When you spend so long putting your (often very literal) blood, sweat, and tears into bringing your garden ideas to life, the last thing you want is for a fox to come along and ruin it. So, we don’t blame you for wanting to know how to keep foxes out of the garden.
From digging up your freshly sown autumn vegetables to trampling all over your homemade compost, foxes can cause a ruckus in your garden if you let them. They’ll use it as their personal restaurant and their very own 5-star hotel, and they’ll leave a wake of destruction behind them.
And while we’re all about making our gardens wildlife-friendly, foxes are a slight exception to the rule. Thankfully, there are so many ways to keep foxes out of the garden in a safe and humane way.
How to keep foxes out of the garden
Although we have nothing against foxes on a personal level, they are a nuisance when it comes to our gardens. So, we’ve asked the experts to share their top tips for keeping foxes out of the garden for good.
1. Clean up any food debris
Foxes are natural scavengers, and they’re constantly on the lookout for food. So, one of the best ways to keep foxes out of the garden is to remove food debris. This isn’t just your compost heap or your leftover BBQ scraps, though.
‘Ensure bird feeders are kept elevated well out of reach of foxes, and clear up any seed spillages or fallen fruit immediately,’ says Eric Michels, Head of Pro for Vivara and CJ Wildlife. ‘If you have a pond, make sure it is covered with pond netting to protect the wildlife, and if you grow your own fruit and vegetables, make sure crops are well protected with fruit cages.’
And without any food debris in your garden, foxes are less likely to come knocking.
2. Check the integrity of your fences
There’s a high chance that they’ll only enter your garden for one of two reasons; food or shelter. And if you take away food debris from your garden, you’re just left with shelter.
Eric states, ‘Gardens with mature trees or shrubs where they can hide and move around without being noticed will also make it more appealing.’ And the best way to remove this opportunity is to check the integrity of your fences.
‘If foxes are prone to sneaking underneath, fit L-shaped mesh footings to block them. Plant up prickly shrubs to reinforce your boundaries, too,’ suggests pest control expert Walter Murphy at PriceYourJob.co.uk.
Of course, a fox will jump over a fence if it really wants to, but keeping an eye on other escape routes will definitely help your cause.
3. Use a strong-smelling substance
One thing you might not know about foxes is that they have an incredible sense of smell. As natural hunters and trackers, they use their noses to find their prey and even communicate with each other.
And while this strong sense of smell normally points them in the direction of your garden, you could also use this to your advantage. Especially if you use a strong-smelling substance that foxes are known to hate.
‘Foxes have a keen sense of smell, so certain odours can be used to deter them,’ explains Jacob Lloyd, Head of Investigations at Animal Welfare Investigations Project. ‘For example, they are known to dislike the smell of chilli peppers and garlic. You can try infusing these ingredients in boiling water and spraying the solution around the garden as a fox repellent.’
Alongside this, they also don’t like the smell of coffee grounds or citrus fruits, so next time you have a coffee or a satsuma, keep the coffee grounds or the citrus peel to one side and sprinkle them around the garden.
4. Use sound deterrents
Just as they have sensitive noses, foxes also have very sensitive ears. And if you’re looking to keep foxes out of the garden, sound deterrents are a great option.
'Foxes are very sensitive to noise, and therefore investing in specialised ultrasonic animal-repellent noise devices can be a quick and effective method to keep foxes out of your garden,’ says Peter McAllister from Household Pets.
‘This is a long-lasting and low maintenance method to keep foxes away from your house and garden, as unlike scent repellents, they don't need to be topped up frequently and are weather-proof.'
These sound deterrents won’t harm the fox, and they are completely inaudible to humans. Plus, they won’t break the bank. You can buy a set of 2 Pestbye® Battery Operated Ultrasonic Animal Scarers from Amazon for just £27.49.
5. Keep your bins out of reach
While most of us hate the stench of rotting dustbins, our wheelie bins are an all-you-can-eat buffet that foxes just can’t ignore. Because of this, you may find foxes sneaking into your garden to have a nibble.
'To be sure that foxes and other animals cannot get to your rubbish and into your garden, be sure to secure rubbish bins,' says Daniel Steward, Managing Director of Shield Pest Control.
'You can purchase bins that have locks and bolts attached to them for this purpose, or you could simply weigh down the lid of a bin so that a fox cannot open it. If a fox cannot gain access to the bin, it will likely leave it alone after a short while, going in search of other options.'
If you can, avoid over-filling your wheelie bin, as plastic bags offer no protection where foxes are concerned. And if you're feeling creative, check out these wheelie bin storage ideas.
6. Use motion-sensor lights
Although they’ll happily rifle through your bins as though their lives depend on it, foxes are actually very timid creatures, and they like to keep themselves to themselves.
Normally, they’ll flee as soon as they see other signs or sounds of life - which is why installing motion-sensor lights in your garden could work wonders.
‘Installing automatic lights will scare foxes away without causing any harm, and if you spot one, simply making a loud noise will soon send them running,’ says Eric.
These lights could be installed on the back of your house, on your shed, or on your fence. And you can even buy solar-powered options if you don’t have electricity running into the garden. Our favourite is this pack of 4 Outdoor Motion Sensor Lights from Amazon.
What smells will keep foxes away?
Foxes are extremely sensitive to smells, so strong and pungent smells will keep foxes out of your garden if you use them well.
They particularly hate chilli powder, coffee grounds, citrus fruit, and garlic. If you can, try to infuse these smells in water and then spray the concoction around your garden.
Also, sprinkling the likes of garlic powder, coffee grounds, and chilli powder onto your grass could also work well.
What do foxes hate the most?
With heightened senses, foxes hate loud noises, sudden movements, strong smells, and bright lights. Thankfully, there are so many ways to use these things to your advantage and to keep foxes out of your garden without harming them in the process.
When trying to keep foxes out of your garden, we’d suggest trying preventative measures before using deterrents. In some cases, securing your wheelie bin and making sure your fence is in good condition could be enough to keep them at bay.
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Lauren Bradbury is a freelance writer and major homes enthusiast. She graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in English and Creative Writing from the University of Chichester in 2016, before dipping her toe into the world of content writing. After years of agency work, writing everything from real-life stories to holiday round-ups, she decided to take the plunge and become a full-time freelancer in the online magazine world. Since then, she has become a regular contributor for Real Homes and Ideal Home, and become even more obsessed with everything interior and garden related. As a result, she’s in the process of transforming her old Victorian terraced house into an eclectic and modern home that hits visitors with personality as soon as they walk through the door.
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