Harmful animals

How to Protect Your Garden from Animal Attack

Rabbit fencing doesn’t have to be that high, but must be buried at the base. Photo: Lost in the Midwest, depositphotos

By Harry Wilson

Those who love gardening know how heart-wrenching it is to see all your hard work destroyed by a wild animal in one night. If you live in an area where wild animals such as deer, rabbits, raccoons, groundhogs, stray cats and dogs often pay a visit to your garden at night—or even your own pets that think your vegetable bed is their personal playground—, then you need to take concrete steps to protect your garden. Your plants are expensive and the hard work you do to maintain your garden is costly, so don’t let wild animals ruin them.

If you are tired of animals attacking your garden, this article is here to guide you on what you can do to protect your garden.

1.    Build a Fence Around Your Garden

Garden wall with open gate.
As tall as your fence may be, you still have to keep the gate closed to keep unwanted visitors out.

Fencing your garden can be an effective measure to keep the wild animals out of your garden, especially at night. You can find different designs and heights to match your requirements.

 If animals that are invading your privacy are small and not great climbers, such as hedgehogs and groundhogs, or don’t jump too high, like rabbits, you can use shorter fences. However, to protect your garden from bigger animals like deer, you will have to consider something higher.

Fences can create a physical barrier between your garden and outsiders, therefore helping you keep the stray animals away from your precious flowering plants, fruits, and vegetables.

2.    Use a Wire Cloche

Chicken wire cloche.
A wire cloche will keep animals off individual plants, yet let rain, air, sunlight and pollinating insects in. Photo: ubuy.vn

A wire cloche is a dome-like structure made of simple wire or chicken wire that creates a barrier between the plant and animal. If you notice that an animal attacks one plant in particular, you can use a meshwork of wire to protect that plant.

The animal won’t be able to grab leaves and chew on them if the plant is enclosed in a wire cloche. This is an easy remedy in case only one or few plants are under constant attack.

3.    Use an Animal Repellent

There are many animal repellent options available in the market. You can get solar-powered sonic animal repellents from places like Thanos Home brand or you can get an animal repellent spray that makes the plant taste bad to the animal, thus keeping them away.

However, an animal repellent apparatus can be a better option overall than a spray, because with sprays, animals will have at least munched on a few plant parts to test them before they leave. An animal repellent device produces ultrasonic waves that are activated as soon as an animal enters the vicinity, thus keeping the animals away from the entire garden.

4.    Use Prickly Mulches

Pine cone mulch.
A prickly mulch won’t be very attractive to a cat seeking a private toilet area. Photo: Ruvo233, depositphotos

If you have a cat or dog that plays on your terrace or lawn on a regular basis and want to allow them that pleasure while still protecting your vegetables, shrubs and flowers, try placing prickly mulches on the spots where you don’t want them to go. Such a mulch—it could be spruce branches, rosebush trimmings, rough bark mulch, pinecones, sharply pointed gravel or others—will keep the animal away from your vegetables and flowers, yet allow them open space where they can still enjoy themselves. Prickly mulches are particularly effective in keeping the cats away, as they really don’t like to walk on irritating surfaces.

Prickly mulches create a surface animals will hesitate to walk on and instead encourage them to stay on grassy or paved surfaces where their play does no harm. Therefore, you’ll be able to keep them out of those spots where you do want to seriously garden.


Wild animals and even pets can ruin your garden within seconds. If you want to protect your garden from such intruders, then you should take concrete steps to build a physical barrier between your garden and them. Fencing, animal repellents, wire cloches, and prickly mulches are just a few of the effective ways to do so.

About the Author

Harry Wilson is the Head of Digital Marketing Department at Globex Outreach. He helps clients grow their online businesses and occasionally writes blogs to share his experience with other professionals.

Garden writer and blogger, author of 65 gardening books, lecturer and communicator, the Laidback Gardener, Larry Hodgson, passed away in October 2022. Known for his great generosity, his thoroughness and his sense of humor, he reached several generations of amateur and professional gardeners over his 40-year career. Thanks to his son, Mathieu Hodgson, and a team of contributors, laidbackgardener.blog will continue its mission of demystifying gardening and making it more accessible to all.

8 comments on “How to Protect Your Garden from Animal Attack

  1. Thanks so much for sharing!

  2. iristhomas

    There are some ways to keep animals out of the garden. Use a pepper homemade spray, use plants that repel animals and insects, install ultrasonic pest repellent, hang soap bars, sprinkle coffee, use a milk spray, use a castor oil solution, and hang wind chimes.

  3. I was surprised at the almost militaristic headline and content of this article by a third party. The last sentence of the comment following, I found to be cruel.

  4. I have a deer crossing on the highway in front of my home so there are deer bedding down for the night in my back field from time to time.They are sneaky after dark.I have a wee garden about 40ft wide by 60ft. long and my fence four feet high double bird netting stapled to wooden stakes. A deer could easily jump that fence or walk through it.
    I have a pump up spray bottle I put vinegar and a spoonful of dish soap in it and spray the outside perimeter at the bottom of the fencing all around the garden every other evening or after a rain.I had no problem with deer jumping into my garden for four years.I also rub hard hand soap on top of each stake.
    Another deterrent is Don’t make friends with deer that you see close to your home.

  5. Peter Iveson iveson

    buy a squirrel trap,these varmits dig up everything,strip buds off shrubs,nip off tulip buds,and ruin my garden,try peanuts soaked in antifreeze.

    • They’re public enemy #1 in my yard. Had some luck scattering pelleted chicken manure last summer, they don’t seem to like the smell of it (though it doesn’t smell much to humans). That, and the nesting magpies were pretty good at chasing them off.

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