how to keep deer out of garden

Michelle Hill

How to Keep Deer Out of Garden

Gardening is a cherished pastime for many, but dealing with unwanted guests can be frustrating. One of the most common challenges faced by gardeners is how to keep deer out of the garden. These graceful creatures may be beautiful to admire from a distance, but when it comes to your beloved plants, they can wreak havoc. In this comprehensive guide, we will explore various methods, techniques, and strategies to effectively deter deer from feasting on your garden. From natural remedies to physical barriers, we’ve got you covered.

Understanding the Habits and Behavior of Deer

Before we delve into the solutions, it is essential to understand the habits and behavior of deer. By gaining insight into their instincts and preferences, we can devise effective strategies to keep them away from our gardens.

What Attracts Deer to Your Garden?

Deer are herbivores and are naturally drawn to areas with an abundance of vegetation. They are particularly fond of tender leaves, blossoms, and fruits. Additionally, certain plant varieties, such as roses and hostas, are like magnets for deer. Understanding what attracts deer to your garden is the first step in deterring them successfully.

When Are Deer Most Active?

Deer are crepuscular animals, meaning they are most active during dawn and dusk. These twilight hours offer a combination of optimal feeding conditions and reduced risk of exposure to predators. If you notice increased deer activity during specific times of the day, consider adjusting your deterrent strategies accordingly.

How Far Can Deer Travel?

Deer are known for their impressive range and mobility. They can travel several miles in search of food, especially during seasons when natural forage is limited. Keep this in mind when designing your deer deterrent system – a determined deer might go to great lengths to access your garden.

Natural Deterrents to Keep Deer at Bay

When it comes to deterring deer, many gardeners prefer natural methods. These remedies are not only environmentally friendly but are also safe for the deer and other wildlife. Let’s explore some of the most effective natural deterrents:

1. Plant Deer-Resistant Species

One way to minimize deer damage in your garden is to choose plant varieties that deer are less likely to find appealing. Some options include:

  • Lavender
  • Rosemary
  • Daffodils
  • Marigolds
  • Salvia

By incorporating these deer-resistant species into your garden, you can decrease the overall attraction for deer.

2. Utilize Deer-Repellent Plants

In addition to deer-resistant species, certain plants possess natural compounds that repel deer due to their strong scent or taste. Consider including the following plants as part of your garden:

  • Mint
  • Rue
  • Lily of the Valley
  • Mexican Marigold
  • Yarrow

These plants emit odors or contain chemicals that deer dislike, making them an effective deterrent.

3. Create Physical Barriers

Fencing is an efficient way to keep deer out of your garden. However, it’s important to choose the right type of fence and ensure it is properly installed. Some effective fencing options include:

  • Wire mesh fence
  • Electric fence
  • Deer netting
  • Wooden fence
  • PVC fence

Before installing a fence, assess the height requirements and consider burying the bottom edge to prevent deer from digging under it.

4. Use Natural Repellents

Various natural repellents can discourage deer from entering your garden. These products typically employ ingredients that mimic predator scents or emit strong odors. Some common options include:

  • Pepper spray
  • Blood meal
  • Garlic spray
  • Egg-based repellents
  • Soap bars

Apply these repellents strategically around your garden to create a “no trespassing” sign for deer.

5. Install Motion-Activated Deterrents

Modern technology offers innovative solutions for keeping deer at bay. Motion-activated deterrents are designed to startle deer by emitting sudden noises, flashing lights, or bursts of water. These devices effectively mimic the presence of a predator, deterring deer from approaching your garden.

Physical Barriers: Fencing Options to Protect Your Garden

When natural deterrents are ineffective or impractical, physical barriers provide a reliable solution for keeping deer out of your garden. Here are some popular fencing options:

1. Wire Mesh Fence

A wire mesh fence is a sturdy and reliable option for keeping deer away from your precious plants. Choose a fence with small enough gaps to prevent deer from squeezing through, and ensure it is at least 8 feet tall to discourage them from jumping over it.

2. Electric Fence

Electric fences deliver a harmless shock to deer when they come into contact with the wires. This deterrent is highly effective and recommended for larger gardens or areas with high deer populations. Consult local regulations and safety guidelines before installing an electric fence.

3. Deer Netting

Deer netting is a lightweight and affordable option for smaller gardens. This polypropylene mesh is easy to install and provides a physical barrier that prevents deer from accessing your plants.

4. Wooden Fence

A traditional wooden fence can be an aesthetically pleasing option for keeping deer out. Ensure the fence is at least 8 feet tall and consider adding slanting extensions or additional deterrents to prevent deer from attempting to jump over it.

5. PVC Fence

PVC fences are durable and low-maintenance, making them a popular choice for many gardeners. Opt for a fence with minimal gaps or slats, ensuring it is tall enough to discourage deer from attempting to breach it.

FAQs About Keeping Deer Out of the Garden

Q: How high should a fence be to keep deer out?

A: To effectively deter deer, a fence should be at least 8 feet tall. This height prevents deer from easily jumping over the barrier.

Q: Are there any plants that deer won’t eat?

A: Yes, there are several plant varieties that deer are less likely to eat. Some of these include lavender, rosemary, daffodils, marigolds, and salvia.

Q: Do deer hate the smell of mint?

A: Yes, deer are not fond of the strong scent of mint. Planting mint around your garden can help deter them from entering.

Q: How often should I reapply natural repellents?

A: The frequency of natural repellent application depends on various factors such as weather conditions and product type. Read the instructions on the repellent packaging for specific guidance.

Q: Will motion-activated deterrents harm deer?

A: No, motion-activated deterrents are designed to startle deer rather than harm them. These devices emit harmless stimuli such as noises or bursts of water.

Q: Are electric fences safe for pets?

A: While electric fences are effective for deterring deer, caution should be exercised when considering the safety of pets. Consult with a professional to ensure proper installation and to establish safety measures.


Dealing with deer in your garden can be a challenge, but with the right strategies, it can be overcome. Whether you opt for natural deterrents, physical barriers, or a combination of both, understanding deer behaviors and preferences is key. By implementing these expert tips and techniques, you can reclaim your garden and protect your plants from hungry deer. Remember, a little effort and creativity can go a long way in keeping deer out of your garden.

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