This is how to keep cats out of your lawn – there may be some surprises!

From orange peel to coffee grounds, these top tips will help deter four-legged trespassers

How to keep cats out of your lawn
(Image credit: Future/Colin Poole)

We’re a nation of pet lovers, but how to keep cats out of your lawn is a common problem. Even if you’re ‘team cat’ in the age-old feline vs canine debate, the pungent ‘gifts’ these four-legged explorers leave in the garden can often be rather unwelcome, especially if you're trying to follow our spring lawn care tips to get your turf looking its best after winter.

If you’ve ever owned a cat, you will know that these independent creatures are hard to control and difficult to trace to their owners. However, Gardening Express has curated these top tips to keep nuisance cats off your lawn safely and humanely. Some may even surprise you – a cup of Kenco, anyone?

No matter unwanted feline trespassers may be, it’s vital to note that cats are protected by law under the Animal Welfare Act 2006. Before using any homemade or shop-bought deterrent to keep cats out of your lawn, it’s important that it will not injure or harm any animal.

1. Lay a rough surface

How to keep cats out of your lawn

(Image credit: Future)

Cats are creatures of comfort and have sensitive paw pads that don’t like rough surfaces. While it’s important not to hurt their feet, charity Cats Protection recommends covering areas of your garden with stone chippings, pebbles or small rocks. The rough materials will help prevent cats soiling that area. You can also help protect flowerbeds with lion dung-infused pellets, chicken manure pellets or crushed eggshells.

2. Pick pungent scents

How to keep cats out of your lawn Judith Everitt

(Image credit: Future/Judith Everitt)

Similarly to dogs, cats also have a very good sense of smell. Persuade them to head elsewhere by choosing smelly plants. Lavender may send us into a peaceful sleep, but it will often have cats heading in the opposite direction. Coleus canina is also a good choice. You can find out how to plant a lavender hedge in our guide. 

Alternatively, spreading coffee granules or citrus peel around problem areas may also repel sensitive cat noses. Orange, lemon, lime or grapefruit could be successful, so save up your leftovers from that G&T or pitcher of Pimms!

3. Clean up your yard

You may not realise, but you could be inadvertently enticing cats into your garden. Cats love to hunt, so declutter any hiding places for mice and tidy away any potential toys. Remember to ensure your bins are secure to avoid scavenging for scraps. Also, dispose of existing cat poo used to mark their territory.

4. Make some noise

If curious felines still wander onto your patch and cause problems with your latest lawn ideas, you can shoo them away by shouting or clapping. You could also try filling a tin with stones that will rattle when disturbed or hang a sensitive bell on the garden fence to spook unwanted visitors. Of course, your neighbours may not thank you for the noise, but cats may think twice about returning.

5. Create a specific cat-zone

How to keep cats out of your lawn

(Image credit: Future)

If you can’t stop trespassers entirely, try to contain them to a single part of the garden. Design a small area specifically for cats; pick plants like catnip and insert a sandbox to act as a litter tray, which should contain the problem of cat poo.

Cats Protection also recommend erecting high, close-boarded garden fence ideas next to hedges to make it tricky for cats to enter your garden. Cultivating shrubs close together will also stop them digging up beds. 

How to keep cats out of your lawn Colin Poole

(Image credit: Future/Colin Poole)

It’s also important to remember that if you start feeding cats who wander into your space, they will return! After all, would you turn down a free meal? So if you don’t want regular callers, don’t begin feeding strays or greedy neighbours.

A spokesperson for Gardening Express says, 'The UK is a nation of animal-lovers, but for many Brits that affection doesn’t extend to cats who insist on using their gardens as toilets.' 

These tips should answer how to keep cats out of your lawn so both gardener and feline can re-build soiled bridges! Your spring lawn decoration ideas will definitely thank you for it. 

Stephanie Durrant

Stephanie Durrant is the Deputy Editor of Style at Home magazine. She's is an experienced journalist with more than 12 years under her belt working across the UK’s leading home magazines. She enjoys gardening and enthusiastically stroll around garden centers. She usually sticks to potted alpine varieties in her own small garden, such as sea thrift and succulents that can deal with some neglect! However, one day she dreams of having a large outdoor space with colorful wild flowers, billowing cherry blossoms and sweet-scented honeysuckle and jasmine filling the air.