Originally Published on December 15, 2022. Last Updated on October 9, 2023.
If you go to great lengths to keep your yard, flower beds, and outdoor furniture in good shape, you know how irritating it can be when squirrels make a mess of things. Sure, they’re cute, but squirrels certainly don’t practice social niceties or pay mind to our personal property. So is it possible to co-exist with these adorable anarchists while still keeping them out of your yard? Yes, it is.
If you want to know how to stop squirrels from destroying patio furniture and other outdoor items, we can help. We’ll also tell you why they do it in the first place and share additional rodent-related information.
Why Do Squirrels Destroy Things?
Don’t let their bushy tails and sweet faces lull you into a false sense of security—squirrels can cause quite a bit of property damage. They’ll gnaw on electric wiring, build nests in chimneys, and even chew through exterior siding, drywall, and wooden furniture.
This can lead to extensive and expensive repairs that your home insurance policy probably won’t cover. Insurance companies view damages caused by squirrels and other small animals as “preventable situations” and generally don’t offer reimbursement in these cases.
While frustrating, it’s important to remember that squirrels do what they do out of necessity. They usually find their food and nest materials out in nature, but they resort to taking things from our yards when resources become scarce. If you want to learn how to get rid of squirrels easily and humanely, we’ve compiled several methods to help you mitigate the issue.
1. Motion-Sensor Sprinklers
Install a few motion-sensor sprinklers in your backyard to startle squirrels that get too close to your garden. Not only will this solve a squirrel problem, but it will also water your plants.
2. Squirrel-Proof Bird Feeders
You don’t have to give up bird-watching from the comfort of your patio. Squirrel-proof bird feeders employ various gadgets, such as motorized spinning perch rings, tilting seed trays, built-in squirrel baffles, or collapsing perches, so you can feed your feathered friends while keeping the rodents away.
3. Furniture Covers
Squirrels are known to nibble on patio furniture, but putting everything into storage after get-togethers can be unrealistic for some. Investing in durable furniture covers is another option. This will prevent squirrels from chewing on the frames and cushions and protect them in inclement weather.
4. A Predatory Squirrel Repellent
Squirrels won’t come near an area where they think foxes, coyotes, or other predators are lurking, so use this knowledge to your advantage.
- Spray predator urine around the yard.
- Set up decoys and move them periodically.
- Build an owl box.
5. Spicy Surprise
The next time you fill your bird feeders, mix some cayenne pepper with the seeds. Birds can’t taste capsaicin, so they won’t be affected, but the squirrels will feel the heat and leave the food alone.
6. Scented Squirrel Deterrents
Squirrels have strong noses and are not fans of pungent aromas like coffee, peppermint, apple cider vinegar, and soap. For an easy, low-cost solution, sprinkle leftover grounds in your garden, spritz vinegar on your vegetation, place soap shavings around your patio, and rub peppermint oil on your furniture.
We often recommend this last method to our customers who come to us seeking squirrel prevention advice. The peppermint oil won’t damage or discolor genuine POLYWOOD lumber. Plus, squirrels are averse to its scent and taste.
7. Unpleasant Noises
Squirrels are sensitive to sound, so loud music or a barking dog will help keep them out of your yard. Additionally, the presence of a pet is enough to keep rodents away. This gives another reason to entertain alfresco or take Fido out to play.
8. Maintained Landscaping
Squirrels use trees to access your roof, and they’ll take cover in bushes when predators are near. Trim tree branches, clean up shrubbery, and keep your gardens tidy, so squirrels have no place to hide near your home.
9. Squirrel-Repelling Plants
The following plants pull double duty as aesthetic enhancements and pest repellents:
Place these plants near anything squirrels see as food sources or nest materials like flower beds, vegetable gardens, and outdoor lounge furniture.
10. Physical Barriers
Place chicken wire, rabbit fencing, or hardware cloth over and around your vegetable garden to block any entry points for ground squirrels, mice, and other animals. You can also try growing your plants in a greenhouse.
Does feeding squirrels keep them away?
You may have heard that feeding squirrels will keep them away from bird feeders, vegetable gardens, and other outdoor items. The idea is that if you give them food and nest fodder, they’ll be satisfied and leave your home alone. Unfortunately, this notion doesn’t work in practice. What actually happens is they take what you give and come back for more—and bring their friends. If you don’t have a meal ready for them, they’ll head straight for the bird food and vegetable patch.
Are squirrels dangerous?
Squirrels aren’t aggressive by nature, so they aren’t considered dangerous. If you approach one, it will most likely run away—but don’t go testing fate. On rare occasions, cornered or wounded squirrels have been known to bite and scratch to protect themselves. Not only can this lead to injuries, but it can also lead to the transmission of zoonotic diseases (ailments that can spread from animals to people), which can make you very sick.
Does live trapping squirrels work?
Live trapping and relocating squirrels is not a permanent or humane pest control solution. Taking them out of their natural habitats separates adults from their young and increases their risk of death. Beyond that, if you don’t relocate squirrels far enough away, they’ll find their way back and perpetuate your problems.