Most of us love the idea of looking out onto a beautiful garden but the problem comes when your attractive outdoor space is also a magnet for insects and wildlife.
Unwelcome visitors can soon wreak havoc with pests tearing up your lawn and eating your plants, which is why you want to try and create a garden that loses none of its engaging features but manages to be as pest resistant as possible.
Here is a look at how to set about pest-proofing your garden, including steps for protecting your vegetable garden, why some insects can be your friend, and some tips on how to keep larger pests out of your space.
When you don’t want to share your vegetables
Of course, you want to enjoy the fruits of your labor and share with friends and family when you get a good crop, but your generosity doesn’t extend to some insect dining companions.
The first point to make is that it is highly unlikely that you will manage to make your vegetable and flower gardens completely immune to pests, but you can take steps to drastically reduce their impact.
Pesticides are one solution to the problem but many gardeners these days are more inclined to look at a natural alternative and take an organic approach to pest control.
If you have a young family and pets running around the garden it would not be a good idea to use pesticides extensively anyway from a safety perspective. You don’t have the same concerns and issues when you try to encourage beneficial predatory insects to keep the pest insects away and provide a meal rather than enjoying one with your crops.
Encouraging the right sort of insects
The sort of beneficial insects you should be encouraging into your garden space include lacewings, ladybugs, and even praying mantis.
To do this you will need to make some space for plants like lavender, marigold, coneflower, nasturtium, and cosmos. This is not an extensive list of suitable plants by any means, but it is a good starting point in your quest to encourage the right insect clientele so that they can feed on the bugs that are intent on destroying your plants.
Don’t be tempted to do a bit of a mix and match with some organic planting and pesticides too, as there is a fair chance these broad-spectrum pesticides will also kill off the beneficial insects along with the pests you are targeting.
Keeping bigger pests away
Insects are a threat to your garden but so too are some larger pests that can cause significant damage to your lawn and plants if you don’t take steps to keep them out and deter them.
The best course of action, to begin with, is to try and keep large pests like deer out of your garden in the first place. The best way to do this would be to install fencing that is at least seven feet high and angled outward at the top.
Burrowing animals are not so easy to keep out with a fence as they can obviously dig underneath to find a way in. A good way of keeping pests like moles, voles, and rabbits away from your property would be to dig a trench that is about 8 inches deep, then insert some wire mesh into the ground.
If they have already infiltrated your garden, you might want to consider rodent smoke bombs as a way of dealing with the problem, then relying on the trench and fencing to deter future visitors.
Don’t forget herbs
Going back to trying to repel insects, it is well worth mentioning that planting herbs can be a good ploy.
Not only do you get access to fresh herbs ready for use in the kitchen whenever you want, you also get the chance to deter some unpleasant insects.
If you want to repel mosquitoes, mint, and lemongrass are two herbs that are particularly effective. Mosquitoes hate mint and the natural ingredient found in lemongrass, citronella, is always repulsive to mosquitoes, ensuring they stay away whenever they catch that scent.
Other tasty herbs that will be regularly used for recipes but also deter insects include basil, rosemary, and lemon thyme.
Another good way of discouraging mosquitoes and other insects from taking up residence in your garden would be to ensure that you avoid any standing water around the perimeter of your home.
Mosquitoes breed in standing water, so don’t give them any encouragement to multiply in number.
You are not likely to achieve a completely pest-proof garden but you can certainly take positive steps to minimize the damage.