Summary: Having a couple of garter snakes in your garden is good. Garter snakes eat lots of insects and unwanted rodents and they keep pretty much to themselves. But, if you have a phobia about things that slither, then you'd better read on.
Snake repellents like Dr. T's Snake A-Way Repellent can be effective if you put down enough product and repeat often. A surer way to remove snakes from an area is to capture them on Snake Guard glue boards. You can release the snake from the glue board by pouring vegetable oil on the snake.
Garter snakes are our most common garden snake found abundantly from Canada to Central America. To have a garter snake or two in the garden is good. These non-poisonous snakes eat pest insects, mosquito larvae, slugs, snails, crickets, rats, mice, voles and even other snakes which may be poisonous. But, if snakes freak you out and you can't walk in the lawn knowing snakes are present, then here are some steps you need to take.
First, mow your lawn often and don't allow grass to grow up along the sides of your house or other structures. Snakes seek cover for protection and tall grasses provide the perfect hiding place. Now, look around your property and
start eliminating other snake hiding places.
That perfectly stacked wood pile needs to be away from the house and sitting on some type of stand. It cannot be sitting directly on the ground. And, how about those beautiful piles of decorative rocks you worked so hard on? Yep! Those are a great den for snakes. How much did you say you hate snakes? If you're registering a “10” on the “I hate snakes” scale, the rocks have go to go. Trim bushes so low lying branches are removed. Remember, snakes love the security of those bushes. Piles of leaves and any other debris need to be removed, too. I never said this would be easy.
Now, let's talk about things that snakes eat. You will need to pay special attention to making sure you are not attracting food that snakes like. Things like rodents and insects need to be controlled around your house. Make sure you are not attracting rodents. Keep trash in good-sealing trash containers. Seal or screen places where mice or squirrels can hide like under porches and in garages. You'll also have to consider treating around your foundation with an insecticide or other insect repellent. Snakes also like to eat crickets, grasshoppers and other insects that tend to migrate toward the cool, moist perimeter foundations of houses. Keep the snake food out of your garden and you won't have snakes.
That's a lot of work to keep your snake phobia in check, but it's what needs to be done. I can assure you that snake repellents will not give you total control. Only the elimination of shelter and food will make snakes find new homes.