The Best Deer Fencing to Protect Your Garden
Want to keep deer out of your yard and garden? Build a fence. Here are some of the best deer fence options.
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Buying a Deer Fence
If you don’t want deer in your yard and garden, raise a mountain lion. OK, that’s not a serious suggestion. But in the Santa Cruz mountains where I live, the mountain lion population fluctuates. And the years when they’re scarce are the worst for our landscape and garden.
We keep valuable plants in a fenced-in greenhouse. But that fencing needs yearly maintenance because deer are experts at finding breaches, jumping over sags and crawling underneath loose sections.
You can try to deter deer in several ways, including lining gardens with plants they don’t like, creating a rocky barrier around the garden they won’t walk on, or enlisting the services of a hyperactive dog with a loud bark. But deer fencing works best.
Deer aren’t the only pests attracted to your yard and garden, so you might want fencing that also keeps out rabbits and raccoons. Unfortunately, fencing won’t do much to deter squirrels, birds or gophers. Whether deer is your only concern or not, you have options.
Types of deer fences
- Mesh: Metal or plastic mesh is great if you want an inexpensive, easy-to-erect material that won’t hide the garden from view.
- Solid: A privacy fence made from wood, vinyl or composite slats or panels is one of the best for deterring deer. But it’s expensive and significantly alters the landscape. Building one can be a major project.
- Electric: This consists of one or several electrified wires.
- Invisible: One type consists of electrified posts baited with an attractant that trains deer to stay away. Another features see-through black mesh that blends seamlessly into the background.
Deer fence materials
- Polypropylene: Inexpensive and easy to erect, deer can’t get through it or under it, provided you keep it tight.
- Metal: Galvanized steel fencing is strong and long-lasting. Some mesh fencing is made from galvanized steel, and electric fencing consists of steel or aluminum wire. Although it’s more troublesome to put up, chain link fencing also keeps deer out if it’s high enough.
- Poly/Steel Combined: Chain link metal mesh with a plastic coating lasts longer than uncoated metal, and it’s more attractive.
- Wood: If you want to build a privacy fence, options include wood slats or panels made from redwood, cedar or pressure-treated pine or fir.
How much does a deer fence cost?
The cheapest option for deer fencing, electrified posts, cost about $60 for a pack of three.
If you want physical fencing, the least expensive options are plastic or wire mesh, which cost from $0.85 to $3.10 per linear foot, depending on product. Installation involves pounding metal T-bar posts into the ground and attaching the fencing, a one day project for a 100-foot fence. That fence will cost roughly from $350 to $600 for labor and materials.
Wood is the most expensive option. The same 100-foot fence could cost anywhere from $1,000 to $3,100 depending on design and materials.
What to consider when buying a deer fence
Here are some things to think about when considering options:
- Height: The higher the fence is, the better. At a minimum, it should be eight feet high if you can see through it and six feet if you can’t. Deer are less likely to jump a fence if they can’t see what’s on the other side.
- Material: Metal mesh is more rigid than plastic and a better choice to keep out pests other than deer. It sags less and is easier to seal at the bottom.
- Ease of installation: Any fencing system you can erect by driving metal T-bar posts into the ground and attaching the fencing to the posts is easy to DIY. Fencing that calls for wood posts set in concrete and elaborate gates is also DIYable, but much less so.
- Durability: Metal and wood fences are more robust than plastic ones and require less maintenance.
- Appearance: A well-designed wood fence can become a landscape feature. Plastic and metal fences are more utilitarian, and they look like it. A black mesh “invisible” fence is an inexpensive option to minimize visual impact. But if you can’t see it, neither can the deer, and they may damage it by running into it repeatedly.
- Cost: Plastic or metal mesh hanging from metal T-bar posts is the best option for anyone on a budget.
Best Poly Mesh Deer Fencing
Housables Plastic Mesh Fence comes in 4- x 100-ft rolls, so you’ll need two rolls to make a 100-foot fence that’s eight feet high. It’s still a budget option, though. This is a great choice for seasonal fencing, because it’s as easy to take down as it is to put up. Use it with eight-foot deer fence posts for best results.
The thick, durable polyethylene material comes in black, red and green. If you stake down the bottom, the fence effectively keeps out rabbits as well as deer while keeping your chickens corralled.
Best Metal Mesh Deer Fencing
Fencer Wire comes in 4- by 50-ft. rolls, so you need two rolls to construct an 8-ft.- x 50-foot fence. It’s not a budget material, but the PVC-coated 16-gauge galvanized wire is long-lasting and super strong.
This product also comes in two-foot-tall rolls, making it suitable for extending the height of an existing six-foot fence. Because it’s made of rigid metal, you can bury the bottom six inches into the ground to provide an effective barrier for rabbits and gophers.
Best Poly “Invisible” Fencing
Tenax Deer Fence comes in 6- or 8-ft. x 165-foot rolls. The ultraviolet-resistant plastic forms a 2- x 2-in. mesh that virtually disappears against the background.
Because this type of fencing is so difficult to see, deer might not know it’s there, so it’s best to hang brightly colored streamers from it until the dear learn to avoid it. After a few months, it should be OK to remove the streamers and enjoy the invisible protection.
Best Electric Deer Fence
Gallagher Electric Fence Poly Wire consists of six strands of galvanized wire. It comes in a 400-meter (1,312-ft.) roll, suitable for fencing really large areas with a single length of wire. If you have a small area, run several wires between the fence posts for extra security.
You need to connect this wire to a transformer plugged into a power source to supply electric current, a separate purchase. Deer receive a mild shock when they touch the wire, training them to stay away.
Best Wireless Deer Fence
The Wireless Deer Fence comes in packs of three easy-to-install PVC posts together with 36 tubes of sweet-smelling attractant. When an interested deer approaches a post to feed, it receives a mild shock from the antenna-like rods on the top. This teaches the deer to stay away from the area.
Each post operates on two included AA batteries, which last for six months. The non-toxic, eco-friendly attractant in the tubes lasts about a month. Replacement tubes are available from the supplier.
Best Privacy Deer Fence
There are numerous ways to build a wood privacy fence to keep deer away. Installing 6- x 8-ft. wood fence panels is one of the easiest. Using redwood fence panels available at any lumber supplier, you can build a long-lasting, 100-foot fence for about $1,000, including posts.
Redwood is naturally weather-resistant and will last for 20 years or more without a finish. To make the fence higher and guarantee deer stay out, add some wood lattice to the top of each panel.
Best Deer Fence Kit
When you buy fencing by itself, you also have to buy posts, fasteners and stakes to secure the bottom to the ground. As an alternative, you could purchase a heavy-duty 20-gauge fence kit from Benner’s Gardens and get everything you need for an 8- x 100-ft. fence in one package.
This heavy-duty fence will stand up to even a large buck. The one-inch hexagonal mesh will also keep smaller animals out of your yard and garden.