How Animals Can Affect Your NJ Home Landscape


Here in NJ we are blessed to live in seasonal climate, one with mountains, woods, and the ocean all near by. Locals love to have this variety at their fingertips, but they’re not always fond of sharing the landscape with the other locals: animals. New Jersey is home to an incredible ecosystem, and while we appreciate the beauty that nature brings, it’s not always pleasant when nature comes into our yards.

It’s important to recognize the different kinds of wildlife living in the area and understanding what will attract them to your yard. The more you know about their habits, the better you can prevent them from causing damage.


deer standing still staring into camera at night

Bambi’s all nice and cute until he makes a snack of your vegetable garden. And they will. If you don’t keep a vegetable garden, you can tell if deer have been through if bark is removed from trees. Since they also like to nibble on leaves, you’ll find ragged edges on plant leaves.

How to prevent deer from eating your plants:

  • Maintain your landscape on a regular basis
  • Invest in a motion activated sprinkler system to deter them from the area
  • Incorporate levels in your landscape design since they don’t like to climb up and down things
  • Let your dog spend time in the yard. The scent and barking will send a signal to the deer that it is a place to be avoided.
  • Plant lavender. Deer don’t like the scent and will avoid it.
  • Put fishing line about 2-3 off the ground around your vegetable garden. The near invisible barrier will confuse them.


rabbit staring into the camera in a patch of grass

At first, it might seem difficult to tell if deer or rabbits have ransacked your vegetable garden. While deer will nibble on plant leaves, rabbits will also go after woody plants and shrubs. They will also burrow small holes on your property, so watch your step!

How to prevent rabbits from eating your garden/landscaping:

  • Install a fence and have the base of it at least 6in in the ground



regal cat looking at the camera

Whether they’re feral, stray, or outdoor pets, cats won’t eat your shrubs—but they can cause damage and unpleasant experiences:

  • Digging up yard
  • Overturned trash cans
  • Dead birds and rodents on your property

How to prevent cats from entering your yard: There’s a reason for the phrase “cat burglar.” Cats will be exceptionally hard to keep out of a space you don’t want them in, especially a yard. Our best advice: don’t leave out food.


raccoon sleeping outside in the yard

Raccoons are like cats…but worse. Not only will they pilfer your trashcans, making for an unpleasant morning cleanup, but they’ve also been known to snatch a bite from bird feeders. If you have a pond in your landscaping be aware that raccoons aren’t above stealing a fish or two for some easy protein.

How to prevent raccoons: Raccoons are even trickier than cats, but these preventative measures are worth a try:

    • Bring in bird feeders at night
    • Schedule regular lawn maintenance so they don’t have too many places to hide
    • Secure your trash with bungee chords and heavy duty bags
    • Put a net over your fish ponds


groundhog walking over a pile of woodchips

Groundhogs are one of the worst menaces to plague NJ yards. The problem isn’t that groundhogs will eat your plants. It’s the holes from their burrows, and they aren’t just damage to your yard. They are dangerous for people and pets alike since they are often hidden by vegetation and can reach 8inches in diameter. One wrong step and you can end up with a broken ankle or even a bite.

How to ethically prevent or get rid of groundhogs:

  • Place Epsom salts around the entrance of their hole or by plants they enjoy eating. Remember to replace these after rain
  • When the groundhog leaves its burrow, pour castor oil around the entrance. They hate the smell.
  • Plant lavender around the garden
  • Pour cayenne pepper or crushed garlic (or both!) around the burrow hole. They just might hate these scents worse than castor oil.


a brown and white dog running on the grass with a ball in their mouth

You love Spot, but he can wreak havoc on your yard. Consistently “doing good boy” in the same spot will cause your lush, green grass to die and become a brown patch. This is because #1 is too acidic for the soil and #2 actually over fertilizes the grass. Another problem is that dogs have a natural tendency to dig. If left unchecked, your loyal companion will destroy your yard and garden in his attempt to get to China.

How to prevent dogs from ruining your yard: Like with “sit” and “stay” your dog will also need basic yard training.

  • Train your dog to go potty in the same spot, preferably one in the back corner of your yard where it will go unnoticed and won’t damage the rest of your landscaping.
  • As for digging, discipline bad behavior and reward your dog for good behavior (ie: Immediately when he returns to the door after doing his business and nothing else).

  • Bees, Butterflies & Pollinators

    hummingbird perched on a feeder

    Not all critters are bad. In fact, pollinators like bees, birds and butterflies are exceptionally important to the health of your landscape and then environment overall. Plus, you’ll enjoy the spectacle of seeing colorful butterflies and delicate hummingbirds around your yard. Just plant flowers in you landscape and use select birdfeed to attract the pollinators you want to see!

    From the climate to the critters, we’ve handled everything there is to handle with NJ landscaping. You can trust us to deliver a landscaping design that will give your yard total curb appeal and limit unwelcome woodland guests.

    Get Your Estimate Today!