When you think about keeping animals out of your garden, you probably think about deer, squirrels, moles, and other wildlife that can wreak havoc on your tender plants. However, they aren’t the only animals that can cause problems in your garden. Your beloved pets that you welcome in freely can be just as damaging as some of the local wildlife that visits. Think about the headache when your dog decides to dig up the flower beds that you just planted or when you cats nibble one of your plants into oblivion with their little teeth just because something looked tasty. Here are some tips on how to keep your pets safely out of your garden so your furry friends don't become fiends.

Physical Barriers

Close up of chain link fence

One of the first and most obvious roads you can do down is creating a physical barrier around the vulnerable areas of your garden, especially since this method is effective not just for keeping out your domestic animals, but also serves to deter invasive wildlife.

One quick and easy method for creating a fence is chicken wire. First put down several stakes that are as tall as the fence that you want then place these around the area you wish to protect to establish a perimeter. Then, spread out the chicken wire attaching it to the stakes you used. Due to its weight and relative stability, it may not be obvious that your length of wire is too long until you've wrapped it all the way around the perimeter only to notice your fence sags in the middle. To stop your chicken wire from drooping, just add additional stakes to support those key areas. Make sure that you plan to incorporate at least one spot that can open like a gate, or else you'll wind up cutting yourself off from being able to tend to your bulbs.

If that stark, metal look ruins your garden aesthetic, there are some gorgeous garden fencing options that you can create using natural plants. The only downside here is that you may find that your pet can go over or under the fence if they're really motivated to get at your precious plants.

Another option is to make sensitive spaces uncomfortable for your pets by using materials already laying around the yard like thorny branches from a rose bush or other branches. Simply arranging those in a prickly perimeter is a natural deterrent that can keep them out of areas where you’ve recently seeded, transplanted, or mulched.

Sometimes cats and dogs don't do damage by digging or chewing but instead throw their weight around by literally rolling and laying all over your plants. Place some garden stakes low in the ground and entice your pet to go somewhere else. Think of this like the little strips that are put on buildings and other areas to keep birds from nesting or roosting. It won’t harm them, but get them to go somewhere else.

Smell Based Barriers

Mint Leaf

Your pets have very sensitive noses, and certain scents are sure to keep them away. Herbs like sage and rosemary are very pungent in smell, and most cats aren’t fond of their fragrance. There’s actually an annual plant that was cultivated specially for producing a pungent smell to keep cats away called Coleus canina. If you’re hoping to attract birds, this can be a great plant to put in places you want the birds to come without ringing the dinner bell. Another option when it comes to smell based deterrents is coffee grounds, which are particularly effective at sending felines scurrying away and as a bonus coffee grounds can also give our soil a bit of boost.

Can’t Beat Them Join Them

Cat laying on the floor of a greenhouse

If you can’t beat your pets when it comes to them getting into your garden, find ways that they can be safe in your garden. Have a dog that loves to dig? Offer them a space where it’s okay for them to dig or roll in the dirt. You can even make it more enticing by loosening the soil and adding some toys like a dirt sandbox for your furbaby. Have a cat that enjoys digging up your garden beds? Trick them by putting a rock or brick by the edge of the garden bed. They won’t be able to get far with their digging and will move to another spot. Hopefully, one that’s not going to disturb any part of your garden.

Everyone loves their pets, but it’s easy to understand why you wouldn’t want them in your garden. These tricks are just a few different ways you can work on keeping them in the areas that they should be and let your garden grow undisturbed. You’ll be happier and so will they.