Animals, Megan, Mice & Rats, Organic, Pest Control

Rats are considered vermin by the majority of people, so it’s no wonder they are one of the most hated of garden pests. This is mostly down to their ability to spread potentially disease – and those creepy long tails.

As rats are nocturnal, you are unlikely to see them in the day. If a rat has taken shelter in your garden, however, there are some tell-tale signs you may discover:

  • Runs and tunnels against garden walls and fences
  • Rat droppings
  • Gnawed wood

To find out how to deter rats naturally from your garden, read on.

How to Deter Rats Naturally

Why Go Natural?

The most common way to get rid of rats from gardens is the use of rat poison and traps.

Rat poison is toxic and may pose danger to wildlife, pets and humans. High levels of rat poison have been found in wildlife higher up the food chain, including red kites which are near threatened species. 

Additionally, neither traps or poisons are sustainable ways to deter rats from your garden. Both merely get rid of them. If you want a sustainable and natural way to deter rats, prevention is the best answer to deter rats naturally.

Remove Food Sources

Rats are attracted to gardens because they  contain bountiful food sources. There are a number of steps you can take to ensure your garden doesn’t become, or stops being, so attractive to rats.

Compost bins are a treasure trove to rats. Ensure your compost bin is secure (invest in an above-ground compost bin with a lid) and move it away from possible routes of access, such as fences and walls. You can find out more about pest-proofing your compost bin here.

If you love feeding the birds, there’s a good chance rats may be getting into your bird see and nuts. A squirrel-proof bird feeder will block off rats, and using no-mess seed mix will ensure there is no discarded food left on the floor that may attract rats.

Ensure you collect fallen fruit from your fruit trees soon after it falls, otherwise rats may start to feast on your harvest. Store them somewhere secure where rats will not be able to access them.

How to Deter Rats Naturally

Block Off Potential Shelter

Rats make home under existing structures, such as garden buildings and decking. To prevent this, block entry to areas beneath these – no matter how narrow the space. Before you do this, ensure there are no rats living underneath the structure you are blocking off, as they will die an unpleasant death.

Have a general clear up in your garden, getting rid of any debris and cutting back overgrown vegetation. This will provide rats with less cover. Keep your grass short. You can also take this opportunity to move things around in your garden. Rats are neo-phobic, and this disruption of their territory will confuse them and encourage them to make home elsewhere.

How to Deter Rats Naturally

Natural Deterrents

Essential Oils

Rats have one of the best senses of smell in the animal kingdom, trumping that of dogs.When used in concentration, essential oils can do wonders in deterring rats from your garden due to their potency.

Peppermint oil, citronella and eucalyptus essential oils in their pure form are all smells that rats will dislike. A few drops of these oils in their pure form around the areas you know the rats have been should do the trick. Alternatively, soak cotton wool in essential oil and place in rat traffic areas.

How to Deter Rats Naturally

Hot Pepper

Similarly to essential oils, rats high sense of smells means they can’t stand hot pepper or anything very spicy. To make homemade natural rat repellent spray:

  1. Mix cayenne pepper or chilli flakes with water
  2. Heat the mixture vigorously to infuse the chilli
  3. Allow to cool – the longer you leave it, the more potent the chilli will be
  4. If you used chilli flakes, sieve them out
  5. Add a little castille soap (which is biodegradable)
  6. Pour into a spray bottle
  7. Apply liberally to areas where their is evidence of rats

This spray also deters other pests, such as squirrels and rabbits.

How to Deter Rats Naturally

There are many different ways to deter rats from your garden without resorting to toxic rat poison or inhumane rat traps. If you try any of these methods, let us know in the comments!

Megan at PrimroseMegan works in the Primrose marketing team. When she is not at her desk you will find her half way up a hill in the Chilterns
or enjoying the latest thriller series on Netflix. Megan also enjoys cooking vegetarian feasts with veggies from her auntie’s vegetable garden.

See all of Megan’s posts.

Birds, Conservation, Current Issues, Gardening, Guest Posts, Organic, Sustainable Living

In today’s fragile natural world, where we’re constantly facing the negative impact of previous and ongoing environmental damage, building and maintaining a sustainable garden simply makes sense.

Whether you’re looking to add one or two sustainable features into your small backyard, or you’re thinking of starting a large-scale project to make your garden an eco-friendly, bio-diverse habitat, there are plenty of features and elements you can incorporate into your outdoor space to make it more earth-friendly – no matter your budget or the size of your space.

In today’s post, we’re considering everything from bird feeders and vegetable patches to ‘green roofs’ and the materials you can use to create your summer decking, to help you discover different ways you can maximise the sustainability of your garden space.

sustainable garden design

Build sustainably

If you’re thinking of building your sustainable garden from scratch, then there are a whole host of things to consider before you do. Firstly, think about new, innovative and long-term ways that your outside area could help the environment and those living in it, such as by installing a ‘green roof’.

A green roof can either be built on top of your home or a shed at the bottom of your garden, or to liven up your bland and boring garage roof. Partially or completely covered with shrubbery, not only do green roofs attract an assortment of wildlife to them, but, because of their ability to absorb large amounts of rainwater, they also provide an eco-friendly insulating element to the interior they are installed on top of.

If you’re looking to build a structure from scratch, make use of innately sustainable building methods, such as modular construction – as this way, you’ll reduce the environmental impact from the offset and can benefit from in-built features like grey water recycling and renewable energy systems.

Cultivate your own vegetables

There’s nothing better than being at one with nature – and particularly within the comfort of your own home and garden. A vegetable patch makes this possible, while remaining sustainable and adding an element of fun in the process.

Growing your own food is a guaranteed way to reduce your carbon footprint, as the distance your food travels to the shop – which you then drive to to buy – is all reduced by the simple act of you stepping out your back door, and pulling out a homegrown vegetable, fruit or herb from your self-built patch. With so many different types of plant beds to choose from, regardless of the size of your space, you are sure to find a way to incorporate a vegetable patch into your garden that suits both the needs of your family and the environment you’re working with.

Create a biodiverse haven

Another vital ingredient when it comes to creating a sustainable garden is creating a space that attracts and provides resources for the wildlife that inhabits it.

Invite bugs and birds into your garden by choosing plants aimed at encouraging biodiversity, installing water baths and hanging up bird feeders from trees and sheds. Choose a range of plant climbers and shrubs that consist of a healthy mix of fruit, pollen and nectar to encourage bees and birds to feed alongside each other. In addition, consider putting up ivy either around a shed or across the corners of your outdoor area, to give a variety of wildlife – such as bugs and even small mammals – a place to shelter from the elements.

Use what you’ve got

One of the most important things to remember when creating a sustainable garden – either from scratch or when incorporating a few eco-friendly features into your space – is to make sure that the materials you’re using are as environmentally friendly as possible.

Recycled wood can allow you to create beautiful outdoor decking that lets you enjoy the wildlife in your garden – and natural resources such as collected rainwater will allow you to harvest crops from your new vegetable patch. Additionally, don’t let your food waste go to waste. Create an area in your garden where your leftover dinners can be put to good use by composting them so they can be used in the future, to fertilise your new and flourishing sustainable garden.

sustainable gardens

Complying to, and encouraging, the general practice of sustainable living isn’t a hard task. From adding small-scale features into your existing garden that encourage wildlife to thrive, to building a sustainable garden from the ground up (literally), an eco-friendly exterior will not only reduce your carbon footprint but, because of its lush greenery and abundant wildlife, will look undeniably stunning, too.

Alex Jones is a content creator for Elements Europe, an industry-leading offsite construction company specialising in sustainable modular building systems, and part of the Pickstock Group.

Conservation, Current Issues, Grow Your Own, Guest Posts, Organic, Sustainable Living, Wildlife

Eco friendly product swaps

Introducing environmental values to your lifestyle is something that is becoming near-essential in the modern age. With eco-friendly homewares and low-energy appliances dominating the interior of the home, what can homeowners do in their gardens to remain eco-conscious?

Turns out, there are plenty of ways green-thumbed folks can attune their garden to the environment, and this post will run through some product swaps that can be done easily and without much impact on your garden’s bloom.

Feed your plants sustainably

The first consideration you should make in terms of keeping your garden eco-friendly is your plants’ diet. While some big brand fertilisers and plant foods may promise incredible growth in your plants, they tend to be based on chemicals which are bad for the environment.

Chemicals used in these fertilisers include nitrates and urea, which may improve your garden’s bloom in the short term, but long-term use of these products can contaminate the local area’s groundwater. Nitrogen pollution in groundwater is known to cause illnesses amongst humans and animals, as well as affecting water-borne life by creating an influx of plant life that deoxygenates ponds and lakes. When writ large across our rural areas, this is both a public health risk and an environmental hazard.

While this problem is largely down to industrial farming methods, doing the right thing in your garden by opting for organic fertilisers such as compost or manure will have a positive impact – however small it may be.

Avoid needless plastic

Both an aesthetic and environmentally practical choice, swapping out plastic pots for hard-wearing ceramic or terracotta will make your garden look far more stylish – all while reducing your reliance on an unnatural material. Once you’ve finished with your plastic pots, seek out ways to recycle or upcycle them into something new – don’t just opt for the landfill!

Just remember to replant your potted plants at the earliest possible opportunity, before they’ve put down firm roots, in order to make this as easy as possible.

Use renewable lighting

Picture the scene. It’s late summer, the nights are creeping in earlier and you need a bit of light in your garden. There might be a temptation to invest in conventionally-powered lighting, but this can negatively impact on your energy bills and electricity usage.

Solar-powered outdoor lights, on the other hand, require no mains wiring or batteries and slowly charge throughout the day – giving you pretty festival-style evening lighting. This alternative will effortlessly provide a gorgeous background to the later stages of your summer soirées.

Be bee-conscious

You may have heard of the crisis facing the world’s bee population. These prolific pollinators face a range of threats, from insecticides that harm their sense of navigation to the increase in colony collapse disorder – whereupon the worker bees abscond from the hive, leaving the queen to die.

A family of chemicals called neonicotinoids contribute to this global problem and are present in several commercial insecticides. Avoiding these and instead opting for natural alternatives (such as garlic or chilli sprays), all while planting plenty of pollen-rich, bee-friendly flowers in your garden, means you can do your part to allay the advance of this crisis.

Swap the supermarket for the garden

Growing your own doesn’t require an allotment, nor does it necessitate giving over your lawn to row upon row of crops. A small section of your garden can produce vegetables galore, and the only outlay that’s required is the purchase of seeds and a few home-grow essentials.

Soon, your natural harvest will come in, and you’ll be decreasingly reliant on the carbon-heavy supermarket supply chains – all while basking in the satisfaction of eating ingredients you grew yourself.

Bee in garden

An eco-friendly garden is a healthy garden, so we hope this post has proven that you needn’t sacrifice the lush greenery of your outside space by attuning it to the environment.

Paul RichardsPaul Richards is a long-time botanist and founder of Herbfarmacy – an online retailer selling organic, natural skin care products for all skin types that are packed with herbs grown on their farm in Herefordshire.

Animals, Bird Baths, Birds, Conservation, Current Issues, Gardens, How To, Megan, Organic, Sustainable Living, Wildlife

Rewilding Your Garden - Wild Flowers

What Is Rewilding?

Rewilding, simply put, is allowing your garden to be restored to its natural state. This in turn encourages more wildlife and wild plants to reside in your garden. Rewilding involves sitting back and letting your garden undergo natural processes it’s yearning for you to allow. Those who keep their gardens prim and proper may be baffled by this thought, but there is something beautiful in watching nature run its course and the outcome is something you will be sure to embrace.

Rewilding Your Garden - Butterflies

Why You Should Consider Rewilding Your Garden

There are many benefits to rewilding your garden. In a world that is constantly developing, rewilding will help nature recover from the destruction it is experiencing in the wider community. Experiencing a pocket of wild nature can do wonders for the mind and can improve health and wellbeing. Rewilding also encourages wildlife, from wild birds to rare insects, and allows them to flourish. More than half of wild species in the UK are in decline and 15% are threatened with extinction. Leaving nature to run wild in your garden will provide a space for biodiversity to blossom right in front of your eyes.

How to Start Rewilding Your Garden

Ditch the Chemicals

Many of the chemical pesticides, weed killers, slug pellets and fertilisers are incredibly harmful to the wildlife in the garden, especially insects. Bees for example, which human life depends on, are killed by contact pesticides. Ditching chemicals can do wonders for your health, the health of your garden and ultimately the wildlife population in the vicinity of your garden.

Weeds aren’t actually all that bad; stinging nettles, for example, provide a home for moths and butterflies. Many weeds protect and restore exposed or degraded soils. If you feel weeds are taking over and you can’t resist getting your hands dirty weeding, opt for a homemade, natural, organic weed killer.

For more tips on ditching chemicals in your garden, check out our post on organic gardening.

Rewilding Your Garden - Fish In Pond

Add Water

One of the best things you can do to increase biodiversity whilst rewilding your garden is to add water. It is after all what sustains life on earth, so it can do wonders for encouraging wildlife in your garden. You can go all out and add a pond to your garden if you wish, which offer a self-sustaining cycle of hydration. This in turn saves water – by building a pond you are allowing that part of your garden to self-water, alleviating the need to use more water. Over time your pond will be abundant with pond life such as frogs, newts, pond snails and damselflies.

If a pond is a bit ambitious for you, or you have a smaller garden, provide a smaller source of water such as a water fountain or bird bath. Running water attracts wildlife such as birds, rabbits & squirrels.

Rewilding Your Garden - Flower Meadow

Leave Your Lawn Be

Put that lawnmower away! Leaving your lawn to grow in abundance will encourage a diversity of grass and herb species. Many of these will flower – the dream of having a wildflower meadow right in your back garden is possible! Borders and paths can be kept neat by mowing and trimming, but be sure to keep the main bulk of your lawn to grow as wild as you dare. Leave cutting your meadows to late in the year. Goldfinches like to munch on the late seeds and meadow brown caterpillars feed on the long grass and hibernate underneath it.

Don’t Over-Plant

You may be tempted to aid in rewilding your garden by planting native plants, but it is best to be patient and wait until they start growing themselves. Seeing what species of flowers and trees pop up is much more exciting and will save you lots of money too. Species that naturally grow in your garden will also be a lot better suited to your soil than any plants you try to introduce yourself.

In conclusion, rewilding your garden can be an exciting and rewarding experience. We hope we’ve inspired you and left you wondering what could grow in your garden if you let it just be!

Megan at PrimroseMegan works in the Primrose marketing team. When she is not at her desk you will find her half way up a hill in the Chilterns
or enjoying the latest thriller series on Netflix. Megan also enjoys cooking vegetarian feasts with veggies from her auntie’s vegetable garden.

See all of Megan’s posts.