There are several ways to prevent snakes from entering your garden, ranging from basic yard maintenance to building snake-proof fences and even using snake repellants. Whether or not they are poisonous, snakes are the most commonly feared garden pests. Perhaps it's their slithering movements or their ominous hissing noises that cause us to be so unsettled, but gardeners everywhere want to know the most effective way to keep them out. Preventative measures can be taken to keep snakes out of your garden, but as with any kind of pest control, nothing is 100 percent guaranteed. If you do see a snake, just stay calm and do not provoke it, it is usually best to back away and leave it alone or call animal control if you know it to be a venomous species.
If the snake has nothing to eat, it is a lot less likely to stay in your garden. Snakes mostly eat rodents, but their diet can also include other small animals such as frogs and rabbits. In general, you should take measures to prevent these creatures from living near your home, and eliminate the snake's food source. Use mousetraps if you need to. If you have any fruit trees near your property, remove any fallen fruit as this might attract small animals on which snakes feed.
Clean up any lingering piles of debris. Branches and garbage piles provide warm dry hiding places for both snakes and the animals they feed on. Woodsheds are especially susceptible to rodent infestation. Mulch piles are also a favorite place for snakes and rodents to make their home. Make sure you mix up your mulch pile often to prevent this. You can also eliminate hiding places by doing basic garden maintenance. Cut your grass and trim your hedges. Unkempt lawns can be an invitation for snakes to settle in. Regardless of these measures, you should still be cautious because snakes are very creative when it comes to hiding places.
A more extreme and expensive method of keeping out snakes is to build a snake-proof fence. If you choose to do this, make sure that it extends at least 6 inches underground and at least 30 inches above ground. The fence can be constructed from wire mesh and should slant outwards about 30 degrees. This prevents the snake from being able to get an adequate grip on the fence. A more cost effective way is to snake-proof an already existing fence. You can do this by purchasing some 24 inch high hardware cloth or aluminum flashing. Attach the material to the bottom outside of the fence, making sure that it goes 2-4 inches into the ground, and bury it with soil. Make sure that the fence is sealed all around your yard. If there is a hole in your fence, snakes will find their way through.
This method might be the easiest. Snake-A-Way is the only EPA registered granule repellant on the market, and works on both poisonous and non-poisonous snakes. Using gloves, simply sprinkle the appropriate amount around the perimeter of your yard or garden and reapply when you can no longer detect an odor. This repellant is composed of naphthalene and sulfur, and is said to be 91% effective at deterring garter snakes and rattle snakes. It works by confusing the snake's senses without physically harming them. According to customer reviews, it is relatively effective but also has an unpleasant odor.