Chet is a registered landscape architect with over 25 years of experience designing everything from private patios to public parks.
Figuring out how to keep deer out of vegetable gardens is a challenge for many gardeners in suburban and rural locations. Here is a plan for a deer-proof vegetable garden that does not rely on expensive tall fencing. Instead, it is surrounded by 4 foot tall plastic garden fencing. I have had this garden in place in my yard for ten years. Deer wander through our yard constantly, but we have never had a deer in this garden. The secret is the use of raised beds. Deer could easily jump the 4’ fence, but they can see there is not a safe place to land. The relatively small size of the garden combined with the uneven surfaces make it deer unfriendly.
The overall dimensions of this garden are 16 feet by 30 feet. It has six raised beds surrounded by two foot wide paths. Two of the raised beds are 4 feet by 12 feet and the other four are 5 feet by 6 feet. The dimensions can be slightly altered as desired. The interior paths can be a little narrower in order to make the beds slightly larger. The important things are to keep the total garden size small (by deer standards) and to have a series of beds so there is not a good landing area for jumping deer. If you want a much larger garden, I would suggest a series of internal fences so the deer see only small garden spaces.
The raised beds are constructed out of 2” by 10” treated lumber. Cut them to the necessary lengths and use wood screws to join them. Black plastic mesh garden fencing is used for the perimeter. One hundred linear feet of 48 inch tall fence should cost about $40. Posts should be installed no more than 8 feet apart. They can be metal or wood. You can make your own gate or purchase a pre-made wood or metal gate.
You will need a good source of topsoil and compost for the raised beds. Be sure to dig several inches into the existing soil within each bed before filling with soil and compost. The paths around and between the beds can be surfaced with gravel or mulch.
Some resources for supplies and related information are shown throughout and below. Big-box home improvement stores and local hardware stores are good sources for plastic mesh garden fence and metal fence posts. Happy deer-free gardening!
© 2012 chet thomas
Antoinette Dionne on August 03, 2019:
Great info, I have just moved to Eatonton, Ga. last year . Walking distance to lake, my yard is the path to the daily drink
chet thomas (author) from Athens, GA on April 09, 2014:
Thanks Sherry. That's good info about the lattice and fencing!
Sherry Hewins from Sierra Foothills, CA on April 09, 2014:
Great advice, I have had tremendous success in my yard by making the ground around my plants unpleasant for deer to walk on. Laying lattice or wire fencing down on the ground will make deer avoid an area.
chet thomas (author) from Athens, GA on October 05, 2013:
Becky - thanks for your comments. I'm in the southeast - lots of woods; lots of deer! I'll try to add some pictures soon, though the garden is not very neat and tidy right now!
becky on October 04, 2013:
This sounds like a great solution! Would love to see photos. Also, what part of the country are you in? Thanks.