A woman returned home to find a herd of escaped cows locked in her garden.
Council workers herded the 12 cattle into the nearest “secure-gated garden” they could find when they were found loose on a busy road in Darlington.
But the homeowner, who wishes to remain anonymous, told the Northern Echo the cows ate and trampled “all my plants”.
Darlington Borough Council said its staff did a “great job” and has arranged to tidy and replant the garden.
A road sweeper found the herd loose in Coniscliffe Road just after 09:00 BST and with the help of his colleagues, herded them into the garden out of the way of traffic.
Nick Wallis, Darlington Borough Council’s cabinet member for leisure, local environment and transport, said: “Without their quick-thinking who knows what could have happened – Coniscliffe Road is a very busy road and thanks to them no-one was injured.”
He said the homeowner was out at the time, but confirmed the council will plant bulbs and sow grass seeds after she said her garden was “ruined”.
It is believed the gate on the field where the cows were being kept was damaged overnight, allowing them to escape.