If you have your lawn and garden looking just the way you want it to, it can be really disheartening to walk outside and realize an animal has destroyed part of your property. Wild critters can quickly destroy parts of your property that you’ve spent hours on, whether it’s a squirrel digging for nuts on your newly landscaped lawn or a rabbit nibbling on the plants in your vegetable garden.

If you’re looking for some strategies to keep animals away, try one of these tips!

Identify the Animal

One of the first things you should do when you realize that you have an unwanted visitor is to identify what type of animal it is. Knowing what type of animal is causing the damage can help you figure out how to prevent them from coming back.

Common wildlife visitors include deer, groundhogs, rabbits, raccoons, and squirrels. You can identify different types of animals by their droppings, track marks, and behavior patterns. For example, raccoons frequently get into trash cans and scatter trash around.

Once you figure out who your wildlife visitor is, you can look up specific ways to keep them away.

Frighten them

If you have habitual visitors, you need to find a way to change their behavior patterns. One of the quickest ways to do this is to scare them away. They’ll eventually want to stop coming into your yard.

There are motion-detector sprinklers that will squirt water when animals get to close. These quick bursts of waters tend to startle animals and scare them away. If your visitors are coming at night, you can also use motion-detector lights. The lights will turn on when the animal gets too close, which will cause most animals to run.

If you don’t want to invest in sprinklers or lights, you can try noisemakers (such as a windchime) or pinwheels.

Put up a barrier

There are various sorts of barriers you can put up around your lawn or garden to deter wildlife from entering. You can either opt to protect your entire yard or individual plants.

If you have larger visitors, such as deer, you might need to invest in a fence around your property. Critterfence’s deer fence can be a great option. Their fences come in kits of various strengths and heights depending on your needs. Some of their kits even come with rodent barriers to help prevent smaller animals from entering your yard.

If you have smaller visitors, such as rabbits nibbling on your plants, you can consider using netting or chicken wire. Simply place the netting or wire around your plants to deter tiny critters from munching.

Get rid of hiding places

If your yard has overgrown bushes, piles of wood, or large shrubbery, animals are coming to your yard because they’re looking for a home. Animals love to find places to hide, especially if that place also has food available!

To eliminate animals from turning your yard into their home, clean up your property. Trim back any large bushes or shrubs, get rid of any fallen trees, and trim your flowerbeds.

Reduce attractants

Another reason animals frequently enter yards is because they’re looking for a free meal. If you’ve already put barriers up around your veggies, take a look around to see if there are other areas of your yard that animals are feasting on.

For example, if you’re using bird feed to attract wild birds, you might want to research alternative ways to feed the birds. Squirrels love bird seed. Squirrels also love nuts. If you have a walnut tree that is frequently dropping nuts, squirrels are going to gather them. Pick up any nuts or fruit before your animal visitor spots them.

Raccoons are another animal that love free food. They’ll eat pet food and dig through trash cans. Start keeping pet food inside your house and cover your trash cans up. They’ll also tear open trash bags, so make sure not to leave bags laying around your yard.

Use a repellent

There are a number of repellents out there that will help deter wildlife from entering your yard.

You can consider buying a liquid or granular repellent from a store. Liquid repellents can be sprayed directly onto surfaces, which will prevent animals from wanting to eat certain plants and from exploring certain areas. Granular repellents get sprinkled onto areas to deter animals from accessing that area.

If you want to use a more natural repellent, there are a number of scents animals find unappealing. For example, deer, rabbits, and opossums don’t like the smell of garlic, so a homemade garlic spray will help keep them from nibbling on your plants.