Maintaining a garden can be difficult enough without worrying about critters eating and damaging your plants. Luckily, the best animal repellents for gardens will keep rodents, deer, and other pests away without causing them harm. To learn which repellents are most effective, I reached out to Zackary DeAngelis, founder and CEO of Pest Pointers, for a rundown on motion-activated sprinklers, scents that might deter wildlife, reflective elements, and other clever ways to keep animals out of your garden.
Zackary DeAngelis is the CEO and founder of Pest Pointers, a website that provides tips and tricks for dealing with wildlife and pest problems. DeAngelis is from upstate New York, grew up on over 50 acres of land, and worked on fruit farms for more than four years.
What To Consider When Choosing An Animal Repellent For Your Garden
To choose the most effective animal deterrent, you’ll want to pinpoint which animals are invading your garden and how they’re getting there. You’ll also want to consider whether you’d prefer a device that runs on solar or battery power or battery-free fixtures, such as a fence or a scarecrow-style deterrent, that are installed in the garden — or perhaps a combination of several different repellents to maximize your garden protection.
Battery-Powered Animal Repellents
DeAngelis says: “One of the best ways to keep animals away from your favorite plants is to use a motion-activated water sprinkler,” which can run on battery power. “These are water sprinklers that deliver a humane but fierce blast of water at whatever walks in front of it. It’s ideal for deer, squirrels, rabbits, raccoons, and any other animal that would be coming towards your plants.” Just consider where you’re placing it in relation to sidewalks and paths so it won’t hit people walking by
Solar-powered options include devices that deliver underground vibrations and sound pulses to target moles, groundhogs, and other tunneling and burrowing animals. Alternatively, some devices use sound waves that are inaudible to the human ear and motion-activated flashing lights to scare various animals away.
Animal Repellent Fixtures & Scents
If you prefer options that don’t require power, DeAngelis notes the most foolproof way to keep animals away is to install a garden fence around your plant. “You should use galvanized metal chicken wire as the animals won’t be able to chew through the material,” he says. In addition, “strong scents, such as vinegar and garlic, can help to mask the aroma and signals that certain animals look for while foraging,” so deterrent spray or granules may protect your garden.
And if you want to keep birds away, DeAngelis says, “Reflective elements are ideal for birds that land in clusters such as geese. These reflective elements make it extremely difficult for them to see where to land in an area when [the] sun hits the reflective device.”
If you’re ready to take back your garden and keep animals away from your plants, scroll on to see the best animal repellents for gardens on Amazon.
1. A Battery-Powered, Motion-Activated Sprinkler That Works For Most Ground Animals
DeAngelis recommends a water sprinkler to repel deer, squirrels, and other animals that might walk toward your plants, and this one uses a motion sensor to detect animal activity before effectively and humanely deterring them with a blast of water. It can detect movement from up to 40 feet away at a 120-degree viewing angle, can spray water up to 35 feet, and offers options for day-only, night-only, or 24-hour protection. The sensing technology learns the difference between trees and animals, so blowing leaves and branches won’t set it off, and two AA batteries provide over 7,500 activation cycles. Each activation only uses about two cups of water, and it even has a sprinkler setting that can be set to water your garden each day.
This sprinkler animal repellent measures 24.5 inches high (including the spike portion that sticks into the ground) and remains hooked up to your hose, so if you would like to have a separate hose for other uses, a hose splitter for your faucet might be helpful.
One Reviewer Wrote: “I live on the edge of a regional park so I get every kind of wildlife creature you can imagine passing through my patio. We love it except when we are growing fruit and tomatoes during the summer months. We have had issues with deer, pigs, skunks, raccoons and other types of creatures that LOVE our produce. […] This is my SECOND Yard Enforcer!!! I bought one last year and it worked perfectly!!! But I have more plants spread out this year. This time we have [situated] one at each corner of the yard. It [takes] a few times for the animals to figure out that they cannot breach the backyard. But after a while, you can tell they figure out that if they come into our back yard they get sprayed with water and stop trying. I highly recommend this product!!!”
2. An Animal Repellent Spray
Deer can be difficult animals to deter, but this deer repellent spray uses a combination of garlic, egg solids, clove oil, cinnamon oil, lemongrass oil, and white pepper to create a smell they can’t stand. The natural ingredients won’t cause harm to animals and are safe to use on flowers, shrubs, and vegetables. Simply spray the product directly onto dry foliage, bulbs, flowers, and stems and allow it to dry for at least an hour before rainfall or watering. Reapply weekly for the first three weeks to break animal feeding habits, and then spray every 30 days after that. Have problems with other critters? The brand makes several sprays for other animals as well.
One Reviewer Wrote: “This is one of the only deer deterrent sprays that works. It’s child, pet and plant safe. The scent is pleasant and just a very spicy cinnamon smell. But it definitely keeps the deer out of my gardens. We live in the country with a ton of deer in our yard everyday and they definitely will stay away after I spray my gardens!!”
3. This Reflective Tape That Deters Birds
To deter birds from damaging your garden, this double-sided reflective tape is a surprisingly effective, long-lasting repellent. It works on most kinds of birds, including pigeons, seagulls, woodpeckers, geese, herons, and blackbirds, and can be used in a variety of ways — it can be tied directly to plants or strung over your garden. Each roll provides 350 feet of non-sticky tape and measures two inches wide. While the listing says it works on deer, DeAngelis says that once they learn there’s not a negative consequence to approaching the tape, they’ll begin to ignore it.
One Reviewer Wrote: “Have used this bird tape for last 3 years! It really does work, especially if you have a good breeze to blow it around! I use it in my vegetable garden, my patio, and anywhere birds are a nuisance.”
4. These Solar-Powered Stakes That Deter Burrowing Animals
If burrowing and tunneling animals keep popping up in your garden, consider these solar-powered animal-repellent stakes that deliver vibrations and sound waves to deter moles, voles, gophers, groundhogs, and other underground rodents. Each stake protects up to a 35-foot radius (for a total of 7,500 feet when using all eight stakes in the pack) and is powered by a solar panel housed in waterproof ABS plastic, so you don’t have to worry about batteries or cables. The sound waves and vibrations are only slightly audible to the human ear, with most reviewers noting they don’t even notice it. For maximum effectiveness, these stakes should be used continuously for one to two weeks so the rodents begin vacating the area. Just note that although the product is rain-resistant, it shouldn’t be submerged in water.
One Reviewer Wrote: “Was skeptical after purchasing it but searched high and low for something that would keep these critters away. This product does just that. Small footprint, come already charged, just follow the instructions and poof you are annoying these little buggers immediately and preventing them from coming back. For years we’ve been searching for something that would rely on the sun, withstand the weather, and be strong enough/annoying enough to keep these guys away. This is it! Great product and happy customer!”
5. A Roll Of Galvanized Metal Fencing
To create a physical barrier from animals who like to munch on your plants, this wire fencing made from galvanized chicken wire is easy to set up and available in 12 size options for all types of gardens. It can be cut to fit to create a fence around your entire garden by wrapping it around wooden, metal, or plastic garden stakes or to create individual plant barriers. DeAngelis says, “Gardeners can take measurements of how tall and wide their plant is and get enough material to fully encase the plant.” The rustproof material features a quarter-inch weave that’s small enough to prevent mice, moles, and other rodents from squeezing through the holes and can be used in conjunction with other animal-repellent methods, such as reflective tape to keep birds out.
One Reviewer Wrote: “Perfect for keeping squirrels away from my vegetable garden. Easy to cut and put up.”
6. An Animal Repellent With An Alarm And Flashing Lights
If you prefer a more aggressive approach, this animal-repelling alarm uses a combination of ultrasonic sound waves, a siren sound alarm, and blue and white LED flashing lights to deter animals. It uses a built-in motion detector with a sensing angle of a full 360 degrees to detect the body heat of animals and can be installed using the included ground spike. It can be run in 24-hour mode or only at night. Reviewers report the device worked for squirrels, deer, raccoons, and even cats and dogs. It is solar powered and can also be charged via USB.
One Reviewer Wrote: “Most of our yard backs up to an unfenced wooded area. I had the bright idea to try to do some landscaping and didn’t consider how attractive the plants would be to the deer that occasionally roam the neighborhood. They devoured two of my hostas before I could figure out what was happening! One I got to the bottom of who the culprit was, I began researching solutions. These motion sensors work great! Extremely easy to install, and I’ve not had any new issues since purchasing them. […] I’ve been extremely pleased with the results.”
7. These Cute Scare Cats With Reflective Eyes
For an animal deterrent that doubles as whimsical decor, consider these metal scare cats with reflective eyes to keep birds, rabbits, squirrels, rodents, and other animals away from your garden. The set of four cats can be strategically placed in and around the garden or hung on fences, patios, and trees with the included screws and hanging hooks.
One Reviewer Wrote: “Put them in my garden to protect my beans. Squirrels no longer bother them. No maintenance, no big deal. Probably scares the birds too”
8. These Animal-Repelling Scented Granules
If you like the idea of a scented animal deterrent but prefer something you can sprinkle on the ground, these scented granules might do the trick. They won’t harm plants or animals but deliver a potent scent derived from whole egg solids, garlic, and thyme oil to keep animals like deer and rabbits away. These granules are water-resistant, can cover up to 2,500 square feet of space, and can even be applied via a spreader and used as a lawn ground cover for a repellent for your whole yard.
One Reviewer Wrote: “Absolutely love this product! We have tried many things to deter the deer and rabbits from my flower gardens and these granules are the only thing that work. We sprinkle a light coating around the plants they like and it lasts about 3 weeks or more. The smell is very strong so I wouldn’t store this inside a house. The scent fades outside in about 24-48 hours to be tolerable to be around. With the great success we have using this, I highly recommend it!”
Other Ways To Prevent Animals From Invading Your Space
To reduce the amount of animal activity in your garden, “gardeners should practice good landscaping habits and remove things that attract animals to their yard in the first place,” DeAngelis says. “Things like tall grass, standing water, compost piles, trash bins, wild berries, and left-out pet food can all attract animals to your property which, in turn, will bring them closer to your garden.”
Zackary DeAngelis, CEO and founder of Pest Pointers LLC and PestPointers.com