keep raccoons out of yard

How to Keep Raccoons Out of Your Yard and Away From Your House

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Want to know how to keep raccoons out of the garden? These tips should help.

There is something special about having wildlife come around the garden and enjoy the outdoor spaces around your home. Visiting wildlife is often a sign that your property is safe and valuable to the local wildlife. However, we do not feel that way when it comes to raccoons. 

Sure, some might say that raccoons are cute – and maybe some of them are. However, they are also ungrateful animals that can dig holes in your lawn, rummage around in your trash, and eat the plants in the garden. In general, their propensity to wreak havoc in the garden outweighs their slightly endearing qualities. 

If you suspect that raccoons are coming around the home, eating your plants, and using the yard as their bathroom, then keep on reading. Below you find some tried and true methods for keeping the little buggers from coming back.   

What Attracts Raccoons to the Garden?

Raccoons are opportunistic animals. They will come into your garden whenever there is an opportunity for something they need. For the most part, raccoons are attracted into your garden by the following five items. 

  • Fruits & veggies- certain fruits and veggies that we enjoy growing are also enjoyed by raccoons, such as apples, peaches, corn, peas, and potatoes.
  • Shelter- raccoons are always on the lookout for haven, especially pregnant females who are about to have their nursery of baby raccoons.
  • Alluring Aromas- some backyard smells are irresistible to raccoons, particularly pet food and BBQ.
  • Water- if water is hard to come by in the wild, raccoons may try to use your pool or koi pond for hydration and bathing.
  • Trash- one man’s trash is another raccoon’s treasure. The food scraps we leave behind in the garbage are a large incentive for hungry raccoons. 

How Do You Stop Raccoons From Getting Into Your Garden?

If raccoons are coming into your yard and wreaking havoc in your garden, it’s time for an intervention. Like with other backyard pests, the most effective strategy for keeping raccoons out of the garden is one that employs multiple tactics at once. 

When it comes to designing a raccoon prevention plan, you ought to consider the following best way to keep raccoons away:

  • Creating odor barriers with scents that raccoons dislike
  • Installing a physical fence that bars entrance to raccoons
  • Removing opportunities for shelter, safe passage, and food
  • Scaring raccoons with certain techniques and tools
  • Hiring a professional to trap and release the raccoons

10 Tips to Keep Raccoons Away from Your House

Over the years, we’ve had to deal with various pests getting into the garden, including raccoons. So we’ve compiled this list of useful tips on how to scare raccoons away from your house and out of the backyard at night to help inform your prevention strategy.  

Figuring out which strategy works best may take some time – and often, a combination of multiple tips will be the most effective. 

1. Spray Raccoon Repellent

Effective raccoon repellents rely on intense flavors and aromas to fend off raccoons. There are products you can purchase at your local garden center or hardware store. However, there are also plenty of quick and easy recipes for repellents you can make from home.

When it comes to what repels raccoons, hot chili peppers, citrus essential oils, ammonia, apple cider vinegar, coffee grounds, cinnamon, black pepper, and cayenne pepper are all examples of effective raccoon repellent ingredients. Simply mix them into a solution with water and spray the areas that you want raccoons to avoid. Remember, always reapply your repellent after rainfall and watering. 

When using repellents to deter raccoons, we recommend switching up the mixture that you utilize. Over time, it’s possible for raccoons to become accustomed to the repellent you are using, but not if you keep them guessing with a variety of repellents. 

2. Install Physical Barriers

Sometimes raccoons don’t get the message. So it may be necessary to install a physical barrier to bar them access. A sturdy fence around the garden is one of the most effective measures you can take. Plus, the raccoon proof fence will help keep out other critters as well. 

A 2-wire raccoon electric fence is perhaps the most effective method for keeping these animals out of the garden

However, if you cannot install an entire fence, perhaps consider creating a barrier around the specific problem areas or the most sensitive plants. When it comes to saving money on fencing, we recommend building your own. It’s possible to use salvaged and recycled materials to create a barrier that is both functional and stylish. 

3. Board Up Opportunities for Shelter

Raccoons will jump at the opportunity to use your property as shelter if you let them. Raccoons love to use the crawl spaces under homes, backyard shed, porches and patios as their safe haven. This is especially true for pregnant female raccoons preparing to have their nursery. 

So if you know your property has a few weak points that may be used for shelter, we recommend quickly closing off the entrance to the area. Oftentimes, chicken wire is a simple and affordable solution for boarding up spaces that may be used for shelter. 

4. Keep the Garden Tidy

Raccoons will sometimes visit your garden in search of many of the same fruits and veggies that you enjoy as a gardener. This is especially true for low-hanging fruits and vegetables, as well as fallen produce.   

You can keep raccoons at bay by making sure to harvest on time. You don’t want to leave the edible produce on the vine for too long. If you’re noticing fallen produce, we recommend cleaning it up and removing it from the garden as soon as possible. 

If you cook outside, we also recommend keeping that space clean. Aromas from your BBQ may also be attracting raccoons into the yard. Never leave food scraps outside, and always bring your cooking utensils into the house afterward. 

5. Secure the Trash Cans 

Raccoons love to pillage easily accessible trash cans. The food scraps we throw away can be a valuable food source for them. Securing your trash cans can be a quick and easy fix to reducing the presence of raccoons around your home and garden.

You can add extra security to non-locking trash can lids with bungee cords or cinder blocks. You can use heavy-duty trash bags to prevent tearing. We also recommend double-bagging items that are especially odorous, like meat and fish. 

6. Install Motion-Activated Deterrents 

Raccoons do the majority of their rummaging around after dark. That is why it can be difficult to scare them off when they come around. However, that’s not the case with motion-activated deterrents like lights and sprinklers. 

We recommend installing motion-activated lights around the area where you store your trash cans. The sudden surge of light will scare them away and warn you of their presence. On the other hand, motion-activated sprinklers are good for the garden. The sound and burst of water will scare off the raccoons every time. 

7. Clean Up the Pet Food

Raccoons may be visiting your home because of the tantalizing aromas of pet food. This is especially the case for families that keep and feed their pets outside. If you feed your pets outside, make sure to bring the food bowls in overnight. Never leave any leftover food outside. 

8. Try UltraSonic Barriers

Besides odor barriers and physical barriers, you may also consider using ultrasonic deterrents. Ultrasonic deterrents are devices that are triggered by motion. When triggered, they emit an ultrasonic sound that is inaudible to humans but that is unpleasant for raccoons. The noise will scare off raccoons and incentivize them not to come back in the future. 

9. Secure the Bird Feeders

Believe it or not, raccoons are sometimes attracted to bird feed. If you keep bird feeders around your garden, you may be inadvertently attracting raccoons as well as wild birds. 

If it’s not too much trouble, one strategy is to bring the bird feeders indoors overnight. However, you can also secure your bird feeders from raccoons by reconsidering where they are currently installed. If possible, we recommend installing your bird feeders in a location where only flying animals can access them. 

10. Hire a Professional

If all else fails, and if the raccoon problem around your home is particularly bad, there may come a time when you need to enlist the help of a professional. This is especially the case if you need to trap the raccoons. 

We recommend never attempting to trap a wild animal by yourself. There may be specific laws or local ordinances related to trapping wild animals, so it’s important to consult a professional.   

Professionals in pest control are experts in the safe and humane trapping of wild animals like raccoons. Plus, they will know about the local ordinances in regards to how the animal will need to be released back into the wild. 

Tips to Prevent Raccoons from Eating Your Garden

After all the work you have invested in your garden, the last thing you want is for a band of rascal raccoons to come and destroy the place. You’ve worked too hard for that to become the outcome of your passion project. 

So to prevent raccoons from destroying your garden, remember to focus on the following important points:

  • Maintain a tidy yard, free from trash and food scraps
  • Install barriers around the most prized areas of the yard
  • Remove any opportunity for shelter in and around your property
  • Stay on top of raccoon deterrent application, and remember to reapply after rainfall and watering. 

If you can remember these four crucial elements, your raccoon prevention plan will prove to be effective and sustainable in the long run.

FAQ

What scent will keep raccoons away?

There are many scents that will keep raccoons away. Hot chili peppers, garlic, peppermint, onion, garlic, and Epsom salts are all examples of aromas that raccoons dislike and try to avoid. You can easily incorporate these scents into homemade repellents that are cheap and easy to make. 

What is a natural deterrent for raccoons?

Store-bought raccoon repellents all consist of natural and humane ingredients. However, you can also make homemade repellent with all-natural ingredients. Many of the most effective raccoon repellents are ingredients you already have in your kitchen cupboard, like cayenne and black pepper, cinnamon, and apple cider vinegar.

How do you keep raccoons out of your yard at night?

We tend to think that the most effective way to keep raccoons out of your yard at night is with motion-activated lights. The sudden change in lighting scares even the bravest raccoon away. Pairing repellents with the lights is an even better combination. 

Do coffee grounds keep raccoons away?

Yes, spent coffee grounds tend to be an effective raccoon repellent. The bitter aroma of coffee grounds can send raccoons packing. So after making coffee, we recommend saving the grounds and sprinkling them into the areas you want raccoons to avoid. Plus, the grounds will biodegrade into and enrich the soil.

Will vinegar keep raccoons away?

Yes, most types of vinegar will keep raccoons away, particularly apple cider vinegar. 

Rags soaked in vinegar are an effective raccoon repellent. However, raccoons dislike the intense aroma of vinegar and will turn in the other direction if the vinegar is positioned in strategic locations. 

How to scare away raccoons at night?

Raccoons are nocturnal animals. They do most of their rummaging around at night under the cover of darkness. Motion-activated lights and sprinklers are effective at keeping raccoons away at night. 

And if you know raccoons are visiting your trash cans at night, we recommend securing your trash cans to teach the raccoons that your trash is no longer accessible. 

How to keep raccoons out of garden corn?

Most of the tips listed earlier in this article will help keep raccoons out of garden corn. However, another technique you can try is the “Three Sisters” planting method that Native Americans relied on heavily. It involves planting beans and squash with your corn to help keep pests and diseases away. The most important variable here is the squash – planting squash around your corn will deter raccoons because they don’t like walking on the spiny vines.

Will a porch light keep raccoons away?

A porch light may or may not keep raccoons away, especially if it’s constantly turned on at night. The reason is that raccoons are brave. If they see or smell something that attracts them, they’ll go for it regardless of a porch light. Motion-activated porch lights tend to be more effective because the sudden change in lighting can startle and scare the raccoons away.

Final words

We have highlighted the ways to deter raccoons from gardens such as using an electric fence for raccoon control as well as homemade repellents. You can also learn how to get rid of raccoons if you find that necessary.

Up next: How to deter squirrels from garden

*image by Jaimie_Tuchman/depositphotos

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