Your patio or deck area should be a place of refuge for you — I’ve often joked to folks that my outdoor space is like a second church! However, if there are pests of any type in your yard that come near that deck or patio, it is time to take action. Now, it’s one thing to have field mice, worms, wasps, and cicadas in your yard.
However, if your outdoor space is home to dangerous animals such as snakes, your sense of urgency is heightened. The good news is that it’s not as tricky as you think to solve your problem. Grab your copy of Indiana Jones, we’re going to explore how to keep snakes away from your patio.
First, let’s take care of the basics.
Take Away Their Food Supply
Just like humans, snakes have to eat.
If you take away their food supply, the chances are excellent that they’ll stay away from your patio area and move on to another home (one that has their kind of food). But what do snakes like to eat? Snakes are pretty far up the food chain, so you’ll need to get rid of their food and their food’s food.
For instance, snakes love insects and rodents, so using a homemade rat repellent can go a long way to reduce their menu options.
Since items such as bird seed, bird baths, and nest boxes can attract rodents, it’s a good idea to get rid of these as well if you have a problem with snakes in your yard.
Getting rid of any nuts or fruits that have fallen into your yard and storing your compost in a sealed container can also help keep away the rodents, and both of these measures are simple to implement.
Don’t Give Them a Place to Hide
Snakes rarely spend time out in the open, so if you get rid of their hiding places they are not likely to be happy with your yard. Where do snakes hide? Well, they can hide anywhere, but here are some common locations:
- Wood piles
- Rock & brick piles
- Dense brush / shrubbery
- Underneath patio cushions
- Beneath sheds
For starters, you can keep all your wood piles at least two feet above the ground. Snakes love the quietness and darkness of a pile of wood, but they usually have a hard time getting to an elevated stack of firewood or timber. If it’s too much effort, they’ll simply go somewhere else that offers them a nice place to hide.
I recommend picking up a firewood rack if you don’t already have one.
Rock & Brick Piles
If there are any large piles of rocks around your outdoor space, it’s likely snakes are inside of it. Not only do the rocks retain the heat of the day, making the piles an attractive nighttime destination. Most rocks are naturally heavier than wood, so storing them off the ground often isn’t an option. You’ll just have to get rid of the pile of rocks.
Dense Brush / Shrubbery
Snakes love to get underneath dense brush and shrubbery. Your choices here are either to burn it, clear it, or trim it low enough to not be a good habitat.
Underneath Patio Cushions
You may not like to hear it, but snakes have been known to sneak underneath patio cushions during the day to get away from the heat of the sun. Likewise, if you have a dense patio cushion that retains heat, they’ll be attracted to it’s warmth in the nighttime.
If you find that snakes are using your patio furniture as a party pad, take your cushions off until the problem is solved.
Beneath Sheds / Outbuildings
I’ve found more yard snakes underneath my storage shed than anywhere else. Luckily, this is actually an easy problem to solve. You can simply put up chicken-wire around the foundation. There’s still the risk that they’ll tunnel underneath, but a simple visual inspection can reduce the risk.
Additionally, snake barriers are powerful and not much more expensive than chicken-wire. This is a good company.
Use Snake Repellent
Rat repellents exist and can be found in most hardware stores, but did you know there are also snake repellents that have the same effect?
Most hardware/feed stores have commercial snake repellents, but some folks prefer a more natural approach. Try mixing one ounce of clove oil with one ounce of cinnamon oil, then spray the solution on your home’s foundation and even on the plants in your yard. It won’t hurt the plants, but it will certainly keep the snakes away, since snakes hate the smell of both cloves and cinnamon.
Other natural snake repellents include mothballs, lemongrass plants, ammonia, and many others. You can find “recipes” everywhere on the Internet that tell you what ingredients to use and how much, so make sure you follow the directions exactly as they’re printed.
Keep in mind that some of these things are toxic to children and pets, so you should use caution when using these items in any type of snake repellent recipe.
Trim the Hedges
Of course, if you want to get back to basics and discover why snakes come into your yard in the first place, it is simpler than you think. For one thing, snakes come into your yard to eat and to stay safe. Remember, give them nothing to eat and nowhere to hide and they’ll likely leave. What is the easiest way to do this? By keeping your yard well-maintained!
Keeping your yard clean by pulling weeds and straightening up your flower beds, eliminating any type of debris sitting around in the yard, and making sure the vegetation in your yard doesn’t become too excessive are just a few things that will greatly increase the odds that the snakes will both go away and stay away. You can also make sure your grass stays nice and short because this will keep snakes out as well as rats and mice.
Trap them (if you can)
Of course, there are also snake traps you can buy and place in your yard, including around your patio or deck. You should always trap them and release them into an area that is far away from your home and considered part of their natural habitat. If you know where the snake den is, place the trap near there to get as many of them as possible. When you release them, take them into a wooded area and release them there.
Do Moth Balls Really Keep Snakes Away?
No, they don’t. It’s an old wives tale – mothballs have no effect no snakes.