Rat and mouse proofing your home and garden

Picture of a front door with a driveway and greenery

As spring turns into summer, we move out in our gardens to soak up the sun, listen to the swallows swooping overhead and generally commune with nature. But there may be some nature lurking in the undergrowth that you certainly don’t want to share your time with, let alone allow in your home.

Over the spring months, mice and rats may well have been breeding around your garden, hidden by the plants you have let overgrown. They may also have enjoyed being sheltered beneath the warmth of your shed or found a compost bin to make their home, safe from the frosty mornings and the neighbourhood cats.

Picture of a garden shed surrounded by plants

Whether you try to do something about them or not, you are always going to come across rodents and other pests in the garden, regardless of whether your home is in the city or in the countryside. Traps or poison may relieve a problem for a time, but it won’t stop them from breeding elsewhere, only to then move into your garden when the conditions are right. Then, they’ll attempt to make your home their own too!

The best thing you can do is to prevent the conditions pests live and breed in. First make sure that the dark corners where rats or mice may lurk and breed are kept clear of overhanging plants, grass clippings and any rotting vegetation. Plug up any gaps beneath your shed (where you may get foxes nesting too), make sure paving slabs are secure, lawns edged neatly and rockeries kept weeded.

Picture of a tidy lawn and home

You will also want to make sure that your compost bin is kept tidy as nothing attracts pests like rotten food and rotting vegetation. This means cleaning up after al fresco dining or barbecues as well. Clear away low bowls of water left out for dogs too. Rats need a lot of water and a ready supply will make them feel at home.

Use bird-feeders that do not litter your garden with seed as that is attractive to pests and start to think about pests as you would about burglars. Make your home a less attractive proposition than other homes down the street and think about ways to stop them from getting in. If anyone in the street has rodents then make sure it is not you.


When it comes to your home, the first and most important line of defence is your door. It may be attractive to leave the back door open and let the breeze run through the house, but while you are not looking it is easy to undo your good work by simply letting pests skip over your doorstep and into the kitchen.

Remember that mice can get through any gap that you can fit a pencil through, so look at any holes in brickwork, pointing or pipes around your home when mouse proofing your home. Small holes can be stuffed with wire wool or an old scourer to stop pests from getting through. You may need to put mesh behind air bricks or other ventilation that leads directly into your home.

Picture of an open front door

You should also make sure that there are no small gaps around your door or door frame. Get a builder in to deal with any gaps with filler and expanding foam, or to install vinyl seals around the door. Look at where pipes enter your home. These are often the way that mice get in. Make sure these holes are sealed with either filler or pieces of wire wool.

Rodents can sniff out your food storage cupboards with ease and they will head for them if you give them the chance. Keep your bins, both in and outside your house, cleaned and emptied regularly during the summer months and never leave any food out if you can avoid it.

Keeping a cat is still one of the best ways of rat and mouse proofing. But if you notice droppings (especially large ones) in your home over an extended period then do call your local authority or a pest control expert. They will be able to identify and deal with the problem, as well as advise you on further prevention methods.

Iain Aitch

Iain is a London-based writer who works as a journalist for a number of newspapers and magazines. He has also written two books, one of which is a hilarious lexicon about Britishness – Iain is a Brit through and through!

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  1. The D-Con ultra set mouse trap works very well. But there is a weak spot in the trap, its the v-latch that sets the tongue. I have 4 frliay new traps and all 4 of the latches are broken. And if the trap goes off accidently it won’t belong before it breaks. I hope they can find a way to strengthen the latches.

  2. Sometimes rodents can be very destructive. It’s become difficult job to catch them. In most of the time mouse traps also don’t work. Rodent can be very harmful as they carry numerous diseases. I prefer to call rodent prevention experts in such condition rather dealing with them by myself.

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