Small rodents can quickly destroy a garden.

How to Protect Your Raised Bed Gardens From Burrowing Rodents

by Jenny Harrington

Gophers, voles and ground squirrels love to feast on the succulent roots of your favorite plants. Although the sides of a raised bed may slow them down, these pests will quickly learn to dig in from beneath the bed. Fortunately, the box-like structure of a raised bed makes it simple to protect your garden. Hardware cloth, a wire mesh sometimes used for fencing, provides a sturdy barrier that protects your plants from digging rodents without sacrificing the aesthetics of the bed.

Remove the soil from the raised bed and place it on a tarp or in a wheelbarrow outside of the garden area. Remove the soil to the depth of the raised bed or to an 8-inch depth in deep raised beds.

Measure the interior of the bed with a measuring tape. Cut a piece of hardware cloth to these dimensions, using wire snips. Use hardware cloth with one-half-inch mesh opening.

Lay the sheet of hardware cloth inside the raised bed. The cloth prevents rodents from burrowing up into the bed.

Place the soil back into the bed, covering the hardware cloth. Plant the bed as desired.

Cut a second length of hardware cloth to fit the bed. Cut holes in the wire for the plants to grow through. Lay the wire over the bed and cover it with a thin layer of mulch. This prevents squirrels and other rodents from digging down into the bed from the top.

Items you will need

  • Shovel
  • Tarp or wheelbarrow
  • Measuring tape
  • Hardware cloth
  • Wire snips
  • Mulch


  • Wear gloves when working with soil to avoid soilborne pathogens. The gloves also protect your hands from the wire when you are cutting and handling the hardware cloth.

About the Author

Jenny Harrington has been a freelance writer since 2006. Her published articles have appeared in various print and online publications. Previously, she owned her own business, selling handmade items online, wholesale and at crafts fairs. Harrington's specialties include small business information, crafting, decorating and gardening.

Photo Credits

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