How to Stop Squirrels Digging Holes in My Lawn & Grass

How to stop squirrels digging in garden

Our house backs onto some woods which are home to a family of squirrels. Whilst I love seeing them run along the fence and playing, what I can’t stand is when the squirrels dig in my garden. Once our cat passed away the situation got worse as they no longer had any fear so would dig the lawn knowing they weren’t going to get chased away.

Believe me, I tried scaring them away myself, but the squirrels soon learned to ignore me and continued digging. But after some perseverance I came up with some strategies to stop the squirrels digging up my garden, and I’ve shared those below.

How to stop squirrels from digging in grass? The best way I stopped squirrels digging my lawn was to use a motion detector that sprayed water. I discouraged them from visiting my garden by removing food sources. Read more tips below.

So, that’s a quick synopsis on the best way to stop squirrels from digging holes in your lawn, but there’s more to it. Unfortunately, it’s a really common problem during the autumn months. 

How to stop squirrels digging in garden

I stopped squirrels digging holes in my lawn by using a few different methods. Hopefully, they will help you to protect your lawn should you have the same issue. 

1. Get a motion sensor water sprinkler 

I was surprised I didn’t think of it earlier, but this was one of the best investments I made in my battle with the squirrels. Squirrels are easily startled, and a sudden spray of water can be all it takes to get them to leave your yard for good. 

How to stop squirrels from digging lawn
I stopped squirrels digging the lawn in my garden with this motion detecting sprayer.

What’s more, the spray is harmless to squirrels and provides the added benefit of watering your plants, bushes, or lawn. 

I’ve spent quite a bit of time researching motion sprinklers, and many of them can be set to a higher sensitivity designed specifically to detect small animals. It didn’t cost much either. Here’s the exact same one I used on Amazon.

2. Make sure outdoor bins are sealed 

I always make sure that any waste bins I have outside my house are completely sealed shut. Much like other rodents, squirrels are attracted to waste and will rummage through your rubbish when given the chance. 

If you regularly leave your bins open, squirrels living in your neighbourhood will soon notice. Unfortunately, the more squirrels in the area, the higher the likelihood they will dig holes in your backyard or garden.

Handy Hint: You might want to consider getting a wheelie bin store to hide and disguise them in your garden.

3. Allow your pets to chase them 

Since my cat died, I’ve had more squirrels taking their chances. Dogs are great at chasing squirrels too, so you own a dog who loves chasing, let me out in the garden more often. 

Most dogs have a natural prey instinct and will be delighted to keep your garden squirrel free. What’s more, squirrels are less likely to enter a property if they know a dog or cat is in the area and will choose a safer place to bury their nuts or berries.

However, I should mention that you need be careful if you have a rat-catching breed, as they may end up catching and killing the squirrel if they are fast enough. 

Handy Hint: Here’s the difference between rat and squirrel holes.

4. Buy a pretend predator

If buying a cat or dog isn’t something you can do, fake it until you make it. Like many small animals, squirrels are terrified of predators such as cats owls, foxes, and weasels. Interestingly, they cannot easily tell the difference between real and fake ones. 

Thankfully, finding realistic models of owls is relatively straightforward, and they can be purchased in a variety of stores and online websites, such as Amazon and Etsy. If you do buy a fake predator, make sure to move it around weekly, as this will keep the squirrels from becoming comfortable in its presence. 

I’ve also read that spraying the model with a scent that squirrels dislike can also be beneficial, but more about that below.

Handy Hint: It might not actually be a squirrel digging the holes. If the holes are small and have no mounds, think again!

5. Use a repellent

I haven’t tried this and have heard conflicting reports on how successful it might be in stopping squirrels digging in your garden. But worth a shot if nothing else works I’d say.

Prior to my research, I had no idea that squirrels hated certain smells when I first began figuring out ways to prevent them from digging. But they do and will refuse to go near any areas that have been sprayed with repellents. 

In general, many squirrel repellents are made from natural sources, including garlic, peppermint, and rosemary oils. They also pose little to no danger to local wildlife or pets. 

However, you should refrain from spraying this type of solution on your plants as it may affect them. Another popular alternative to sprays is fox urine granules (view on Amazon), however, these are classed as chemical-based and it’s a good idea to use them in moderation.

6. Feed your pets inside

As I mentioned earlier, squirrels are attracted to waste. This can even include dog or cat food that has been left outside. If you have a squirrel problem, you might want to try feeding your pets indoors to prevent this from happening. 

I caught squirrels searching for pieces of my cat food in the past when she ate outdoors in the summer – it may have played a role in why they have suddenly become so abundant in my garden. You could also take your pet’s food bowls indoors if they haven’t finished their meal, there’s no need to throw it away. 

More on squirrels and digging of lawns and grass

Below I have prepared some answers to other related questions you might have about squirrels and their behavior. I hope you find them useful. 

Why do squirrels bury nuts in your lawn?

During the winter, both red and grey squirrels will have a hard time finding enough food to survive. To combat this problem, they begin stashing nuts and other food sources in many areas to munch on in the dead of winter. 

Handy Hint: If they don’t have a food source, they might start digging up the bulbs in your pots and planters: here’s how to stop them.

Unfortunately, this means they will sometimes venture into our gardens to find a suitable area to dig. Incredibly, squirrels can remember the location of over 10,000 buried nuts. 

How do you keep squirrels from digging up bulbs?

One of the best ways to keep squirrels from digging up bulbs is to lay down chicken wire. To do this, you can cut out a section of the wire that matches the size of the area where the bulbs are planted, and then secure it with stakes or weigh it down at the corners with heavy items like plant pots or tiles. 

After this is done, you could lay down some plant matter over the top to conceal it. From my experience, the bulb stems will have no problem growing through the holes in the wire.

Handy Hint: Never mind the squirrels, what if you want to dig deep in your backyard? There’s a legal route you need go down first! 


It’s safe to say this predicament drove me crazy, and I began dreaming up various methods to get them to leave my outdoor space alone. It wasn’t until I used the pest water sprayer that I started to get the best results.

Squirrels will commonly dig holes in lawns and yards to bury nuts, berries, and acorns. You will find it hard to completely remove those naturally occurring foods, but you could (as a last resort) try removing or relocating these items when they fall to the ground. 

To get rid of squirrels completely you have to remove their food sources.

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