When we moved into our house, the yard was a bit of a disaster. It was uneven, full of garbage, and devoid of pretty much any landscaping. We spent a lot of time our first summer in the house getting things looking good and enjoying our new backyard space. Unfortunately, we quickly discovered one of the downfalls of living in the city: rats. These suckers are everywhere in Chicago and warmer winters have only increased their numbers. Even worse, a pile of cinder blocks in the neighboring apartment complex was providing them the perfect place to nest and they would constantly use our yard as a pathway between their home and whatever else it is rats runs around doing. This meant that they tore the hell out of our grass, dug holes, and were generally just super nasty reasons not to go outside.
Finally, we couldn’t take it anymore and decided to do something to keep them out. Step one was to poison and trap as many as we could. Now, I’m an animal lover, but rats are seriously dangerous pests and as much as I feel bad killing them, I also don’t want them in my yard. Step two was to make our yard pretty hard to use as a passageway. We installed a big planter using concrete blocks and soil. The back edge is what helps keep the rats out, however. It’s not only lined with garden fabric to keep the soil in, but an incredibly heavy gauge wire that’s pretty much impossible to chew through.
As a bonus, we also get more room to plant things in our yard! The new planter is home to mostly flowers but also a few herbs including thyme, dill, and camomile.
We’ve really enjoyed it aesthetically and even better, we haven’t seen a single rat in our yard since we put it in. Win-win!