Maximising Your Garden’s Yield Through Pest Prevention

Gardening can be hard but rewarding work, but if pesky animals are enjoying the fruits of your labour before you can, don’t worry. Dan Hancock, Managing Director at wire mesh and netting company Mesh Direct, shares his expert tips to keep pests away from your garden and maximise its yield. 

Maximising Your Garden's Yield Through Pest Prevention

Growing your own fruit, vegetables, and flowers in your garden isn’t just a fun and mindful hobby. Cultivating your own produce and blooms can feel incredibly rewarding and can even help reduce your environmental impact. For one, you can minimise transportation emissions associated with shop-bought goods as well as cut down on your food bill — especially in times of current economic strain. The more you can get out of your crops, the greater the benefits too.

While fresh fruits and vegetables are a tasty addition to your meals, they are also for many common UK garden pests, who also find your homegrown delights an appetising prospect. And although some may not cause detrimental harm to your plants, they can eat the food you’ve worked so hard to grow! Others can even eat your plants down to the ground. Luckily, there are some steps you can take to deter pests and maximise your garden’s yield. 

An extra benefit of growing your own produce at home is that you have full control over your pest control methods and can adopt organic and eco-friendly pest deterrents instead of pesticides, such as mesh and netting. Here, we’ll share the best plants to grow for maximum yield and the humane ways to protect them from a variety of pests. 

Best high-yield plants for your garden

No matter what you’re growing your garden for, whether it’s to grow delicious fruit and vegetables to enjoy or to cultivate beautiful blooms for homemade bouquets, you’ll no doubt want to get the most out of your efforts. A bountiful garden is not only cost-effective and beautiful but can also help local wildlife like bees and butterflies. 

To maximise yield, look for plants that grow quickly and can offer multiple harvests in one season or plants that offer an abundance of produce in one harvest. Below are some options, but don’t forget to take a look at the tips for setting up a vegetable garden, another one of our Solo Living articles.


  • Berries such as strawberries, blackberries, and currants grow plenty of fruits per harvest and should provide fruit in the first year.
  • Fruit trees such as apple, plum, cherry, and pear trees are a long-term investment but can provide abundant fruit once they’ve matured. 


  • Leafy greens such as lettuce, spinach, and kale are fast-growing and produce multiple harvests in one season.
  • Radishes can grow very quickly and don’t need much space. Plant them between your other crops and harvest after about four weeks.
  • Tomatoes, particularly cherry tomatoes, can produce an abundance of crops in one yield. As they grow on vines, they can also use vertical space well. Just be sure to support your vines with plant climbing mesh or tensioning wire as they grow.
  • Runner beans are very common in UK gardens for a reason. Like tomatoes, they’re good space-saving climbers, so they can produce a relatively large harvest in a small area. 


  • Shrubs such as camelia, lilac, hydrangea, and rose bushes are relatively easy to grow and can provide an abundance of beautifully coloured and scented blooms in the spring and summer.
  • Winter bushes like holly can provide greenery in the colder months.
  • Herbs are not only tasty but many plants, such as lavender, rosemary, chives, and chamomile, grow pretty flowers that are also edible.

Most common garden pests

While having a diverse range of wildlife in your garden is great to see, some critters can cause havoc to your fruit and vegetable patch. Some of the most troublesome garden pests we have here in the UK include insects, birds, squirrels, foxes, and rabbits, each with its own characteristic patterns of behaviour. Identifying which pests you have in your garden is your first step in figuring out how to prevent them. 

  • Insects: Insects such as aphids, caterpillars, beetles, and slugs can be a particular pain for garden crops. Aphids feed on plant sap, causing leaves to curl and distort and causing a much lower crop yield, while caterpillars can devour foliage and fruits. Beetles may skeletonise leaves, leaving behind a lacy pattern, and slugs and snails may cause irregular holes in leaves and fruits.
  • Birds: Birds, such as pigeons, sparrows, and blackbirds, are notorious for pecking at ripening fruits and vegetables, such as strawberries, cherries, and tomatoes, leaving behind shallow indentations or holes. They may also target seeds, seedlings, and young shoots, causing damage to emerging crops.
  • Squirrels: While squirrels are mostly known to raid bird feeders, they can also damage crops in gardens. They may dig up newly planted bulbs, nibble on fruits and vegetables, and strip bark from trees and shrubs. Squirrels may also leave behind chewed fruits. 
  • Rabbits: Rabbits are notorious for nibbling on a wide range of garden plants, including vegetables, herbs, and flowers. They can cause significant damage to crops by eating leaves, stems, and roots. Rabbits typically gnaw crops right to the ground.

Foxes: Foxes mainly work at night and can cause damage to gardens by digging up newly planted areas and creating dens in lawns and flower beds. They can also trample over plants and leave faeces in your garden.

Best pest prevention techniques

Maximising Your Garden's Yield Through Pest Prevention

You can employ various deterrent techniques to protect your plants and crops from garden pests. As always, prevention is better than cure, and if you’re just starting out on your gardening journey, it’s best to employ as many prevention methods as you can to keep pests away before they can cause any problems. If you notice any signs of pests already in your garden, you’ll want to act quickly to minimise the damage they cause. Many of these deterrents can stop pests from returning if you do spot signs of them in your garden.

Perimeter fencing

Physical barriers such as wire mesh are an effective and humane prevention technique that can also be quite cost-effective. Unlike pesticides that need to be reapplied, fences can be put up and left in place while continuing to do their job. Installing secure fencing or barriers around the perimeter of your garden can deter a range of large animals and also improve the overall security of your property. 

For rabbits, you can either use a 31mm hole wire netting, or a 25mm hole lightweight welded mesh will also do the job. To keep foxes out, we would suggest a medium-weight welded mesh with a 2mm thick wire and 50mm hole. Be sure to inspect your fencing regularly to ensure animals or the weather hasn’t damaged it. 

Fruit cages

Fruit cages can keep fruits and vegetables safe from birds and squirrels. For bird-proofing, choose a light-weight plastic or wire netting or welded wire mesh with 13mm holes. If you also have a problem with squirrels, you should choose a heavier-weight welded mesh with a 1.6mm thick wire and 13mm holes to keep out birds and squirrels. The heavier wire will prevent the squirrels from chewing through. Green PVC-coated mesh not only blends into your garden setting easier but can offer additional corrosion resistance and durability against the elements — perfect in UK weather. Again, be sure to check your mesh regularly for signs of wear and tear.

Tree guards

Due to their size, deterring pests away from fruit trees can be a little bit trickier. Tree guards can protect saplings and mature trees from bark damage caused by rabbits and deer. To make your tree guard, you can form a section of wire mesh into a cylinder around the tree and secure it with cable ties. 

Organic pesticides

While simple barrier methods can be effective method against birds, squirrels, rabbits, and foxes, insects aren’t as easy to deter. Although an insect mesh can help keep pests away from your plants, they can also deter helpful insects like bees and butterflies. So, organic pesticides or repellents such as neem oil are often the best course of action. You could also try making your own natural pesticide made from crushed garlic cloves steeped in water. This not only acts as a repellent against aphids and mites but may also help deter rabbits when applied to foliage. Just be careful when using garlic if you have pets, as it can be toxic to dogs.

Don’t let pests enjoy the rewards of all your hard work. Adopting these pest prevention methods lets you get the most out of each harvest every season. Be sure to take a look around the Solo Living site for even more tips for living sustainably.

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Dan Hancock

Dan Hancock, is Managing Director at wire mesh and netting company Mesh Direct, shares his expert tips to keep pets away from your garden and maximise its yield.

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