Experts reveal how to stop foxes coming into your garden for good

No matter how cute, foxes are unwanted pests – wildlife experts share how to humanely keep foxes out of your garden

garden with wooden decking with raised step with a red fox cub curled up to support exper advice on how to stop foxes coming in your garden
(Image credit: Getty Images | James Warwick)

Wondering how to keep foxes from coming into your garden? You're not alone, because while foxes can be cute, they can also be an absolute nuisance when they take up residence in your backyard. 

Fear not because we've spoken to wildlife experts who assure w&h that there are harmless steps to stop foxes from coming into your garden for good. 

These preventative steps are recommended to keep foxes away without causing them harm, from using lights to taking action to cut off unsuspecting food sources.

Whether you are fed up with foxes raiding the bins and making a mess or you have a dog, like me, you might be keen to keep foxes out of your garden to save the stress of barking and commotion potentially waking the neighbours late at night – whatever the reason, try these simple steps to keep deter foxes.

How to stop foxes coming into your garden 

Foxes are a common household problem, and although harmless in the main to humans they can be quite disruptive and therefore unwelcome for most. We have consulted with wildlife experts to find out the most effective ways to keep foxes out of our gardens.

1. Clear away food supplies

DIY bird feeder made using a cup and saucer hanging in a garden tree

(Image credit: Future)

Gardens can be an unsuspecting yet constant source of delicious food that attracts foxes, often without homeowners even being aware.

“Like most animals, foxes are usually attracted to areas that offer a steady supply of food, so if you have fallen fruit from a shrub or nuts and seeds from a bird feeder, you may find you have foxes visiting when darkness falls," says Eric Michels, head of products for bird feeder experts Vivara and CJ Wildlife.

“The best way to make your garden less appealing is to remove these food sources, so ensure bird feeders are kept elevated well out of reach of foxes, and clear up any seed spillages or fallen fruit immediately."

2. Keep vegetable plots covered

If you're following the popular garden trend of growing your own produce it is more than worthwhile to protect your crop and ensure foxes know that it is not a constant source of food that they can visit time and time again. 

Eric advises: "If you grow your own fruit and vegetables, make sure crops are well protected with fruit cages."

3. Avoid leaving rubbish exposed

Foxes are wild animals who scavenge for food sources, so a bag of food scraps and leftovers is like a wrapped gift for a hungry fox. Given that they can tear through a black bin bag in seconds it is never a good idea to leave any rubbish within easy access – particularly if you've just organised the fridge and have an abundance of fresh scraps to dispose of.

If you need to leave your rubbish outside ensure they are secured in sealed bins or a lockup container that prevents the temptation of an easy meal. 

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4. Keep on top of garden maintenance

Garden with lawn and borders with a tree with lanterns hanging

(Image credit: Future)

“Shelter is also a key factor," says Eric. Apply the same principles of decluttering your home by making sure there are no tempting areas of clutter for foxes to seek refuge. 

While you're outside frequently mowing the lawn or cleaning the patio be mindful to keep an eye on any overgrown areas that could appeal to a fox looking for shelter 

"Gardens with mature trees or shrubs where they can hide and move around without being noticed will also make it more appealing," explains Eric. "The best way to prevent foxes from lurking in the bushes is to check the perimeter of your fence and ensure it is secure, as this should stop them from entering in the first place."

5. Uses spices to humanely deter foxes

“If you’re still seeing evidence of unwanted visitors at night, then you can humanely deter foxes by sprinkling certain spices around the perimeter of your outdoor living space," suggests Eric. 

"Spices such as cayenne pepper, peppermint and garlic, as the smell will put them off. You can also infuse the spices in boiling water, and then spritz around the garden as an additional repellent."

6. Shine a light to scare them off

Getty Images | Nick Beer

(Image credit: Getty Images)

The idea of scaring foxes feels somehow cruel but it's merely a way to show them they are not welcome on your property – it does no real harm as such. Unlike when trying to get rid of mosquitoes, bright lights are actually ideal for keeping foxes out of your garden.

“Foxes are very timid animals, so installing automatic lights will scare foxes away without causing any harm," says Eric. 

"If you spot one, simply making a loud noise will soon send them running.” Just be mindful of the time of day, the last thing you want is to disturb your neighbours in an attempt to deter foxes. 

7. Install an ultrasonic pest repellant

An ultrasound pest repellent is a special design device that emits a loud sound undetectable to the human ear but highly sensitive for certain animals, including foxes. 

"There are many different types of ultrasound pest repellents. The best ones feature infrared sensors which detect motion and will activate when something enters the garden," explains Robert Collins, a pest control expert at MyJobQuote.

"Modern versions of this device also detect the animal’s body heat signature to prevent the battery from running out due to activating every time there is movement in the garden from other things such as insects or blowing leaves."

“If you do want to use fox repellents, they are available with differing effectiveness to deter them from your garden," says Sophie Thorogood, from the technical team at Pest Stop. 

"Outdoor repellents are also a way to prevent foxes from entering the garden without causing harm. The Pest-Stop Ultrasonic All Pest Repeller is an ideal, non-chemical solution that emits frequencies through powerful speakers to repel unwanted animals.”

8. Secure the pond

fox near a garden pond to show how to keep foxes from coming in your garden by covering ponds

(Image credit: Getty Images | Marc Bouyer)

Deter them from feeding or drinking from ponds by covering them. "If you have a pond in your garden, it’s important to make sure it is covered with pond netting or some other material that stops foxes from being able to access it," says Robert.

"This will help to protect any of your pond wildlife from the foxes. It’s important to ensure you choose a netting with a mesh size that is small enough to prevent foxes from being able to reach through the net."

Stressing an important sustainable garden issue Robert adds: "However, it also needs to still allow other wildlife to access the water in the pond."

What smells will keep foxes away?

Foxes are often deterred by strong odours. "Some of the most effective smells that can keep foxes away include Garlic and Chilli," explains Oliver Hill, founder of GardenList. It's the capsaicin compound found in chilli that works in particular, this is the element that gives the chilli a burning sensation – thought to be why it works on foxes. "Spraying a mixture of garlic, chilli pepper, and water around the perimeter of the garden can deter foxes."

"Also commercial fox repellents. These products contain ingredients that mimic the scent of predator animals, repelling foxes."

What do foxes hate the most?

Generally speaking, foxes dislike bright lights and loud noises, basically anything that could indicate human presence that is there to frighten them away.

"Foxes dislike loud noises," Oliver reveals. "Playing a radio or using motion-activated alarms can frighten foxes away. They also don't like bright lights. Sudden flashes of light or a continuously well-lit garden can make foxes feel exposed and deter them from entering."

String and unfamiliar scents are also unwelcome to foxes when they enter your garden. Oliver adds: "As mentioned earlier, scents that are unusual or associated with predators can be effective in keeping foxes out.

What scares foxes away?

Aside from loud noises and bright lights, there are several other harmless methods to scare foxes away.

"Motion-activated water sprinklers can startle foxes, causing them to flee,' suggest Oliver.  "Visual deterrents is another. Objects that move, like wind chimes or flags, can be enough to unsettle foxes. Some people even use model owls or other predator birds."

Even just your presence can be enough to send the message that they are unwelcome. in your garden. "Regularly spending time in the garden, especially at dawn and dusk when foxes are more active, can make the area less appealing to them," suggested Oliver.

"Ultrasonic devices are also available for sale that emit high-pitch sounds only animals can hear," says Jordan Foster, a pest control expert at Fantastic Pest Control. You can keep foxes away in your garden by leaving a light on. Darkness is comfortable for foxes, and they avoid well-lit areas.

Does white vinegar deter foxes?

Aside from cleaning with vinegar, there are suggestions that the smell can deter foxes, but the experts are somewhat wary of its effectiveness. 

"White vinegar can be used as a deterrent, but its effectiveness is variable," says Oliver. "Some foxes may be deterred by the strong smell, while others may not be affected." If you choose to use vinegar just be mindful that it can damage grass and the soil of your best plants due to acidity levels so avoid spraying when you can.

"White vinegar can be placed around the garden in small bowls," says Jordan. "These should be deterred from entering the property by the scent. However, foxes are intelligent and adaptable animals, so white vinegar will only have a temporary effect in deterring them. Eventually, they may become accustomed to the smell, especially if there is no immediate threat to them. White vinegar can be an effective deterrent, but it is best used in combination with other tactics to make your property less appealing to foxes."

Overall we'd say it's best to avoid using vinegar to deter foxes because there are better natural methods to try first.

Tamara Kelly
Lifestyle Editor

Tamara is a highly experienced homes and interiors journalist, with a career spanning 22 years. Now the Lifestyle Editor of, she has spent the last 17 years working with the style teams at Country Homes & Interiors and Ideal Home, and it’s with these award-winning interiors teams that she gained a wealth of knowledge and honed her skills and passion for styling and writing about every aspect of lifestyle and interiors.

A true homes and interiors expert, Tamara has served as an ambassador for leading interior brands on multiple occasions, including appearing on Matalan’s The Show and presenting at top interior trend forecasting events such as the Autumn Fair and Spring Fair.