How to Keep Squirrels Out of Raised Garden Beds

Are you planning or planting your vegetable garden this year and need a way to keep pesky squirrels out of your raised garden beds so they can’t go digging for seeds or eat growing plants? In this post is an easy and inexpensive DIY solution for you. It will keep squirrels, as well as other predators like birds and deer out of your vegetable garden without harming them.

Last spring, I started a vegetable garden in our side yard.

a very classic and pretty sturdi-bulit greenhouse
photo: Sturdi-Built

In my mind, I would have loved a garden house like this, but I had to be realistic.

Kitchen Garden in yard with elevated beds.

Instead we created a very functional and easy to access kitchen garden using 4 elevated garden beds that I stained, two metal arches and 4 round barrel-style planters. We covered the area with a layer of pine straw mulch.

Lettuce and red cabbage growing in elevated beds in kitchen garden.

We had some growing successes – a few varieties of kale, carrots, and lettuce. But a few fails as the summer went on that we mainly attributed to squirrels burying their nuts and looking for seeds as well as birds making their meals out of the garden.

Since the planters are elevated – we didn’t have any rodents, mice, or moles which is a good thing.

This year we had to come up with an easy way to protect the elevated garden beds from the squirrels and birds. We needed physical barriers over the entire raised bed, not the individual plants. We didn’t want to use a chemical spray or natural squirrel repellents that would have to be resprayed often.

We also didn’t think a motion-activated sprinkler, fence or noisemakers made out of aluminum foil or shiny discs would deter them for the long run.

After doing some research, I liked what an Australian gardener I found on YouTube did to deter pests from getting in his raised garden beds.

We didn’t create the barriers for the raised planters exactly the same way he did, but came pretty close

How to Make a Raised Garden Bed Squirrel Proof

To keep squirrels and other critters out of the raised beds, we used a few items from the home improvement store.

close up of how hoops and netting look to keep birds and squirrels out of raised garden beds

It took Ed and me about an hour to squirrel proof planters and keep the garden planters from becoming bird feeders again this year.

supplies needed:

I bought everything needed to make the deterrent barrier of netted hoops for each elevated garden bed and the tomato cages at the home improvement store.

  • 4-ft Bamboo stakes – we used 7 cut sections for each elevated bed.
  • Drip irrigation hose or soaker house with no ends – I used this brown hose to match my elevated planters.
  • Squirrel netting for garden, plastic bird netting or chicken wire.
  • 4″ Plastic spring clamps
  • Sharp craft knife or cutting shears
  • Cable ties or twist ties
  • Hacksaw or power saw

Time needed: 1 hour and 30 minutes

How to Keep Squirrels Out of Raised Beds

  1. Measure Raised Beds or Planter

    To figure out how many hoops and how much netting or chicken wire you will need, measure the width and depth of the garden bed. Also consider how tall you want each hoop to be so tall growing vegetables will have plenty of space to grow.

    We cut the hose into 6-ft long sections which made the hoop 30-inches high.

  2. Cut Bamboo Stakes

    Using a hacksaw, cut the stakes to the size needed.

  3. Place Cut Stakes in Planter

    Place one stake vertically in each corner of the planter and one spaced along the center outer edge on each side of the planter.

  4. Place Hose Over Bamboo Stakes to Create Hoops

    Place one end of the cut to length hose over a bamboo stake and the the other end over the stake across the planter from it.

    Repeat for the other stakes. Each bamboo stake will be covered by the hose.

    where to place stakes and hose in garden planter.

  5. Attach Top Stake

    Using cable or twist ties – attach another stake horizontally across the top of the hoops.

    Cut excess tie away.

    3 hoops fill each raised garden box to keep out squirrels and birds

  6. Cut Squirrel Netting

    Cut the squirrel or bird netting to the size needed to drape over the hoops and long enough to fall just past the top of the planter.

    how to attach bamboo stake to hoop to protect garden from pests.

  7. Pull Netting Taut

    Pull the netting taut to each side and the ends of the planter. You may have to bunch or twist the excess netting together to create a taut fit. Use spring clamps to hold the netting taut and in place. Keeping the netting taut will eliminate birds getting stuck in the netting.

    Note: There is better netting than what we used that is safer for birds. You can find it in the resources section at the end of this post.

    Squirrel proofing garden. Collard greens growing in raised garden.

Hoops and netting to keep squirrels out of raised beds.

When pulling the netting taut, the hoops may lean, but that doesn’t effect the functionality of the protective barrier.

How to Squirrel Proof Tomato Cages

We also had to build squirrel proof tomato cages that would not only keep them out, but their bird pals also.

protecting tomato plants from squirrels and birds

We cut hardware cloth to size and wrapped it around the inside diameter of the barrel planters. In the planter is one tomato plant surrounded by a tomato cage for it to grow on.

We still are deciding on cutting circles from the hardware cloth to place on top as a lid and then use the tips of the wire to attach to the vertical hardware cloth. We could also cover with bird netting and clamp it taut.

Do you have a vegetable garden? How do you keep birds and squirrels out of your garden?

Keep Birds and Squirrels Out of Your Garden

Resource for: Elevated Garden Planters | Garden Arches

Video: How-to Make Raised Garden Bed Covers

YouTube video

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  1. Would love to know how these turned out – were you able to keep the squirrels out and not have any bird injuries and get your veggies? Thank you for the detailed instructions on what you did!

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Em – The hoops with the netting worked great to keep the squirrels out of the elevated garden beds for the last 2 years. Now going into the 3rd summer, the hoops have become limp and will need to be replaced or a new design made. We were at a Farmer’s Market over the weekend and saw the same idea using small diameter bendable PVC pipe thread through 1″ x 1″ long pieces of wood. Using the wood and PVC I think would last more than 2 years so would be a better way to go for longevity.

  2. Set up rat traps. Problem solved.

  3. Last summer I bought two hanging cherry tomato plants that had red and yellow tomatoes together and they were prolific producers. BUT, the squirrels got almost all of them. The tomatoes were like their crack! Soooo, this year I am going to try hanging them on a really tall greased double shepherds hook in the middle of the yard so those darn squirrels can’t jump or climb onto it. Someday when my kids’ trampoline is old I might use the frame as a base for a covered garden. I envision running garden wire around the circle and put a pole in the ground in the middle with netting over the whole thing. It will look like a see through circus tent, lol.

  4. You have a beautiful garden. I can tell you and Ed have put a lot of work into it. I hope you have a bumper crop!

  5. Smart thinking! Your contraptions look like covered wagons from the wild West!

  6. We do what we have to keep the buggers out!!! Keep a watch on the bird netting….squirrels are crafty and may chew through to get into those raised beds. Enjoy your veggies 🥗

  7. I did the same thing with my tomato plants. After the season is finished, I remove them and store them on the exposed rafters in my garage. I also wrapped the top edge with duct tape to keep my arms from getting scratched.
    Nothing like homegrown produce!

  8. Diane, I love your bed covers! Easy & very natural-looking, too. I’ve been gardening since I could “toddle”the rows with my grandparents in WI, & @ 64, it is an extension of who I am. I can express my creativity, marvel @ God’s perfect design & be completely removed from stress/anxiety of life.
    I’d encourage you to start your crops from organic seeds—things grow so quickly in your region & it provides 1 more layer of knowing ‘where your plants started’. After 6 decades of gardening, I never cease to be awed by a emerging seedling, or the reemergence of a dormant perennial!
    Happy digging!

  9. Clever using clamps to hold the netting, so easy to get in and out of! I had two raised beds and used plastic over the hoops in fall and heartier plants and herbs survived the winter in zone 5. This year though everything will be in one big bed, surrounded by elk netting, that’s how big my deer problem is. I like your metal arch, it looks much nicer than cow panel. And love the pine straw!