Having a garden on your property offers many benefits. A flower garden creates a spot where you can relax and recharge. But you’ve got to know how to protect your plants from pests, weeds, and wildlife that can feed on your plants and destroy them. Deer are one of the animals that pose a risk to your garden. Let’s learn how to keep deer out of garden beds.
Deer can eat your prized flowers and vegetables, especially if the food supplies in their natural habitat are scarce.
The good news: we have a list of tactics you can try that will keep deer away from your garden.
How to Keep Deer Out of Your Garden Beds?
This guide comprises deer control strategies you can use even without changing the look of your garden.
You’ll also find tips and techniques that involve landscape modification, which can be helpful, especially if you’re planning to give your home garden a makeover.
1. Be flexible in choosing the plants for your garden.
Our first strategy is to avoid having plants that attract deer in your garden. While deer are flexible and eat many kinds of vegetation, there are several that they stay away from.
There are certain flowers that deer like to eat and will attract these animals. You should avoid having these in your flower beds.
One of the best-known flowers that deer eat is the tulip. These early-spring flowers begin growing when food may still be scarce for deer, meaning a beautiful display of tulips may attract them to your yard.
It’s best to avoid planting flowers that will bring deer into your garden, as once they come for a delicious snack, they may return throughout the year.
It goes without saying that most vegetables will attract deer (and other animals) to your flower beds.
If possible, plant your vegetables and edibles close to your house or at a spot where you can easily see them as deer (like many wild animals) will typically try to avoid contact with humans.
Now let’s talk about plants that deer hate here.
Deer dislike plants with fuzzy, thorny, or spiny stems and leaves because they’re difficult to chew. We have articles with lists of deer resistant perennials and annuals deer avoid eating to help you identify plants that will work in your garden.
But some examples include:
- Lamb’s ear
- Globe thistle
They also stay away from fibrous plants and plants with strong scents and/or pungent flavors.
Here are some examples of deer-resistant plants:
- There’s a wide variety of deer-resistant plants you can include in your garden
- You may dislike the deer-resistant flowers that are viable in your region
2. Use plant blocking in your landscape design.
Plant blocking is a technique where you surround plants that attract deer with ones that deer dislike (also known as deer-resistant plants). You’ll remember we touched on this tactic earlier.
Let’s say you want to grow a cabbage patch or decorate your garden with a bunch of pansies or petunias. To keep deer from going near and eating these plants, plant fragrant, deer-repellent plants around them.
You can also try surrounding deer-friendly plants with grass like the Japanese Blood Grass or shrubs like boxwood, juniper, and butterfly bush.
When designing plant blocks, make sure the plants grow close to each other so as not to create a path for deer to enter.
- Encourages cross-pollination
- Requires less effort to manage
- Need to consider plant compatibility
3. Put up a deer-proof fence.
If you don’t want to compromise on the plants you include in your garden, put up an appropriate fence.
Installing a high fence (at least eight feet tall) not only prevents deer from entering your property but also adds privacy and blocks outside noise. For fence installation, you have plenty of options.
However, a determined deer can wriggle themselves in if the shrubs are not spaced strategically or grow near the ground.
For natural fences like this to work, they must be deer-resistant plants. In other words, the hedge you plant must be one deer dislike eating.
Besides natural fences, you can use wire, netting, or metal fences to keep deer out of your flower or vegetable gardens.
Wire-mesh fencing is expensive but durable.
Polypropylene fencing is more budget-friendly. It’s sturdier if it comes with a metal frame.
Metal fencing is hard to chew on, which can deter deer. It’s also more durable than other options.
An electric fence is another common fencing option among farmers and gardeners. By sending an electric current upon contact, electric fences can keep away deer from your garden.
Deer can jump eight feet or higher, so the fence must be taller than that. It should also lean about 45 degrees outward to make it difficult for deer to leap to the other side.
The openings or gaps in your fence should be smaller than 2 inches. If they’re wider than that, small pests can get in.
- Requires little to no changes in the types of plants you grow
- Also protects your garden from other pests and animals
- Installation may involve a great amount of time, money, and labor depending on the type of fencing you install
4. Try landscaping with rocks.
Deer avoid walking on hard surfaces, and loose gravel that moves under their hooves can deter deer from venturing into your garden.
You can use this to your advantage when planning your garden by using pea gravel or other stone to landscape pathways around garden beds, or to use rocks as mulch in your garden beds and borders.
Create a stunning landscape with rocks of different sizes and colors. To make your rock borders even more effective, add deer-resistant plants to your garden.
Rock garden installations not only help deter deer from browsing your plants, but also prevent deer from going near water sources, like ponds, birdbaths, or water fountains, in your garden.
- Eco-friendly and low maintenance
- Lets you conserve water
- Rocks can make your garden hot
5. Use sensory deterrents to keep away deer.
Deer use their keen sense of smell when looking for food. You can use a variety of scare tactics to drive deer away from your property.
In addition to growing heavily scented flowers and plants, you can also use deer-deterrent odors like bar soaps and homemade repellents like a mixture of egg yolks, yogurt, and garlic.
Leave the mixture under the sun for hours and it will release a stinky odor. Then you can spray it on your garden beds.
Scaring deer away using sound is also an effective tactic. Loud, sudden noises startle deer and cause them to run away.
Whistles, wind chimes, and ultrasonic devices that emit high-frequency sound waves when they detect movement can spook deer and make them flee.
Flashing or strobing lights may also alarm deer, causing them to flee, though the neighbors will probably be alarmed as well.
Scarecrows and motion-activated water sprinklers could also frighten deer. Guard animals like dogs are also useful.
- Effective in scaring away deer in areas where they have little contact with humans
- Less expensive than other strategies
- Deer can get accustomed to them, eventually not being deterred by them at all
Related Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Let’s discover the answers to some related FAQs.
How do I know if there is deer activity in my garden?
You can tell if deer have been going in and out of your property by looking for deer tracks on the soil. If you see hoof prints shaped like a teardrop with a dot below them, you’re likely looking at deer hoof prints.
Also, look for deer droppings. Unlike pea-sized rabbit droppings, deer droppings typically appear in small clusters and have an oval shape.
You can also check tree trunks and shrubs for marks. Deer often rub their antlers against them to mark their territory.
When do deer eat?
Deer activity heightens at around dawn and before sunset through the night. During these times, you might find deer trying to sneak in and feed on your flowers and vegetables.
Final Thoughts On How to Keep Deer Out of Garden Beds
Here you’ve learned several methods you can use to keep deer out of your garden beds. They are:
- Be flexible in choosing the plants for your garden.
- Use plant blocking in your landscape design.
- Put up a deer-proof fence.
- Try landscaping with rocks.
- Use sensory deterrents to keep away deer.
Now you’re all set to plant and maintain a beautiful garden even if there are deer in the neighborhood.