7 hacks to stop birds from pooping on your patio

Patio area with comfortable seating and parasol
(Image credit: Shutterstock)

I’m all for encouraging birds into my garden. As I write this article, with my patio doors wide open, I can hear the tranquil sound of birdsong in the background. However, the obvious flip side of that equation is that when they cast their droppings on my patio and garden furniture — well, I don’t feel quite as relaxed. 

Although droppings can look unsightly (and are tough to clean) when they land on patio paving, decking or garden furniture, there are ways to discourage them from doing their business without banishing them altogether. 

Birds actually play a big part in our yards. Apart from the enjoyment of watching different species fly in and feed from bird feeders or flap their wings as they drink and cool down in a bird bath, they do a grand job at pest control. What’s more, besides eating grubs and munching on other pests, they feed on nectar and aid pollination.

So, rather than rueing your yard of birds completely, here are some top tips on how to prevent them from pooping on your garden furniture and seating areas. 

1.  Be careful where you hang bird feeders 

Great tits feeding on a bird feeder

(Image credit: Shutterstock)

There’s no need to discourage birds from your yard  —  the trick is in knowing how to prevent them from pooping in areas where you want to sit.

I have two bird feeders in my yard, which I hang from the branches of an ornamental tree. Luckily, a flower bed sits below the tree’s canopy, so any droppings land in the flower bed rather than on my patio. 

By keeping bird feeders away from seating areas, you can still enjoy watching the birdlife in your yard without having to clean up their mess.

2.  Add some scent 

Bright green leaves of peppermint

(Image credit: Shutterstock)

Even though your garden may already be full of fragrant flowers, especially in the spring and summer when everything is blooming, you can introduce some further scent to repel birds from your seating areas. 

How to make a peppermint spray

Peppermint essential oil in labeled bottle with fresh peppermint on the side

(Image credit: Shutterstock)

Mix 14 drops of peppermint oil with 14 drops of lemon oil, adding ½ cup of white vinegar and ½ cup of water. 

Birds detest strong, intense scents like those found in essential oils, such as peppermint, eucalyptus, lavender, and citronella. You can make a spray containing essential oils to distribute around your seating area or light a candle to keep birds at a distance when you’re entertaining. However, if using a spray, the scent will fade, so you'll need to use it regularly if you want to keep birds at bay in the long-term.

Top tip
Burning a citronella candle will also help ward off pesky mosquitoes.

3. Clear up uneaten food

Sparrow on a garden table eating crumbs

(Image credit: Shutterstock)

Birds will quickly swoop in and grab a quick meal if you leave crumbs and leftover food about. Ensure you wipe over any tables and sweep up your patio and decking to keep them clear of tiny morsels that the birds will relish. If not, you'll be sending them an open invitation and they may leave behind more than they take!

4.  Introduce reflective surfaces 

Shiny CD hanging from a tree branch in sunlight

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Bright, reflective surfaces naturally deter birds, so hanging light-reflective objects can keep them away from sitting areas. While suspending unwanted CDs and aluminium cans will work, they may not be the look you’re going for in your outdoor seating areas.

Instead, opt for decorative ornaments like small hanging mirrors and sun catchers or try some reflective Bird Scare Discs ($17 at Amazon).

5. Go undercover

White gazebo

(Image credit: Amazon)

Rather than giving the birds free rein of your patio areas, where they can hop on and off at their leisure, an awning, canopy or large parasol, will put them off. Instead of having a direct landing path, they will have an obstacle to negotiate first.

While some patio awnings can be attached directly to an outside wall and pulled out when needed, they are only practical if your patio or decking area is adjacent to your home. If your patio area is further down your garden, there are plenty of other options available. Choose from gazebos, outdoor canopies, and patio umbrellas.

Top tip
For added protection against the birds, add a mirror garland to the edge of your chosen cover, like this reflective mirror garland ($30, Amazon).  

Kozyard 15ft Patio Umbrella: $126 @ Amazon

Kozyard 15ft Patio Umbrella: $126 @ Amazon
This oversized, rectangular patio umbrella offers excellent coverage over your patio furniture and is available in dark blue or dark brown. It features a power coated 1.9 inch steel pole, with 12 anti-rust steel ribs, giving strength and durability.

6. Keep your patio and decking clean

Cleaning a patio with water and a broom

(Image credit: Shutterstock)

Birds are attracted to a dirty and grimy patio or decking area. They see it as a feast in waiting where they can find a good meal. To keep them at a distance, ensure you clean your patio and seal your decking every few years with a protective oil. Apart from protecting the wood from moisture and UV damage, decking oil will discourage the birds from landing. 

7.  Plant a decoy

Owl predator decoy in garden

(Image credit: Shutterstock)

Planting a decoy is one easy method of deterring the birds from your seating areas. Owls make a good choice for a decoy as birds view them as predators and will keep their distance. For a life-like predator, opt for an owl decoy with a rotating head, like this fake owl by Hedoc ($21 at Amazon).

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Camilla Sharman
Staff Writer, Homes

Camilla Sharman has worked in publishing and marketing for over 30 years and has covered a wide range of sectors within the business and consumer industries both as a feature, content, and freelance writer.  

As a business journalist, Camilla has researched articles for many different sectors from the jewellery industry to finance and tech, charities, and the arts. Whatever she’s covered, she enjoys delving deep and learning the ins and out of different topics, then conveying her research within engaging content that informs the reader. In her spare time, when she’s not in her kitchen experimenting with a new recipe, you’ll find her keeping fit at the gym. In the pool, stretching at a yoga class, or on a spin bike, exercise is her escape time. She also loves the great outdoors and if she’s not pottering about in her garden, she’ll be jumping on her bike for a gentle cycle ride.