Beautiful Garden vs Voles and Gophers

Jackie and Steve are my friends who live in Lake of the Pines in the California foothills. They built their house over 20 years ago and have been working on their garden all those years fighting with the voles and gophers.

Jackie is the gardener and Steve is the carpenter and laborer.

At the beginning they installed a lawn behind their house but then Dark Horse Golf Course was built on the other side of their back fence. The voles and gophers started coming into their yard making it difficult to have a nice lawn. They decided to remove the lawn and plant ornamental plants in January of 2023:

Steve operating the sod cutter to remove the lawn.

Now that the lawn was gone, Jackie could start designing and planting her new garden:

A lot of work went on between this picture and the previous picture: Digging, rototilling, setting the stepping stones, designing, buying and setting the plants.

Four months later this is what the former lawn looked like:

Six months later this is what the former lawn looked like:

The soil was so good and well prepared that the plants took off and created a jungle. The voles and gophers noticed this and came in and enjoyed the garden more than ever.

This is a hole made by voles. It is different than gopher holes which are always covered by a mound of soil.

Jackie didn’t want to use poisons on the ground because they have a dog, so she decided to replant using wire mesh baskets around the plants.

Jackie reports that the wire baskets are working well. They are made from a special type of metal that doesn’t rust. The only problem is the baskets cost more than the plants. The small roots can grow through the baskets but there are enough left inside to make the plants survive.

The other parts of the garden are doing well and look beautiful:

The pond and waterfall add movement and pleasant sound to the garden.

There are several sitting areas in the garden which invite you to rest and enjoy the outdoors:

Vegetables are grown in a fenced-in area in large galvanized horse troughs:

Here are some of the beautiful plants that Jackie grows in her garden:

Eden Rose


Breadseed Poppy (Papaver somniferum)

Double Clematis


Chondropetalum ‘El Campo’

Garden room built by Steve:

Jackie uses the greenhouse in the winter to start seeds for the spring garden:

In the end, Jackie & Steve have built and maintained a beautiful garden in spite of the voles and gophers.

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