Deer fence does the job

Deer fenceGreetings on this snowy Monday. We got about 5 inches of snow overnight so the garden has been transformed into quite the winter wonderland.

Deer fenceWhile looking out an upstairs window this morning, two things caught my eye: 1) our snow-encrusted deer fence and 2) a set of deer tracks that went through our front yard to the side gate.

As you can see by the top photo, our deer fencing doesn’t look all that invisible when it snows but most of the time, it’s not very noticeable. But when I see that a deer had to do a U-turn at the side gate, that makes all our efforts worth it! That’s what you’re looking at in the second photo. If you click on the photos, you can view much larger images.

To bring you up to speed, I should quickly describe how we made a successful deer barrier:

For the 20-plus years we’ve lived here, we’ve had a 4-foot-tall field fence around our backyard. We knew deer could easily jump over it if they were so inclined, but the fence was primarily there to keep our dogs safe. Apparently, the deer have be so inclined because they’ve come into our backyard and done a lot of damage.

Two years ago, we decided to build a higher fence to keep the deer out. Research has shown that a 7- or 8-foot-tall fence is the most effective method of deterring them.

Since we already had the field fence around our small orchard and the backyard, my husband, Bill, had a great idea: why not add 8-foot lengths of rebar at each metal fencepost so we could attach deer fencing above the field fence? That meant we’d need less deer fencing.

And just to clarify, when I say “deer fencing,” I’m referring to heavy-duty plastic deer netting. Just do a web search on “plastic deer fencing” and you’ll see what it looks like.

We cut the 7-foot-wide deer netting in half lengthwise and attached it to the rebar. Then we used zip-ties to attach the lower edge of the deer fencing to the top edge of the pre-existing field fence.

That’s why I’m sharing the top photo with you: so you can better see what we did. It’s not pretty when it’s covered with wet snow, but ordinarly it blends in with the background. We certainly didn’t want to turn our yard into a stockade but considering how important our garden and orchard are to us, we felt a deer fence was the best method we could use.

There’s one other thing I should mention. Do you see how there’s a panel of deer fencing in the arbor gate? During the garden season, all I have in the opening above the arbor gate are wind chimes. They move around and make noise in breeze, as well as scare the deer by hanging down into the area where they might decide to jump through. It works great. But during the colder months, I hang deer fencing in the opening to provide a visual barrier since they might be more persistent about getting in.

So that’s what we’re doing to keep deer out and it’s working really well. I have to admit the bottom photo makes me want to shout, “nyah, nyah!”