5 Tips For Keeping Your Pets Out Of Your Garden

Whether it's a small raised garden bed or a full-scale backyard project, growing your own fruits, vegetables, herbs, and flowers is incredibly rewarding. Sitting outside and enjoying the literal fruits of your labor is one of the best parts about keeping a garden. If you have pets, odds are they like being out with you, too.

On the flip side, your cat or dog is probably very curious about the sweet-smelling crops you are growing and may be tempted to dig up the plants you've spent so much time cultivating. Depending on what you're growing, it can also be incredibly dangerous if your pets get into your garden. As My Pet points out, a lot of common flowers and crops are poisonous to your furry friends, including but not limited to carnations, dahlias, chrysanthemums, hydrangeas, azaleas, garlic, onion, and grapes. If you want a healthy garden as well as a healthy pet, it's a good idea to learn how to keep them out.

1. Fence

The easiest and most foolproof way to keep pets out of your garden is to put up a fence. This has multiple benefits, as it will also keep hungry wildlife like deer and rabbits out of your garden, too. The type of fence you get depends on your aesthetic preferences, as well as how large your garden is and how big your pet is.

For example, according to Outward Hound, a simple chain link fence will probably keep small and medium dogs contained, but large dogs can probably blow past them, and cats will likely be able to weasel their way in. For a sturdier structure, consider building a wood fence around your garden, or at least have a wood frame with a chain link interior. To keep your pet from digging or slinking in otherwise, consider lining the bottom, and even the top, with chicken wire. Vinyl privacy fences are also just as effective.

2. Sprinklers

Another thing you can add to your garden to keep pets out is a motion-activated sprinkler. This method does largely depend on your pet's unique personality, but it's worth a shot. It also has the added benefit of keeping your plants watered and dispelling wild animals. As Motion Sensors Sprinkler notes, the sudden jet of water may be enough to scare your dog or cat away and, over time, dissuade them from creeping into your garden altogether.

That being said, not all dogs and cats will be scared of the sprinkler. Some dogs may want to play with it, and cats may try to attack it. If you really want to stick to this method despite your pet's behavior, there are a few ways you can make them stay away from the sprinkler. Chuck's Landscaping recommends spraying a few pet bitters on the sprinkler, which they'll find displeasing and stay away from.

3. Homemade pepper spray

Most animals, especially dogs and cats, use their sense of smell to make out their environment a lot more than humans. When it comes to keeping them out of your garden, you can use this to your benefit by creating sprays to keep them away using scents they don't like. A scent that cats and dogs almost universally dislike is peppers or anything hot, according to Motion Sensors Sprinkler.

This method is one of the best for your garden, as it not only keeps out your pets but a host of other curious critters, including bunnies and deer, as well as most bugs. To create the spray, simply grab a spray bottle and mix water with anything spicy — cayenne, chili powder, pepper, etc. Mix it up, and spray it around the perimeter of your garden frequently. Your pet will sniff it out and eventually associate your garden with the unpleasant scent.

4. Coffee grounds

Along with spice, another smell pets — especially dogs — strongly dislike is anything bitter. While citrus peels are a common recommendation, they can be toxic to your pet if they get a little too curious. This is why Oodle Life recommends using coffee grounds to keep pets out of your garden.

This method is super simple and zero waste — when you're done brewing your morning batch of coffee, bring the grounds outside and either sprinkle them around the perimeter of your garden or mix them into the top few inches of topsoil. As a bonus, your plants and garden may end up benefiting from the added nutrients. Keep in mind that coffee is very acidic, so you should avoid adding coffee grounds to plants that need more basic or alkaline pH levels. Berries and many flowers prefer acidic pH levels and soil conditions, though, so odds are you'll be in luck.

5. Repellent plants

Finally, a great way to keep your pets out of your garden is by planting flowers, herbs, or vegetables that produce odors they consider unpleasant. This isn't to say you need a garden full of pungent plants, but instead, you can dot a few around your garden, or at least around the perimeter. Each animal is different, and they may not all react the same to each plant, but it doesn't hurt to try.

Some flowers that dogs particularly dislike include marigolds and lavender, according to K9 of Mine. As for herbs, dogs tend to dislike the smell of rue and curry plants. Finally, simply planting hot peppers and chilis can be enough to dissuade them. A few scents that cats don't like include citronella, geraniums, rosemary, and lemongrass, per The Practical Planter. One of the most offensive smelling plants for both cats and dogs is the scaredy cat plant (Coleus Canina), which smells like urine to them, and keeps them away from your garden.