Summer is the time when your garden will likely start blooming in full force. Unfortunately, it’s also the time when most animals and insects will start to take an interest in your garden as well. Some insects are completely harmless, while others—such as ladybugs and bumblebees—can actually help your garden grow even bigger. However, quite a few animals and insects are more interested in tearing apart your garden in search of a quick midnight meal. These pests come in all shapes and sizes, from rabbits to aphids to deer to beetles. Each of these pests can wreak havoc on your garden in a different way. This guide explores several ways to defend your garden from animals and insects this summer.

Build physical barriers

Physical barriers are the most effective way to protect against larger pests. Fencing in your garden with chicken wire, for instance, will keep larger animals at bay. The method you use to erect these physical barriers will vary depending on the type of pests that frequent your garden. Planting your items in a raised garden bed will protect against smaller animals such as rabbits, while fencing made from solid metal sheets will make it impossible for smaller animals such as chipmunks and squirrels to climb into your garden. Mesh coverings can also be beneficial to protect against smaller animals and insects. Covering plants with a large net or cloche will make it impossible for these pests to snack on your garden.

Pick your plants wisely

One of the most natural ways to defend your garden from animals and insects is to pick your plants wisely. Some items are more appealing to certain animals and insects than others. Avoiding such items will encourage these pests to look elsewhere for their next meal. If you can’t bear to part with your favorite plants, you can plant a layer of protective barrier plants instead. Certain plants can act as natural deterrents against common pests, and they may be more effective than pesticides or traps in some cases. Marigolds are good options if you want to deter both bugs and bunnies, while mint is a great deterrent for smaller rodents. Garlic and rosemary are also highly effective options for driving off deer.

Keep your garden tidy

An overgrown, unkempt garden is a gold mine for most pests. They view it the same way we view an all-you-can-eat buffet and take it as an invitation to snack to their hearts’ content. Keeping your garden healthy will prevent pests from coming around your garden. Remove any dead plants immediately, as they can grow mold, which will attract some harmful insects. You should also regularly tend to weeds, which may attract certain pests that will likely stick around to sample the rest of your plants.