The Top Ways to Keep Deer Out of The Garden

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Top Ways to Keep Deer out of the Garden


Keeping deer out of your garden can be quite tricky whether you live in the city or the country. With increasing deer populations we are seeing more and more issues with deer in urban areas. As a result, our gardens are seeing the damage, but deterring deer naturally is quite easy with the right plants and the right fencing techniques. I gathered up the top ways we have used to keep deer away living on 15 acres. These tricks are not only easy to implement if you live on land but also for those in smaller settings as well.

As a note, every herd and population of deer is different and nothing is 100% certain to deter deer but these ways are quite tried and true in our own garden over the years. Here are the top ways to keep deer out of the garden whether you are growing veggies, flowers, herbs, or anything in between.

Top Plants to Keep Deer Out of The Garden

Yes choosing the right plants to perimeter your garden will be extremely helpful in keeping them away. I have seen it in action actually with how deer move on the land around us. Here are the top plants I use to keep deer out of the garden:

  • Lavender: Lavender is one of the best ways to keep deer away from the garden. Placing it around your garden in abundance will keep deer away. The plants not only won’t be eaten but the deer won’t come near them. No need for them to have their blooms either. They can just exist. The more the better.
  • Giant Marigolds: Standard marigolds work too but the Giant variety are EXTREMELY fragrant and deer do not like them. Though they are edible to us as humans, deer and other pests do not like their scent. They will keep the deer out of the garden without question. I have throughout the whole garden throughout the whole growing season
  • Yarrow: This plant isn’t a favorite of deer because of the flavor and foliage variety so they stay clear of it especially when there is a large amount of it.
  • Catmint: Strong smelling and repellent. This plant is one of the best to keep away deer. It is low maintenance and loves tons of sun. It also gets HUGE. As part of the mint family, it takes on a strong scent somewhere between mint and sage.
  • Hyssop: Another strong-smelling plant that is the deer do not like. It also creates a large height which as you will read below makes deer nervous to jump and assess how to get over.
  • Russian Sage: Another plant that is close to the Catmint in variety. It has a strong smell as well as beautiful flowers. It is beautiful but one that deer are not interested in. Also, the foliage has a texture they do not like.
  • Dill: Strong smelling and tall, dill holds a ton of resilience against deer in the garden. Planting it around the perimeter of a fence can keep deer away from sneaking in or placing their heads over the fence to grab a snack.
  • Salvias: One more that is similar to Catmint in variety. It is beautiful and the bees and butterflies love it but will keep the deer away.
  • Poppies: These are not enjoyed by deer and are completely deer resistant. Using them to make deer believe that other items near them are not edible either is a great way to use them in the garden.
  • Daffodils: These plants are poisonous to deer so they will avoid them completely in your garden as well as provide a barrier early in spring to keep away deer from young spring plants.

Top Ways to Keep Deer out of the Garden

Best Way to Keep Deer Out of Your Garden With a Fence

A garden fence can be a great way to keep deer out of the garden. A fence such as this one that you can easily DIY can be a great option, but there may be a few ways to keep it both more affordable and more proactive at keeping deer out with less work. Here is what I mean:

  • Create a fence with varying widths and heights: Sure you can install a garden fence but you may not have to go as high as you think to keep out deer. You see deer don’t do well with both height and depth perception. They don’t want to get stuck somewhere they cannot get out of so if you have things that grow vertically, wires that zig-zag higher up, or you grow a hedge that varies in heights you can spend less on fencing, make a lower fence, and still keep the deer out as well.
  • Use a broad rocky boarder beds: Using larger rocks around your garden bed can actually be a deterrent to the deer as well. All you need to do is take larger rocks and place them in a thick band around your bed and the deer will not go inside of the bed. You can obviously plant things within the rock bed as well, but make sure they are deer deterrent plants. Deer do not like walking over large rocks to access something so they simply will not do it.
  • Fish Line or string has a lot of power:
    Deer do not like not knowing what they may encounter so if they have a hint that there is a string or something they cannot estimate in the way, they will not jump and access an area. Using fish line or string is all you really need to create this. You can use a zig-zag pattern which will even more so create that sort of dimension for them.

Other Ways to Easily Deter Deer From Your Garden

  • Have a Dog: Deer don’t like the smell of dog urine so having dogs around will keep the deer away as well. It is at all a sure thing, but we have found it helps a lot.
  • Light Deterrents: You can use things such as motion sensor lights or even this lights called Nite Guards to deter the deer to come close to your garden. Either one creates a startling or predator response for the deer.
  • Netting: If you don’t have a fence, netting can also keep them out. Use bird netting to deter the deer or fleece can have the same effect for the deer.

You can see the fence we have used to keep our garden safe from deer. So far so good. The plants have kept the deer out and the varying depths of plants have also acted as protection.

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Hello! I’m Megan Gilger,

A strong believer that nature and the seasons are our greatest teachers. We live on a hill in Leelanau County, Michigan just a stone’s throw from Lake Michigan. This land we are responsible for is where we are focused on building a life around the seasons and intention. We spend our days here building a regenerative model of living and focusing our garden on native plants and intensive polyculture planting styles. My focus is less on self-sufficiency and more on community-sufficiency through how we grow and connect through the seasons.
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