Having unwanted animals like deer, rabbits, raccoons, or stray cats in your yard can be very frustrating. They eat your plants, dig holes in your lawn, leave droppings, and cause damage. While fences may keep some animals out, a motion activated sprinkler is an effective and humane way to deter most animals from entering parts of your yard. I’ll walk you through the complete process of choosing, building, and installing your own motion activated sprinkler system to keep critters away from your property.

How Motion Activated Sprinkler Animal Deterrents Work

A motion activated sprinkler, also called a scarecrow sprinkler, is a device that senses when an animal has entered the protected area. Using infrared and microwave motion sensors, it detects the body heat and movement of an approaching animal.

Once triggered, the sprinkler activates and sprays water in that direction, startling the animal and deterring it from going any further. The sudden burst of water acts as an unpleasant surprise that scares away the animal. With consistent use, critters learn to avoid the areas protected by the sprinkler.

Choosing the Best Location to Install Your Motion Sprinkler

Determining the optimal spot to install your motion sprinkler is key for effectively keeping animals away from specific areas. Consider the following factors when selecting the location:

How to Build a Motion Activated Sprinkler System

Constructing a motion activated sprinkler deterrent involves connecting a few key components. Follow these steps:

Supplies Needed

Assembly Instructions

Follow these steps to assemble your motion activated sprinkler:

  1. Attach the timer to the outdoor faucet and connect the garden hose. Set the timer according to the schedule you want the sprinkler active.

  2. Insert the sprinkler spike or pole into the ground at the chosen site. For stability, bury at least 12 inches of the pole in the ground.

  3. Mount the sprinkler head to the top of the pole with the adjustable hose clamp at the preferred height. Ensure the clamp is secure.

  4. Connect the garden hose to the sprinkler's water input.

  5. Position and angle the sprinkler head to fully cover the area to be protected. Test the sensor field using your body heat prior to activating the timer.

  6. Turn on the water and activate the timer. The motion activated sprinkler will now operate automatically!

Optimizing Your Motion Activated Sprinkler

Once installed, tweaking the sprinkler setup and settings will increase effectiveness:

Troubleshooting Issues With Your Motion Sprinkler

If your motion activated sprinkler isn't deterring animals as expected, try these tips:


Installing a motion activated sprinkler is an easy DIY project that provides an effective, harmless way to repel unwanted critters from your yard. Strategically place and adjust the sprinkler to deter animal intruders from gardens, landscaping, and other areas prone to damage. With a bit of tweaking, you'll have a reliable system keeping your property free of pesky animals.