How to Fence off Garden Pests


Garden pests, such as squirrels, raccoons and rabbits, dig up bulbs, eat vegetables and simply are a nuisance in your home garden. Properly constructing a fence should keep most garden pests out. However, if your garden is located near a house, overhead wire or another structure, fencing off the garden will not keep climbing pests like squirrels out and you’ll have to use other control methods such as repellents to help.

Step 1

Purchase a wire fencing material that has holes between 1/2 inch to 1 inch in size to keep even the smallest pests out. Chicken wire often works well. It should be long enough to go around the entire perimeter of your garden, plus an extra 2 to 3 feet. The fence should also be at least 36 inches in height so it can be installed 6 inches deep and 30 inches high.

Step 2

Insert wood or fiberglass posts on the corners of your garden. Then add more posts so there is a post at least every 8 to 10 feet. Center the posts as much as possible. For example, for a 12-foot side, insert a post in the middle at 6 feet between the two corner posts. The posts should be about 1/2 inch to 1 inch in diameter and just as high as your fence. Use a sledge hammer or post pounder to pound them about 6 inches deep into the ground.

Step 3

Dig a 6-inch deep, ½-inch wide trench along the perimeter of the garden, directly outside the posts. Then, install the fencing wire into the trench at the first corner post and tie them together with twine or another strong rope at the top, middle and bottom of the post. Slightly moist soil may be easier to work with than dry soil.

Step 4

Extend the fencing wire to the second corner post so that it runs along the bottom of the 6-inch trench and is 30 inches high above ground. Stretch it as much as possible and tie it to the second corner. Continue around your garden, tying the fence to the corner posts. The last section will “double” over the first side for about 2 or 3 feet, making it hard for garden pests to get in between the two unattached sides of fence. Then, go back after it is nice and tight and tie the fencing wire to the middle posts. Also, tie the fencing that “doubles” over to the first side every 6 inches from the top of the fence to the bottom. You may need a second person to help you with this step to make the fencing as tight as possible.

Step 5

Cut another 6-inch-wide section of fence (or hardware cloth) that is same length as one side of the fence plus an extra 6 inches. Lay it horizontally (flat) along the outside perimeter of the fence about ¼ to ½ inch beneath the top soil. Tie it to the fence every 5 to 6 feet. Each side should extend 6 inches past the ends to accommodate the corners. Repeat for each side of your fence. Fill in the trench from Step 3 and cover the horizontal fencing with topsoil. This step will keep the garden pests from digging under your fence.

Tips and Warnings

  • This kind of fence will not keep out larger animals like deer which requires at least a 6- to 8-foot fence or deer netting to keep them out.

Things You'll Need

  • Wire fencing
  • Tin snips
  • Fence posts
  • Shovel
  • Twine
  • Hammer or post pounder


  • Colorado State University Extension: Animal Pests in the Garden
  • Pennsylvania State University: Tree Squirrels
  • Oregon State University: Step-by-Step Instructions for Installing an Exclosure
Keywords: fence garden, control garden pests, animal garden pests

About this Author

Melissa Lewis has been a professional writer since 2005. Her work has appeared in various online publications. A former elementary classroom teacher and media specialist, Lewis is also a script writer, with a movie script, "Homecoming," she co-wrote currently in production. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in psychology.