How to Keep Raccoons Out of the Garden?

Table of contents

Short Answer

  1. Understand Raccoon Behavior: Recognize that raccoons are attracted to gardens for food and shelter. Identify signs of their presence to address the issue promptly.
  2. Secure Food Sources: Raccoons are drawn to easy meals. Ensure trash cans have tight-fitting lids secured with straps or weights, avoid leaving pet food outside, use compost bins with secure lids, and regularly clear fallen fruit and vegetables from your garden.
  3. Create Physical Barriers: Install a sturdy fence at least 4 feet high with an L-shaped footer to prevent digging. Consider using electric fencing and covers or netting for individual plants or areas.
  4. Employ Deterrents:
    • Motion-Activated Sprinklers: Startle raccoons with sudden water sprays.
    • Ultrasonic Devices: Emit high-frequency sounds to create an unwelcoming environment.
    • Lights: Use motion-activated lights to deter nocturnal foraging.
  5. Use Natural Repellents: Homemade sprays with hot pepper, garlic, or vinegar can deter raccoons. Plant marigolds or daffodils as natural repellents, and consider ammonia-soaked rags placed strategically around the garden.
  6. Maintenance and Monitoring: Regularly inspect your garden for signs of raccoon activity, maintain cleanliness by removing attractants, and adjust strategies as necessary to remain effective.
  7. Legal Considerations: Be aware of local wildlife laws regarding raccoon management. Use humane traps if necessary and legal, and consider professional assistance for persistent or aggressive raccoon issues.

How Can I Prevent Raccoons from Entering my Garden?

Keeping raccoons out of your garden is crucial for protecting your plants and vegetables. Raccoons, with their dexterous paws and intelligent nature, can easily wreak havoc in your outdoor space, digging up plants, and feasting on fruits and vegetables. Addressing raccoon intrusions effectively requires a combination of understanding their behavior, securing food sources, and employing deterrents. This article will guide you through practical steps to safeguard your garden from these nocturnal visitors, ensuring your gardening efforts remain fruitful.

Understand Raccoon Behavior to Keep Raccoons Out of the Garden

Raccoons are attracted to gardens primarily because they provide easy access to food and shelter. These nocturnal animals are adept at foraging and can cause significant damage to your garden in their search for a meal. (Raccoons – WildlifeNYC, n.d.) They’re known for their intelligence and dexterity, capable of opening latches, unwrapping wires, and even removing lids to get to food sources. Understanding that raccoons are motivated by the availability of food can help you devise more effective strategies to keep them away from your garden. Recognizing the signs of their presence, such as overturned plants, dug-up soil, or disturbed trash cans, is crucial for timely intervention.

How to keep raccoons away

How do you Keep Raccoons Away?

To deter raccoons from invading your garden, focusing on securing all potential food sources is key. Raccoons are drawn to easy meals, and your garden can provide just that if you’re not careful. Here are steps to make your garden less appealing:

Trash Cans

Ensure your trash cans are raccoon-proof with tight-fitting lids, preferably secured with straps or weights. Raccoons are notorious for tipping over trash cans to scavenge for food. Consider using cans designed to resist tampering by wildlife. (Keeping Raccoons Out of Your Trash – Town of Huntington, Long Island, New York, n.d.)

Pet Food

Avoid leaving pet food outside, especially overnight. Raccoons will not hesitate to eat dog or cat food, which provides an easy meal. Feed pets indoors or remove food dishes immediately after pets have finished eating. (Raccoons – WildlifeNYC, n.d.)

Compost Bins

Composting is great for your garden but can attract raccoons if not properly managed. Use a compost bin with a secure lid and avoid composting meat or sweet foods, which are particularly appealing to raccoons.

Fallen Fruit and Vegetables

Regularly patrol your garden for fallen fruits, vegetables, or berries. These can attract raccoons and other wildlife. Promptly removing any fallen produce will help reduce the food sources available to raccoons.

Eliminating easy access to food significantly reduces the likelihood of raccoons visiting your garden. This step is crucial in a comprehensive strategy to protect your garden from nocturnal visitors.

How to repel raccoons

What Can Raccoons Not Climb?

Creating physical barriers is an effective way to prevent raccoons from accessing your garden. These barriers can range from fences to more specialized solutions designed to deter climbing animals like raccoons. Here’s how you can fortify your garden:


A sturdy fence can be a significant deterrent to raccoons. The fence should be at least 4 feet high and made of a material difficult for raccoons to climb, such as smooth metal or vinyl. Additionally, to prevent them from digging underneath, extend the fence at least 6 to 12 inches below ground level or consider installing an L-shaped footer made of wire mesh.

Electric Fencing

For gardens facing persistent raccoon problems, electric fencing can offer an effective solution. A single electric wire placed about 8 inches above the ground and another near the top of a standard fence can discourage raccoons from attempting to climb or cross into your garden. Always follow manufacturer instructions and local regulations when installing electric fencing. (Problems With Raccoons, n.d.)

Covers and Nets

For smaller garden areas or specific plants, using covers or netting can provide immediate protection. Mesh covers or garden nets can be placed over fruit trees, vegetable patches, or flower beds to prevent raccoons from reaching the plants. Ensure the covers are secured to the ground to prevent raccoons from lifting them.

Employing these physical barriers requires an initial investment of time and resources but can significantly reduce the chances of raccoon invasions. Combining barriers with other strategies, like securing food sources and using deterrents, enhances your garden’s defense against these adaptable creatures.

What Can Raccoons Not Climb

How to Create a Raccoon-free Garden with Employ Deterrents

Beyond physical barriers, incorporating deterrents can further protect your garden from raccoons. These methods can surprise, scare, or simply make your garden less attractive to raccoons. Here are some deterrents to consider:

Motion-Activated Sprinklers

These devices detect movement and spray water in the direction of the intruder. The sudden noise and water can startle raccoons, discouraging them from entering your garden. Place these sprinklers around the perimeter of your garden or near specific areas you want to protect. (What to Do About Raccoons, n.d.)

Ultrasonic Devices

Ultrasonic deterrents emit high-frequency sounds that are uncomfortable for raccoons but are not detectable by humans. Position these devices around your garden to create an unwelcoming environment for raccoons. It’s important to move these devices occasionally to prevent raccoons from becoming accustomed to them.


Raccoons are nocturnal and prefer to forage in the dark. Installing motion-activated lights around your garden can deter them by making the area too bright and exposed. Solar-powered lights are a cost-effective and environmentally friendly option.

Using deterrents requires regular maintenance and occasional repositioning to remain effective. Additionally, combining several types of deterrents can increase your garden’s defense by addressing different aspects of raccoon behavior. (What to Do About Raccoons, n.d.)

Fastest way to get rid of raccoons

How do I Keep Raccoons out of my Garden Naturally?

Natural repellents offer a non-toxic, environmentally friendly way to deter raccoons from your garden. These methods rely on substances or plants that raccoons find unpleasant. Here are some natural repellents to consider:

Homemade Sprays

Mixtures of water with ingredients like hot pepper, garlic, or vinegar can create an effective spray to deter raccoons. Spray this mixture around the perimeter of your garden and on plants vulnerable to raccoon damage. Reapply after rain or watering to ensure continued effectiveness. (“What Do Raccoons Hate the Most?,” 2021)

Planting Deterrents

Certain plants act as natural raccoon repellents. Marigolds, for instance, have a strong scent that raccoons find unattractive. Planting a border of marigolds around your garden can help keep raccoons at bay. Similarly, daffodils are toxic to raccoons and can deter them from digging in the area they’re planted.

Ammonia Soaked Rags

Raccoons dislike the strong smell of ammonia. Placing rags soaked in ammonia around your garden, especially near entry points, can help deter raccoons. (Urban Wildlife | Raccoons, n.d.) Ensure to replace the rags regularly to maintain their effectiveness.

Using natural repellents is a safe and humane way to protect your garden from raccoons. However, these methods may require more frequent application and monitoring to remain effective over time. Always consider the impact on your garden and local wildlife when choosing repellents.

How can I prevent raccoons from entering my garden

Maintenance and Monitoring Raccoons

Regular maintenance and vigilant monitoring play crucial roles in keeping raccoons out of your garden. Consistently applying the strategies outlined earlier can significantly reduce raccoon intrusions. Here’s how to maintain your garden’s defenses:

Regular Inspections

Frequently inspect your garden for signs of raccoon activity, such as overturned soil, damaged plants, or footprints. Early detection of raccoon presence allows for timely intervention, preventing more significant damage.


Maintain a clean garden environment. Remove potential raccoon attractants like leftover fruits, vegetables, and pet food. Keep compost bins securely closed and manage garbage responsibly to reduce food sources that might attract raccoons.

Adjust Strategies as Needed

Raccoons are adaptable creatures. If you notice that certain deterrents or barriers are no longer effective, it may be time to try new strategies or reinforce existing ones. For instance, rotating deterrents or enhancing physical barriers can help manage raccoon behavior.

Community Coordination

Coordinating with neighbors can enhance raccoon control efforts. Shared strategies like securing communal trash areas and discussing effective deterrents can create a larger, less attractive zone for raccoons, benefiting the entire community.

Effective raccoon management is an ongoing process. By staying vigilant and adaptable, you can protect your garden from raccoon damage and ensure your gardening efforts flourish.

How to deter raccoons

Legal Considerations and Raccoons

Before implementing certain strategies to deter raccoons, it’s important to be aware of local wildlife laws and regulations. These laws can vary significantly from one location to another, affecting how you can legally manage raccoon intrusions in your garden. Here are some key points to consider:

Check Local Wildlife Protection Laws

Many areas have specific regulations regarding the treatment of wildlife, including raccoons. This can include restrictions on trapping, relocating, or using certain types of deterrents. It’s essential to understand these laws to ensure your raccoon management methods are legal.

Humane Trapping

If trapping is considered necessary and is legal in your area, it’s crucial to use humane traps and follow local guidelines for trap placement and raccoon relocation. In some cases, you may be required to release the raccoon within a certain distance from where it was captured or to contact wildlife authorities for relocation assistance.

Professional Assistance

For persistent raccoon problems or when dealing with aggressive animals, seeking professional wildlife control services may be the safest option. Professionals are knowledgeable about humane trapping techniques and are familiar with local wildlife laws, ensuring that the removal process is legal and ethical.

Understanding and adhering to legal considerations not only protects the raccoons but also ensures that your actions are in compliance with local regulations, helping avoid potential fines or legal issues. Always prioritize humane and legal methods when addressing raccoon intrusions in your garden.

Final Thoughts

Effectively keeping raccoons out of your garden requires a multifaceted approach. By understanding raccoon behavior, securing food sources, employing physical barriers and deterrents, using natural repellents, maintaining and monitoring your garden, and considering legal aspects, you can create a comprehensive strategy to protect your outdoor space. Each method plays a critical role in deterring raccoons, and when combined, these strategies enhance your garden’s defense against these clever and adaptable creatures.

Raccoons are motivated by the easy access to food and shelter your garden might provide. However, with consistent effort and the right combination of deterrents, you can discourage them from invading your space. Remember to regularly assess the effectiveness of your strategies, making adjustments as needed, and stay informed about local wildlife regulations to ensure your methods are both effective and legal.

Protecting your garden from raccoons not only preserves the fruits of your labor but also contributes to a harmonious coexistence with local wildlife. With diligence and the application of these strategies, you can enjoy a raccoon-free garden and the bounty it produces.


Keeping Raccoons Out of Your Trash – Town of Huntington, Long Island, New York. (n.d.).

Problems with Raccoons. (n.d.). – Connecticut’s Official State Website.

Raccoons – WildlifeNYC. (n.d.).

Urban Wildlife | Raccoons. (n.d.).

What do raccoons hate the most? (2021, February 1). Accurate Pest Control.

What to do about raccoons. (n.d.). The Humane Society of the United States.

Disclaimer: Information in this article without an APA citation comes from our personal knowledge and collective experience. It reflects years of practice and informal discussions, not directly cited from scientific sources. For more information, read our editorial policy.


Steve Mille

Steve Mille

I'm Steve Mille. Before I retired, I spent my days among trees and plants as a forester. My passion didn't end there. For 40 years, I've volunteered at botanical gardens across the country. I've learned about different climates and the plants that flourish in them. I often visit high schools to teach and talk about gardening. Sharing this passion is something I love. I also contribute to, where I get to reach even more people.


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