to invest in deer netting.

Deer netting is a type of mesh material that (typically) has ¾” square openings and is 7 to 7.5-feet tall. The tall height of the netting is why it’s called deer netting, as it takes about seven feet of height to stop a deer from jumping over it. 

Just make sure to buy deer netting that’s made from polypropylene and not nylon material. Even though both nylon and polypropylene are UV resistant, nylon will rot over time if it’s constantly exposed to water from rain or snow, whereas PP (polypropylene) is much better suited for all weather conditions. 

Garden Netting

Garden netting is similar to deer netting, except the square opening are slightly smaller (⅗“ instead of ¾”) and the polypropylene used to make the netting may be slightly thinner. However, this is a good thing as the netting needs to be as flexible as possible as it will typically be wrapped loosely around your plants, shrubs, fruit trees, or whatever else you’re trying to protect. 

One of the best ways to use garden netting is to use it in combination with greenhouse hoops to create a tunnel of netting to protect your plants. However, this will only work for smaller plants such as kale, lettuce, strawberries, etc. But with a little bit of ingenuity, you can essentially use it to cover any plant you desire. 

The advantage of using garden netting is that it will provide maximum protection for your garden without harming animals or interfering with plant growth.

Plants With Strong Odor

A cluster of Marigold flowers

A natural way to prevent animals from going near your garden is to surround your garden with plants that have a strong odor that they find repulsing. 

However, before you head down to Home Depot to rummage for foul-smelling plants, you first need to find out what type of animals are crawling, walking, or slithering their way into your garden. While some animals may not like the smell of certain plants such as marigolds, other animals won’t be bothered by it at all.

Listed below are some of the most common animals that are known to eat (or destroy) gardens and which plants you should place in your garden to repel them.

Rabbits: Rosemary, Sage, Lavender, Onions, Garlic, and Thyme

Deer: Sage, Peppermint, Sunflowers, Lavender, Daffodils, Rosemary, Dill, and Oregano

Squirrels: Daffodil, Allium, Galanthus, and Fritillaries

Chipmunks: Onion, Garlic, Marigolds, and Daffodil

Raccoons: Squash, Black Pepper, Peppermint, Garlic, and Cayenne Pepper

Rodents: Lavender, Mint, Marigolds, Daffodils, and Catnip

Moles: Chives, Garlic, Leeks, Onions, and Shallots

Hopefully you’ll find this list of herbs, flowers, and vegetables to be helpful for deterring animals away from your garden. 

Soap

While humans may love the smell of Irish Spring Soap, animals such as mice, deer, rabbits, and voles seem to find it repulsive. 

I recommend either cutting the bars of Irish Spring Soap into smaller pieces and strategically placing them throughout your garden or using a cheese grater to spread grated soap all over your garden. 

Either should work fine. Just make sure to scrape the soap every couple of weeks (or more often if necessary) to rejuvenate the smell.

Wind Chimes

Animals aren’t too fond of loud noises, which is why placing wind chimes around the edge of your garden is an effective way to deter animals from going near. You don’t just have to use wind chimes either, anything that makes loud noises (the louder the better) is going to be effective at scaring animals away. 

Motion Activated Lights

A great way to deter animals without causing them harm is to install motion-activated lights around the premises of your garden.

Motion-activated lights will deter animals such as coyotes, deer, possums, raccoons, and skunks. Unfortunately, if the animal comes back to your garden often they’ll eventually learn that the lights are not going to cause them harm and stop being afraid of them.

Ultrasonic Animal Repellent

An ultrasonic animal repeller is a motion-activated device used to create ultrasonic (high frequency) sounds that will (hopefully) scare any animals that go near it. Unfortunately, much like the motion-activated lights, the ultrasonic animal repeller only works until the animal wises up and realizes the device will cause them no harm.

Most ultrasonic animal repellents are typically combined with strobe LED lights so it’s sort of like buying a motion-activated light and an ultrasonic repeller in one device. Just make sure to get one with a solar panel built-in as well so you don’t have to constantly worry about recharging it. 

Some of the animals that may be deterred by the ultrasonic animal repellent include badgers, bats, birds, boars, cats, dogs, coyotes, foxes, mice, raccoons, and skunks.

Pepper Spray Mixture

Because animals have such a good sense of smell, making a concoction of red pepper spray will certainly deter any animals who smell it from going near your garden. 

To make red pepper spray you’ll need to combine 4 cups of water, 1 teaspoon dish soap, and 1 tablespoon of hot sauce with red pepper — the hotter the better. Once you’ve made your mixture of red pepper spray, Simply spray it on one section of each plant you wish to protect and wait a few days to see if the plant reacts negatively or not.

If nothing happens I recommend you spray red pepper spray all over your plants to help deter animals such as dogs, cats, deer, raccoons, and skunks. Spreading red pepper flakes around your garden can also deter animals from going near your garden, although red pepper spray is typically more effective. 

Owl Statue

Strategically placing a large owl statue in (or near) your garden will effectively scare small birds and mammals away such as squirrels, rabbits, and mice. Plus, a large owl statue is going to look a lot more frightening to small animals (and even birds) than the typical scarecrow that you see in the movies.

Now, if you do decide to get yourself an owl statue, you may want to move the position of the owl every so often to prevent animals from realizing the owl is not real.

CD’s

If you have a bunch of old CDs or DVDs you don’t use anymore you may want to try tying each one to a string and hanging them around your garden. During the daylight, the sun will reflect off of the CD’s and it will hopefully scare away any birds or animals in the area as they’re not sure what’s going on. 

Of course, this is only going to work if you have something to hang the CDs from such as a large tree or something. 

Pellet Gun

Tired of a particular animal that keeps entering your garden and eating all your vegetables?

Why not just simply eliminate them from the equation? 

With a pellet gun (or actual gun) you can defend your garden from any pesky critters who want to eat your plants or vegetables. Of course, if the animal is endangered or has a specific hunting season then don’t shoot them unless you want to be fined up to $100,000 and/or spend up to one year in jail. 

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