Fox in my garden

Foxes are true nocturnal mammals that love to play and feed in the shadows. Many people, especially farmers consider foxes to be a real nuisance and as urban foxes are becoming more and more common, they are becoming a problem for the common gardener too.

Not only will foxes dig lawns, but they have also been known to dig in flower beds where the soil is softer to bury excess food to come back for later.

We are going to look at how to stop foxes from digging in your garden.

Why do Foxes Dig in Lawns?

There are several reasons that foxes will dig up your lawn, mostly they will have a reason but sometimes it is just for fun.

Foxes often dig shallow holes when they are looking for earthworms and other grubs to eat. Grubs and worms only usually come to the surface in wetter conditions, so this damage is likely to be seasonal and the holes are like you would see if a dog had been digging.

On rare occasions, foxes have been known to dig deeper holes and really tear up lawns and this can usually be attributed to the use of blood and bone fertiliser – the fox smells a corpse and is looking for its next meal. Yuk!

As we mentioned, sometimes, foxes do not even need a reason to dig and that is true, especially for fox cubs that will often just practice digging or dig for fun.

Fox Cub Next to Fox Hole
Fox Cub Next to Fox Hole

How to Stop Foxes from Digging in Your Garden

There are no sure-fire ways to stop foxes from digging in your lawn and it is generally considered a better option to try and keep them out of your garden altogether. By keeping foxes out of your garden, you are therefore preventing them from digging up your lawn.

We have put together a small list of ideas to keep foxes away, they may work individually but you may have to use a combination of 2 or 3 for the best results.

1. Security Lights

Foxes are nervous animals that like the security of darkness and they do not like any sudden movements, flashing lights or loud noises.

Motion-activated security lights (amazon link – opens in a new tab) are a great deterrent for foxes as they will be perturbed by the sudden appearance of bright lights on them.

The added bonus of having security lights installed in your garden is that they will put off potential burglars too!

2. Electronic Fox Deterrents

There are a few electronic fox deterrents (amazon link – opens in a new tab) available that emit a high-pitched noise that only animals can hear.

The high-pitched sound is targeted towards the fox’s acute sense of hearing and they will not like the piercing noise hitting their eardrums.

The range of these devices is limited so we recommend pointing these devices at the entry points to deter the foxes from coming in.

3. Smells

Boil some chilli and garlic and blend them together to make a nice natural fox repellent that can be sprayed on your garden. Foxes have a keen sense of smell and do not like it, and this will keep foxes away without any damage to the environment or causing harm to the fox.

As foxes are territorial animals, there are also fox repellent packages (amazon link – opens in a new tab) that you can buy that mimic the scent of a more dominant fox. The odour of a more dominant fox will make your problem fox nervous and hopefully deter them from coming back. 

4. Motion Activated Sprinklers

Yes, you can get motion-activated sprinklers (amazon link – opens in a new tab) that will surely keep the foxes from doing any damage if they get into the garden.

Motion-activated sprinklers work in much the same way as motion-activated security lights. When the sensor detects movement in the shadows, the sprinkler system will turn on and with the fox on high alert, it will soon run away.

These are a great way to deter foxes from your garden and when activated your lawn gets a good watering too.

Fox Hole in Garden surrounded by Ivy
Fox Hole in Garden

What to Consider when Deterring Foxes from Your Garden

Foxes are not true hunters; they are opportunistic scavengers and will scavenge what is easily available and that is why they will take defenceless chickens if they can get at them.

They are attracted to urban society due to the amount of tempting smelling rubbish that is thrown away. You will need to consider the following if you want to deter foxes from coming into your garden.


Keep rubbish stored outdoors to a minimum. Foxes love nothing more than to rifle through black bags looking for the chicken carcass from your Sunday roast.

The best thing to do is to keep any rubbish that needs to go outdoors in a wheelie bin or bin cupboard away from where the fox can access.

Entry/ Exit Points

The best way to prevent foxes from getting in your garden is to cover any obvious entry/ exit points. 

Block off any holes in or under fences, and point electronic devices or security lights at any routes you think the fox may be taking.


As you can see, there are a few ways how to stop foxes from digging in your garden. The best prevention is to limit their access to your garden by preying on their nervousness with lights, sound, smells and motion.

Furthermore, if you want to guarantee success, you should try and use a combination of things to ensure that there are many other places that are more appealing to dig than in your lawn.

Maybe foxes are not your problem, check out what else could be digging your garden.

Garden Doctor Trev

Garden Doctor Tips

“If you have pets and like to leave food outside, bring it indoors at night-time to limit the appeal of your garden!”

“Cover obvious entry points with security lights. The added bonus is that it will also deter criminals from your property too!”

“If you keep chickens, ensure that you are vigilant and keep them safely locked away at night out of reach for hungry foxes!”

“If you use blood and bone fertiliser and you think that may be the reason you are visited by foxes, try masking the smell with our chilli and garlic spray mentioned above!”

Frequently Asked Questions

How do you stop foxes from digging?

The best way to stop a fox from digging is to make your garden as unappealing to foxes as possible to deter them from being there in the first place.

There are many motion-activated options available to protect from fox visits such as security lights, sprinkler systems and high-pitched electronic devices.

What smells do foxes hate?

There are numerous smells that foxes do not like such as chilli, pepper and garlic but they are also extremely nervous when they sense the smell of a more dominant fox.

Scoot is a great fox deterrent as it mimics the smell of another fox and gives the impression that another fox wants this territory!

Are foxes good at digging?

Foxes are extremely good at digging. When foxes are looking to build a new den, foxes can often dig holes as much as 7 metres deep but in some places, these have been known to reach 17 metres!

About Me

Hi, I’m Trev and I’ve been growing things since I can remember. When I was younger, I grew up on a farm, so I have always been around plants and animals. After studying horticulture at university, I decided to start my own nursery which I have run now for 25 years. In my spare time, I run this website – which is a resource for people who want to learn more about their gardens.

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