If you have a garden or similar outdoor space to enjoy, you might have noticed that you’re sharing it with an army of slugs.

While pretty harmless, slugs can leave slimy trails on your garden furniture and patio plus they might even start to munch on the leaves of your flowers, fruits and vegetables.

Are you wondering how to get rid of slugs in your garden? Look no further as Country Living has shared some tips for deterring them but without harming them.

Slugs can eat the leaves on plants in your gardenSlugs can eat the leaves on plants in your garden (Image: Getty)

How to get rid of slugs in your garden without harming them

Egg shells

While egg shells are usually something you’d come across in the kitchen, they can also be used in your garden.

When you next crack some eggs, save the eggshells and face them spiky side up near your plants as slugs won’t go over these because they don’t like the rough feeling.

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Sand or gravel

You can also make a rough area around your plants using sand or gravel, meaning slugs will find it a less attractive place to roam.

Rosie Fyles, Head Gardner at Chiswick House and Gardens, told Country Living that plenty of gravel is a good way to keep slugs away from your plants.

She said: “I’ve worked in several historic kitchen gardens, criss-crossed by gravel paths and it is so uncomfortable for slugs, it keeps them away. Occasionally, they might seek respite from the sharp, uneven surface under hedges, but they do not venture further. 

“In my own garden, I installed gravel areas a few years ago and I have invested in horticultural grit, which I put in a protective ring around anything very young or tender.

However, in truth, I’m very wary of planting anything in my shady, north-facing garden that is at the top of the slug hit list. My one Hosta is in a pot, on a bench, surrounded by gravel with a grit pot dressing." 

Companion planting

Another tip is to plant something slugs don’t like next to something they do like which is called companion planting.

The strong scent and textured leaves of plants like roses, ferns, grasses and hydrangeas keep slugs away too.

Shannen Godwin, gardening expert at J Parker's, said: "With slugs offering a benefit to the wider ecosystem and the fact that slug pellets can endanger other helpful garden critters, winter is a great time to plan how you'll manage slugs come spring. 

"Whether it's creating a slug-free zone and accepting slugs in other areas of the garden, or focusing on planting slug-resistant plants to deter the pests, there are lots of things to consider now, before slugs take hold in spring." 

Slugs also don’t like plants such as chives, garlic, geraniums, foxgloves, fennel, mint with a strong smell and the Allium family.

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Slug predators

Another way to naturally keep slugs off your garden is to do things that attract their predators like frogs and newts.

Country Living explains that any plants located near a pond are at an advantage since frogs, newts and ducks are all predators of slugs and all like to be in or near ponds.

Rosie added: “When the slugs do find a way, I remind myself that even they are part of the wildlife balance in a garden so my discomfort at my plant damage is actually a bird’s next meal… I keep the bird bath water fresh and the feeder stocked.” 


Gardeners can use natural mulch to help keep the slugs away.

Shannen said: "Mulching is a fantastic way to protect plants from slugs, especially if you create a sharp mulch barrier around plants”.

She added: "Sharp grit, ash and bark can help to ringfence your plants, and most slugs will not cross over the barrier. Wood pellets, cat litter and coffee grounds are other mulch materials you can try.

“However, remember that while this can prevent slugs on the surface, slugs bury underground so it won't eliminate the risk entirely." 


When it’s a hot day, you could put damp newspaper down which will attract slugs as they look for some shelter from the heat.

When the day is over, lift up the newspaper and the slugs and move them away from your plants.

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Seaweed from the beach can be used to mulch and keep slugs away, plus it’s good for your plants.

However, you should make sure you’re fine to take it from a beach as it’s illegal to take things like sand and pebbles from beaches.


You can even use your own hair to keep slugs from your garden.

Grab your hairbrush or go to your dog’s bed to find a bunch of hair that you can then line the plants with, creating a barrier.