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Deer Fence Idea

 
Mac Gills
Posts: 4
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Hello - I have a design idea for a deer-proof garden fence. I haven't seen anything like what I'm proposing and I was hoping for some feedback, even if it's "you're crazy, dude".

In short, I am working on designing our garden fence that is cost effective, handsome, and deer proof. Our garden will be near where we host people and I'd had to ruin our beautiful view with an overly utilitarian fence if possible. Deer run all through my property so whatever we build has to keep them out and anything with tall posts gets expensive quick.

So, in my learning about deer, I read that they have poor depth perception and therefore a useful way to discourage deer from hopping a fence is to build a redundant fence 2-3 feet off. The gap in the fence confuses the deer as they cannot tell how far apart the fences are and they will avoid jumping in between. So, with this in mind, I have wondered if the following design would accomplish the same thing:

The garden fence would be a typical split rail fence along the perimeter of the garden. Immediately outside of the fence would be a row of bushes, possibly evergreens that grow 18-24 inches high (not sure exactly what, TBD). Immediately outside of that would be a row of medium-sized rocks, 12" or so high. The attached pdf shows the design better than I can explain. I can source a lot of the rocks from neighbor farmers and get young bushes to grow up.

My thought is that this would "fatten" up the fence and, in the mind of the deer, giving it a bit of depth that would discourage getting into the garden and peaking around. In theory (aka in my head) it works, but I'm an engineer! Most things work only in my head!

Has anyone done something like this before or seen something like this? Would it work? Anything else to suggest?

Thanks in advance for your thoughts.
Filename: proposed-garden-layout.pdf
File size: 12 Kbytes
 
Abe Coley
pollinator
Posts: 212
Location: Missoula, MT
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Right next to my house is a narrow corridor under some power poles where there are two 4 foot chainlink fences really close to each other. The deer just hop the first fence, walk down the corridor to wherever they want to jump the second fence, and then they're in my neighbors' yard enjoying their bushes.

Deer will just step over something 12 inches tall and they will lazily hop over something 24 inches tall.
 
Hamilton Betchman
pollinator
Posts: 137
Location: South Carolina 8a
63
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I have had much experience "deer proofing" gardens. The only thing that has kept them out, for me, is as follows. Clear monofilament fishing line strung between posts with about 18 inches of space per line. I usually go 6 feet high, using 4 strings around the entire perimeter. You will want to use something with more than 20lbs rating. I realize you want your design to be aesthetically pleasing, so this may not be ideal. There may be some creative ways to incorporate this design into something lovely that I cannot picture!

The idea is that the deer will bump into the fence, not be able to see it, and be frightened away, and it works.



Mac Gills wrote:Hello - I have a design idea for a deer-proof garden fence. I haven't seen anything like what I'm proposing and I was hoping for some feedback, even if it's "you're crazy, dude".

In short, I am working on designing our garden fence that is cost effective, handsome, and deer proof. Our garden will be near where we host people and I'd had to ruin our beautiful view with an overly utilitarian fence if possible. Deer run all through my property so whatever we build has to keep them out and anything with tall posts gets expensive quick.

So, in my learning about deer, I read that they have poor depth perception and therefore a useful way to discourage deer from hopping a fence is to build a redundant fence 2-3 feet off. The gap in the fence confuses the deer as they cannot tell how far apart the fences are and they will avoid jumping in between. So, with this in mind, I have wondered if the following design would accomplish the same thing:

The garden fence would be a typical split rail fence along the perimeter of the garden. Immediately outside of the fence would be a row of bushes, possibly evergreens that grow 18-24 inches high (not sure exactly what, TBD). Immediately outside of that would be a row of medium-sized rocks, 12" or so high. The attached pdf shows the design better than I can explain. I can source a lot of the rocks from neighbor farmers and get young bushes to grow up.

My thought is that this would "fatten" up the fence and, in the mind of the deer, giving it a bit of depth that would discourage getting into the garden and peaking around. In theory (aka in my head) it works, but I'm an engineer! Most things work only in my head!

Has anyone done something like this before or seen something like this? Would it work? Anything else to suggest?

Thanks in advance for your thoughts.

 
Lorinne Anderson
pollinator
Posts: 536
Location: Vancouver Island, BC, Canada
208
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The best, inexpensive, good looking, effective fence I have seen was in an HOA area, with a ton of restrictions. They used very large "shepherds hooks" every 6-8 feet, that were 8 feet high, then attached black, monofilament, "bird netting" stretched very taut, to the full height of the hooks (with the smallest, black cable ties/zap straps, neatly trimmed), and hung massive hanging baskets off the hooks, on the inside.  The black of the hooks, with the black of the mesh was deceptively "see through", especially with the stunning hanging baskets that over flowed with bright flowers grabbing your attention.  Now, I am not sure what those shepherds hooks cost, but the actual fencing cost peanuts and looked remarkably good.

Another alternative could be some sort of living wall - gutter garden, or other such beautifying aspect that could be the upper half of a "taller" solid fence; lattice, the use of monofilament strands (as previously mentioned), and ANY sort of hanging, moving, reflecting "art" will all deter/spook curious deer.

My concern with the rock, hedge, fence system proposed is it almost sounds more like a ramp, then a fence; especially with the edibles right against the fence.  Normally when this is done there is at least a 4-6ft fence, with a say 2ft space and then a taller fence, commonly used when zoning regs do not permit a higher than 6ft fence.  The premise being they have to jump both the low and the tall at the same time, and the extra width makes the gamble too risky.  Growing a hedge between the two is often the long range plan.
 
Kenneth Elwell
pollinator
Posts: 587
Location: Boston, Massachusetts
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We had an electric fence with tape at 4,5,6 ft. elevations above a 4 foot welded wire fence. (all basically in the same plane) I witnessed 2 deer inside the fence, they got spooked when they saw me, then covered a 30 foot distance with *literally* a hop, skip, and then a jump over our fence to freedom... one just tickled the top tape with its hind hooves.
I've heard that the 3-D/parallel fence thing is effective, since they can jump high and they can jump far, but not both...
In our case, we couldn't afford to give up the space on our small lot, and still wanted a fence that would keep the rabbits out.
Now we have an 8 foot high high-tensile deer fence, with 5 foot wide coated poultry fence (4 ft. on deer fence, 1 ft. on ground held down by bricks).

One thing to note, is that a deer fence will also fence out predators such as coyotes, foxes, etc... but not smaller prey such as mice, voles, rabbits, etc... (so you just made them a gated community with a buffet), and just forget the climbers like squirrels, woodchucks, chipmunks, etc... and the flyers, like wild turkeys...
The critters will exploit any gaps they can.
 
Mac Gills
Posts: 4
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Lorinne Anderson wrote:The best, inexpensive, good looking, effective fence I have seen was in an HOA area, with a ton of restrictions. They used very large "shepherds hooks" every 6-8 feet, that were 8 feet high, then attached black, monofilament, "bird netting" stretched very taut, to the full height of the hooks (with the smallest, black cable ties/zap straps, neatly trimmed), and hung massive hanging baskets off the hooks, on the inside.  The black of the hooks, with the black of the mesh was deceptively "see through", especially with the stunning hanging baskets that over flowed with bright flowers grabbing your attention.  Now, I am not sure what those shepherds hooks cost, but the actual fencing cost peanuts and looked remarkably good.

Thanks. This is an interesting idea and see how it's not obnoxious. Those Shepard's hooks are ~$15/each, which isn't bad but we're looking at a large enclosure (~2800sf). I think I'll have to grow a living fence and make something less than aesthetical in the interim, however I like this idea a lot and may incorporate it.

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