Want to keep foxes away from your garden? You need this expert tip

The one thing you need to know about deterring foxes from your backyard

Urban fox (vulpes vulpes) in garden
(Image credit: Ian Wade Photography/ Getty)

If you're trying to deter foxes from your garden, you'll know that it can be a big challenge. Foxes are agile, clever, and can be persistent – if they like it in your backyard, it can be difficult to persuade them not to come. If you seemingly have tried every fancy repellent gadget and they keep coming back, you may need to rethink the way you're approaching the task.

If foxes aren't part of your wildlife garden ideas, you can take steps to keep them away, without doing them any harm. We've asked a pest control expert to give a top tip for keeping foxes out of your garden – here's what they said. 

Top expert tip for keeping foxes out of your garden

Ethan Howell, pets control expert and Co-Owner of Florida Environmental, told us this one essential thing about keeping foxes out of your backyard – you have 'to disrupt the environment' foxes have become accustomed to in your garden, and it's likely this will take multiple steps on your part. Foxes are creatures of habit and dislike change. They leave scent marks and their faeces in areas they like to frequent, which is what helps them remember about places where they like returning.

Fox in a garden

(Image credit: DESPITE STRAIGHT LINES (Paul Williams) / Getty)

Ethan advises doubling your cleaning efforts around the garden. 'Remove any trash that may be drifting around, and keep it tidy in general,' he says. 'Foxes will not return if they have no reason to.' 

You also, unfortunately, will have to pick up the faeces they leave behind. Although it's 'not the most pleasurable task', it is essential in order to stop them coming back. Then, you'll need to 'thoroughly hose clean the area. This is part of their fragrance departing, so use any smell repellents in place of the faeces.' Using a garden hose or one of the best pressure washers is a quick and easy way to do this. 

Finally, try moving things around in order to 'disturb the area because foxes prefer familiarity, so make sure you relocate your gnomes, hose, or whatever you're using.' Moving your garden planters around can be confusing to a fox, so is worth a try too. Ethan's tip is to 'place a large object that they can't move on an area where they usually bed down and find comfortable.' A large plant pot is perfect for this task. 

Urban fox cub in garden

(Image credit: Martin Pickard/ Getty)

It's also worth remembering that foxes like overgrown gardens that aren't frequently maintained. Ethan says that if you 'keep the grass mowed, the hedges trimmed, and everything in order', foxes won't like your garden as much, as they 'prefer shady locations.' 

Disrupting a fox's familiar environment, and being systematic about it, is the surest way to keep foxes away, without having to resort to expensive and unsightly measures like rubber spikes, and without harming these beautiful animals in any way.  

Don't forget, if you've also got problems with squirrels disrupting your plot, our guide on how to get rid of squirrels in the garden has plenty of useful advice too. 

Anna writes about interior design and gardening. Her work has appeared in Homes & Gardens, Livingetc, and many other publications. She is an experienced outdoor and indoor gardener and has a passion for growing roses and Japanese maples in her outside space.