The sod came in September. And so did the raccoons.
At first we thought it was a joke played on us by our friends. Every night, the lawn would get flipped over. We soon found out it was raccoons. Big city raccoons with no respect for your property. This is what the lawn tends to look like in the morning:
First was the sprinkler: a motion sensing sprinkler that would fire whenever it was dark and it sensed motion. This worked fairly well, although could not cover the entire yard (and, it turns out, we do not have sufficient water pressure to run more than one). Unfortunately September gave way to later months and got too cold to run it.
So we tried an ultrasonic repeller. That worked...for about a week. After two weeks the lawn directly in front of the repeller was ripped up, so the raccoons were clearly mocking us.
Next came the coyote urine. No, really, this is a thing you can buy. And it stinks. There is a wide variety of imaginative ways to apply this stuff the Internet People swear by. They're wrong. City Raccoon has never seen a coyote. I don't think a city raccoon even has predators: they're certainly not afraid of people.
Next up? Voices in the yard, according to a coworker. "They don't like the sound of voices. Put the radio on out there". So one waterproof speaker and an old clock radio tuned to NPR later, and now all I have is a bunch of better-educated raccoons.
Then came the search lights. Big, powerful motion activated lights focused right on the yard. That worked...for two days.
So we hired trappers to "humanely relocate" our problem raccoons. But city raccoons are smart. They consistently ate the bait out of the traps without springing them. I don't know how trapping works where you live, but in Seattle you pay the trappers to come out and reset the traps...each and every day the raccoons eat the bait. After a few weeks there was little hope we would catch anything, and we were several hundred dollars poorer. Bye bye traps.
That's when me, a credit card, and the internet got serious. I bought 1500 square feet of chicken wire and yard stakes. I'm covering the entire yard in chicken wire.
I predict it will last a week before the raccoons get in. What's your bet?
Update: This disaster actually works. It's labor intensive to put up, and you can't mow your lawn, but by the time the grass really needed to be mowed it was rooted down well enough that the raccoons couldn't dig it up. Problem solved. Anyone want a few yards of chicken wire?