Deer Fence for the Garden

Anyone who has a garden knows how frustrating it is to work day in and day out only to find that deer have eaten your tomatoes, nibbled on the squash and peas or ripped the bark off the trees. We’ve tried all sorts of methods to deter the deer, from human hair to Irish Spring soap, but to no avail. After much research we decided that the best method for us would be to install a deer fence to enclose the garden.

When you garden in deer country, growing vegetables can be a real challenge. To keep out high-jumping deer, many gardeners surround their crops with tall fences that have the look of a maximum-security prison. We however wanted to keep our beautiful views as well as have it look good from the street.

Couldn’t wait to share the results of a recent project – installing a deer fence!  Not only did it turn out so beautiful, but we have succeeded in keeping the deer out of our vegetable garden! 

How tall should a deer fence be?

After trying many methods that claim to keep the deer out of our vegetable garden, last year we installed a fence around the perimeter of our garden. It was a temporary fence, which was only 5 feet tall. Clearly, it did not work! They were still having a feast nightly in my garden.

Apparently deer can easily jump a 5 to 6 foot fence. To really keep the deer out, we would need an 8 foot fence.

With this in mind we began to come up with our design. Not only must it keep the deer out, but also it had to look good! This fence would also been seen from our front yard.

Deer Fence Supply List

Step 1: Determine Measurements

The first step is to plan how many linear feet of deer fencing you will need. Plan post layout and determine how many posts you will need.

As you plan, consider gates as well. We determined we would like 2 gates for our deer fence, one to enter from the backyard and one from the front yard.

Each section of fence will require 6 – 2×4 boards one for the footer, once for the top tail and the other 4 will be ripped down to enclose the 4 sides of the hog panels.

Most of these materials we picked up at our local Home Depot except for the hog wire panel. We wanted a uniform mesh and found that at Tractor Supply Co.

Step 2: Install Posts

Deer Fence

Using a post hole digger, we dug 2 feet deep holes for each post. Then secure in place each post with concrete. It took about 2/3’s of a 60lb. bag per post hole.

Pro tip: To keep all of the posts in a straight line, run a string from end to end for each side of the deer fence. Align each post with the string.

Step 3: Install Footer and Top Rail

Deer Fence

Once all of the posts are installed and the concrete has cured it’s time to install the footer and top rail boards.

Measure the distance between each post and cut the 2×4 boards to length. We installed our footer boards level and about 9″ from the ground.

The top rail board was installed 60″ above the footer board. This is the height of the hog panel we used.

We installed our rails using our Kreg jig to create pocket holes for each screw. If you do now have access to a jig you could also toenail them in or use brackets.

Step 4: Install the hog panels

To enclose each hog panel section, we ripped 2×4 boards into 2 – 1 1/2″x 1 1/2″ lengths.

Secure one of the ripped 1 1/2″ x 1 1/2″ boards to the footer rail and one to the top rail board. Secure with deck screws, aligning the edge with the edge of the top and footer rails.

Cut hog panel to fit the opening. We cut our panels with an angle grinder. Place hog wire panel into position against the 1 1/2″ x 1 1/2″ boards.

Deer Fence

Once the hog wire panel is in position, place the remaining 1 1/2″ x 1 1/2″ boards against the hog wire panel, sandwiching the panel between the 2 boards.

Deer Fence

Secure in place with deck screws.

Deer Fence

We used pressure treated lumber for this deer fence, hoping that it will last for years to come. Redwood or cedar could also be used. We did not stain our wood, but if using other lumber you may want to stain the wood before installation of the hog wire panels.

Step 5: Install the Trellis

Deer Fence

To complete our 8 foot height requirement for our deer fence we decided to install a trellis. Not only would this create that 8 foot barrier for the deer, but also it would add beauty to the fence. I have been wanting a place to grow wisteria and this will provide the perfect trellis for it. 

To create the trellis we install 2×6 boards on each side of the 4×4 posts.

Deer Fence
Deer Fence
Deer Fence

I wanted a decorative cut at the end of the 2×6 boards. We used a plate to create an arc and traced that onto the lumber. It was cut out with a jigsaw. 

We then used this board as a template for the remaining boards. They were then secured to the 4×4 posts.

Deer Fence
Deer Fence

For the top of the trellis we cut 2×2 boards to 24″. We then determined their placement on top of the 2- 2×6 boards.

To prevent the wood splitting, we pre-drilled holes in each 2×2 board where it would attach to the 2×6 boards. Each board was drilled with 2 holes.

Deer Fence
Deer Fence
Deer Fence

By pre-drilling the holes, it make it quick and easy to install the trellis.

The Finished Deer Fence

Deer Fence
Deer Fence

Aaah, we love our deer fence. Not only has it prevented the deer from munching my veggies, but it has created a beautiful spot to enjoy my garden. I love that we are still able to enjoy the view, as we can see directly through the fence. Soon I will be planting wisteria and enjoying that as well. 

A few weeks back I wrote a post about slugs in my garden. If you are struggling with slugs or snails, you may want to see my natural way to keep them from munching my strawberries and tomatoes. I’m happy to report that I’m still enjoying my juicy fresh strawberries. Yum! 

If you have questions or comments about building a deer fence, please drop us a line in the comment section. We’d love to hear from you! 

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Deer Fence

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