After weeks of planning, you’ve finally bought the perfect patio furniture. You’re ready for days of lounging by the pool and outdoor entertaining. Sadly, pests like squirrels can ruin those perfect plans in a flash. From digging up your vegetable garden to chewing your patio furniture, squirrels can be a pain. They may seem innocent and fuzzy, but squirrels can reap havoc on your yard.
What kind of damage can squirrels cause?
Not only can squirrels chew up your patio furniture, they can also make your family and pets sick. Squirrels can carry dangerous diseases including rabies, salmonella, tularemia, and leptospirosis.
Squirrel excrement is the most common method of disease transmission. And wherever they go—they go. If you come in contact with their droppings or even breathe the air around their droppings, you risk getting sick.
Squirrels can also carry ticks, mites, and fleas. These parasites can transmit Lyme disease, ringworm, encephalitis, and even bubonic plague on rare occasion.
It's rare for people and pets to get sick from squirrels mdash&; no need to immediately eradicate all squirrels within a 5-mile radius. The main risk of having squirrels all over your yard is the mess they make. Squirrels like to chew on anything and everything, leave bits of leaves and twigs around, and use your outdoor furniture as a bathroom.
Why are Squirrels Tearing Up My Patio Furniture?
Usually squirrels create nests out of leaves, twigs, animal fur and other natural materials. When they can’t find these materials in the wild, they might decide to tear up your patio cushions and steal the padding inside.
They could also be looking for a warm, safe place to nest. So if you notice a squirrel has already chewed a hole in an outdoor cushion or pillow, be sure to check that no one is sleeping inside.
5 Ways to Protect Your Patio From Squirrels
1. Remove Incentives
Think like a squirrel. What is it that they want from your backyard? Is it the chip crumbs your kids left on your patio? The carrots and peaches from your garden? The nuts and seeds in your bird feeder? (Let's be honest, we may as well call it a squirrel feeder if they can reach it.)
If squirrels are ransacking your garden, take measures to disincentive them. Use physical barriers like cages, wire mesh, or screening to protect your plants. If they’re after food that has fallen from trees, rake it up regularly and throw it away in a squirrel-proof trash can or compost bin.
Another option: plant mint. Squirrels hate the taste and smell of mint. As an added bonus, your mint can also be used in cooking, drinks (anyone up for a grasshopper or a mojito?), and more!
Secure your trash can lids even if there is no yard waste in it. Be sure that all trash is inside of the container and not sticking out or on the ground around it. Exposed trash attracts squirrels, raccoons, rats, and other unwelcome guests.
Make sure the slots of your bird feeders are too small for squirrels to sneak in. Another way to keep squirrels away from your bird feeders is to put soap on the lid of the bird feeder. Squirrels hate the smell, but it won't detract birds. You can also put the bird feeder on a pole away from trees or hanging somewhere they cannot reach.
2. Give the Squirrel a Snack
You might be thinking, "That’s the exact opposite of removing incentives!" But you can distract the squirrel from your patio by providing it with food on the other side of your yard. Some snacks squirrels love: sunflower seeds, peanuts, and corn cobs.
This is a good option if you don't mind having squirrels around, but just don't want them on your patio or near your furniture. Providing a treat on the other side of your yard will allow you to watch the squirrels play while still keeping your backyard looking great.
3. Assault the Senses to Keep Squirrels Away
You can use your knowledge of the five senses to keep squirrels out of your backyard. Here are a few things that stink, disgust, or just taste plain awful to squirrels.
Smell / Taste
- Coyote or fox urine. It sounds gross, but it works. Use a lawn sprayer to spray the urine over your garden, lawn, or spray a line around your patio. Don’t worry, you don’t have to go out into the wild to find some. You can purchase these products at most home improvement and garden stores.
- Deer repellent. Spray deer repellent around the perimeter of the patio, on the edge of the back wall, and any rain-spouts the squirrel could climb on to get to your outdoor living space.
- This is a great option to also protect your patio furniture, as you can spray deer repellent on the underside of your furniture without causing damage (be sure to always read the label and apply appropriately).
- Apple cider vinegar. Soak rags in apple cider vinegar and place them around your patio. Re-soak the rags once a week to keep critters away.
- Soap. Rub a circle of soap around edges of the patio or along the railing if you have a deck, the smell will keep squirrels away.
- Mix a cayenne concoction. Pour cayenne pepper in a line around the perimeter of your patio. Remember to redraw the line whenever the supply gets low, such as after a rain storm.
- Put your pets on patrol. If you have a cat or dog, leave them in your backyard or on your patio. They will chase any squirrels away. However, be careful to not let them attack or eat the squirrels, as this will cause a mess for you and put your pet at risk for disease.
- Place a statue of an owl or hawk on your patio. Squirrels will stay away from their natural predators. Sadly, this will only work for a few weeks because the squirrels will figure out that the statue is not a real threat.
- Stay out on your patio. As if you need another excuse to enjoy your patio furniture. But, hey, it works! Squirrels are frightened off by people.
- Crank up the radio. Squirrels are party poopers. Playing music on your patio will keep them away.
- Use a pest-control ultrasound device. If you’re worried about annoying your neighbors with your music, these devices will keep squirrels and other pests off your patio.
- Install motion activated sprinklers. These sprinklers will scare squirrels as they scurry through your backyard.
4. Trim Your Tree Branches
Branches let squirrels easily jump on to your patio. If you have any tree branches hanging over your patio, its time to give them a trim. Make sure to clip the branches at least five feet back from your patio so they can’t make the jump.
5. Invest in Patio Furniture Covers
Furniture covers are an easy way to shield your patio furniture from squirrel droppings and add an extra barrier to stop them from tearing up your outdoor cushions and pillows. As a bonus, these covers also protect your furniture from rain, snow, dirt, and anything else nature throws your way.
Our weatherproof patio furniture covers keep your outdoor furniture in great shape and ready to use anytime. We offer a wide range of patio furniture covers to protect all of your outdoor chairs, tables, and more. If you want additional protection for your pillows and cushions, we encourage you to cover those separately in one of our storage covers.
Try It All
In short, you have lots of options to keep squirrels out of your outdoor entertainment space. You just need to find the right method or combination of methods for you.
We advise you to avoid rodent poisons or any chemical/toxic substances. While you may get rid of the squirrel problem, using poisons is dangerous for other animals (like your pets) and people, especially children. Our methods above will discourage squirrels from ruling over your patio without harming them or anyone else.