Garden Fencing Help/Suggestions

kalindi615May 9, 2013

Hello Everyone...

I am in the process of moving my garden this year to a new location. The woods bordering our property have grown up since planting 8 years ago and I am getting too much shade. I am so late in doing so that I have had to plant all my spring veggies in the old garden.

Part of my issue is that I am bordered on all sides by woods that go back a long way. I have wild life everywhere. I had 8 deer grazing in my yard last night. I have 2 groundhogs that live on the edge of the property (we moved 3 more last spring) and more bunnies than I could count.

My fence has taken a really ugly progression. It started as a standard green garden fence, we put it up after tilling every year, then had to add larger stakes with twine around the top, 5 rounds worth, to keep the deer from jumping it and decimating the garden. Then I had to cut some of the same garden fencing in thirds attach it to the bottom of the fence and stake it into the ground coming out from the bottom into the grass to keep the groundhogs from digging under.

Now, I would like to build a really nice fence. One that would keep out everything I need to keep out and still look nice. I also need to take down portions at least to be able to get the tiller in and turn it. I was thinking maybe only taking down the two ends for tilling. The garden will need to be roughly 40 x 40.

I was hoping someone here had ideas about actual fencing. The green garden fencing is just too flimsy. It does not hold up to be taken down and put back up. It warps. It needs to be taller than the standard garden fencing also, the deer hop over the standard 4' fence like it isn't even there. Does anyone here have any experience with this? I know I should get a dog, not in our future right now... and also can not get an electric fence as I have a 2 and a 3 year old running around the garden and yard all the time.

Any help or advice would be greatly appreciated.


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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

What is sold as deer fencing is 7' tall. Do you really want to go that tall? If so then once erected it will keep everything out. it is a flexible black plastic mesh than tends to disappear from view except in bright sun and is staked down to the ground so nothing can get under it. A gate at each end for tiller access means you never have to take it down.


Here is a link that might be useful: Deer fencing

    Bookmark   May 9, 2013 at 11:09AM
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tishtoshnm Zone 6/NM

I think my ideal garden fence to keep out deer would be like the one around Martha Stewart's garden seen in the link below.

Right now, I have 4 or 5 foot welded wire horse fencing around my garden. I am now also lining the lower part of that with chicken wire. Above the horse fencing, I will likely be stringing wire to help keep the deer out. I may consider electrifying it because squirrels are a problem too. If you were building permanent beds, I would suggest hardware cloth underneath to keep the ground hogs out but if you like to till, that is not really an option. Good luck.

Here is a link that might be useful: Martha Stewart Fence

    Bookmark   May 9, 2013 at 1:49PM
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Campanula UK Z8

Fencing - posts - you need at least 3X3 inch posts and 2 feet of the height must be in the ground - so you are looking at 9-10 feet posts (you really need 4x4 for anything higher than 6 feet). You need a post for every 10 running feet of length with 2x 10 feet arris rails and a 6inch x10 foot gravel board. You can either add uprights to the arris rails(picket, with flat or shaped tops) or you can use closeboard - overlapping feather- edged uprights (9 for each yard of length). Fencing which consists of ready made panels tends to be flimsy (or is extremely costly). A basic post and rail fence is both beautiful and has great utility. Use concrete to fix the posts - not metposts or other metal fixings - the hardest part of the work is digging the postholes (I worked as a landscaper for a decade).
The biggest cost, by far, will be labour (if you can do the work yourselves it saves a lot of money....but you have to be competent, confident and patient) - a good spirit level is a vital bit of kit. A decent closeboard fence should be good for at least 30 years, with regular maintenance....and also looks good.

    Bookmark   May 9, 2013 at 3:35PM
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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

Wow what we all wouldn't give to have Martha's fence in that photo! But then we'd need Martha's money too. And Martha's crew of employees to do all the work.

Dave ~ who is green with envy of the fence but not living in Martha's world.

    Bookmark   May 9, 2013 at 4:54PM
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tishtoshnm Zone 6/NM

Dave, I agree, to an extent. I want the fence, and the chicken coop to. I only want the laborers for the things that I do not like to do. I NEED to garden, it is my therapy. I do not need anything for show.

    Bookmark   May 9, 2013 at 8:47PM
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This web page shows a good summary on the types and installation of deer fencing:

Here is a link that might be useful: Types of Deer Fencing

    Bookmark   May 9, 2013 at 9:52PM
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Tractor Supply Co sells a pretty good solar power electric fence. Not too difficult to set up and total cost of materials was about $120. The plug-in models are half the price of solar and offer higher shock value. I had to buy one 2 years ago once ground hogs moved into the neighborhood and it does work. As for deer, my best way to keep them at bay was to buy an old bug zapper on craigslist for $15. Hung within earshot of the garden it keeps them spooked all night long as moths get fried every minute. I have read that aluminum foil attached to the electric fence with a dab of peanut butter will double the shock treatment for deer but I haven't tried that yet.

    Bookmark   May 9, 2013 at 11:21PM
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nancyjane_gardener(Zone 8ish North of San Francisco in the "real" wine country)

I don't have deer, ground hogs or rabbits, but have heard for deer, to angle the fencing out / cause they don't jump over that type of fence.

    Bookmark   May 10, 2013 at 1:04AM
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If you've got deer, your fence needs to be a minimum of 7'. For groundhogs or rabbits, the fence must be metal; they will chew holes in plastic. Groundhogs and deer seem to be repelled, for the most part, by an electric fence. That said, I guess I've had some real hungry ones at times as I've found them both inside the fence occasionally. And both can do some serious damage on those occasional visits.

Rabbits seem to be my waterloo. The only thing that had been reasonably successful is rabbit fencing around particular crops: beans, brassicas, and greens. And that is a pain.

But my garden has an electric fence on three sides, an eight foot fence on the fourth, and rabbit fence enclosures within. The eight foot fence can't be electrified; it is an addition to my neighbors chain link fence,

And I have to deal with all of this when I need to till. What I probably should do is get a big dog. It would have to be big or the coyotes would get him. But then there's the insect pests that get past all of this.....

At least the exercise is more enjoyable than the gym.

    Bookmark   May 10, 2013 at 8:50AM
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carol6ma_7ari(zones 6 & 7a)

My sympathies, kali615! A couple of months ago we too decided to expand our veg. garden and keep out the deer and rabbits by going up and going down: up to an 8 ft. height, and down 1.5 ft. into the earth. We had a local young man put up 4x4" posts (he rented an earth auger) and fasten welded-wire fencing to it, leaving a gap at waist height. (Picture this: 3 ft. high fencing then a 2 ft. gap through which we can enjoy the ocean view when seated, then another 3 ft. high fence, up to the 8 ft. of height we need.) (If the deer try to jump through the 2 ft. gap, we can add more wire, but we'd like to keep it open if we can.) He found "gate kits" at the local big-box store, which let him make double gates at opposite sides of the garden, using 2x4s. We put in metal chicken wire as our anti-bunny device. Luckily we don't have groundhogs. Yet.

The welded wire fencing is black and almost invisible. The posts and other lumber are pressure treated and will turn grey, in time. The double gates give us 5 ft. wide openings for wheelbarrows and tillers, when needed. For 1 person walking through, we need to open only 1 side of each pair of gates.

This was not near the house, so using electricity wasn't possible. The size is about the same as yours.

Where (what state, what gardening zone) is your garden? I think deer jump higher out West - ours can manage 7 ft. jumps but not much more.

The next level of defense would be razor wire along the top, searchlights, and guards with submachine guns in towers on the corners.

Good luck--

Carol (zone 6 in MA, 7a in RI)

    Bookmark   May 10, 2013 at 9:30AM
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Thank you everyone for our posts and advice. I really appreciate it. It has given me a lot to mull over with hubby. And it has also made me realize I am not the only one.

DigDirt - while I think the plastic netting would work as a temp solution, I was really looking for something nice looking and more permanent. Also, I am concerned it would be chewed threw as Wolverine suggests. But, I had never seen that before and it may work perfectly for my apple trees just planted until they mature so thank you for bringing it to my attention :-)

tishtoshnm - I had been considering the horse fencing buy can only find it only and haven't seen it in person. I was concerned about the spacing of the openings. Do you line it with chicken wire on the bottom?

Wolververine and Carol, I am still laughing. I know you both understand my pain here. It is almost a wonder it is worth gardening when you feed the forest around you and the wildlife ;-) Carol, I am in MD zone 7a. My last garden spot had a 4 foot fence with twine surrounding up to a height of 6 feet. The deer did not jump the 6 foot mark.

    Bookmark   May 10, 2013 at 10:17AM
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I just thought of another possible solution--no electricity, no dog food to buy, nothing to chew through, and eco-friendly. A moat-with alligators for any deer that thought about trying to swim it.

    Bookmark   May 10, 2013 at 11:03AM
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LOL Wolverine. Actually that wouldn't be that hard. I have been spending all my time moving dirt back into HUGE ruts in my yard from delivery trucks (we are in the middle of a complete self renovation). Even bad timing on our coal delivery this year, in all 3 deliveries the trucks got stuck one so bad he had to call for help, then the helper truck got stuck and had to call another truck which also got stuck in another spot before pulling them all out. It would have been laughable to anyone who didn't own the yard and have to break their back filling in the issue. I could probably build the moat by connecting all the ruts. hmmm...

    Bookmark   May 10, 2013 at 1:18PM
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ediej1209(5 N Central OH)

Electric fence only works if the deer actually touch it. If they jump high enough to clear it, no zap. I know - I used to watch them jump our 6' high electric fence into the horse's pasture! And then, you also have to keep the area underneath weeded, or it can ground out the fence. Always something... that said, we are going to try again this year to put up electric around the garden and see if it helps.


    Bookmark   May 10, 2013 at 1:47PM
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seysonn(8a WA/HZ 1)

In my previous location I put up a plastic mesh fence, with an entry gate. Worked fine for a while until rabbits figured out how to snick in by crawling under the fence and even chewing it.

So , I thin for the lower part you have to have metal mesh, sat up to two feet. Then do it with less costly plastic.

    Bookmark   May 10, 2013 at 3:13PM
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Edie is right. The deer have to actually touch the wire, but they also have to be touching a ground at the same time. This is difficult with jumpers (like deer) as opposed to climbers (like raccoons). One way to solve this is to alternate hot wires and ground wires and run them both high enough so that the deer can't clear them.

    Bookmark   May 11, 2013 at 5:31AM
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We are surrounded by woods - the garden is in full sun though. We have many deer, rabbits, voles, etc.

Our fence is 4 years old and has done its job keeping the garden protected. It is 42' x 36'.

Here is the basic parts-list:
(Taken from Lowes and Home Depot websites):

60-in x 50-ft 14-Gauge Silver Steel Field and Horse Fencing

1-5/8-in x 6-ft Uncoated 16-Gauge Galvanized Steel Line Post (corners and middle of long side; cemented in the ground). Don't forget to buy caps.

2-1/4 in. x 2-3/4 in. x 6 ft. Metal Heavy-Duty U-Channel Fence Post (spaced every 6 feet, hammered into the ground; horse fencing hooks to this as you pull the fencing around the perimeter)

4-ft x 50-ft Green Perimeter Fence (attached to lower half of fencing with plastic wire ties, buried 8-10 inches [4 inches deep, 4 inches curved out; cover with displaced dirt, pack down well).

3-1/2 ft. x 4 ft. Steel Single Walk Through Gate (need to purchase 2 steel posts and a latch).

The picture is from last year. Hope this helps.

    Bookmark   May 11, 2013 at 8:47AM
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carolync1(z8/9 CA inland)

If you are worried about burrowers but want to till, you could consider placing cinderblock stepping stones over landscaping fabric along the buried portion of hardware cloth or fencing either only on the inside or on both inside and outside. To keep the tiller from "catching" the fencing underground.

    Bookmark   May 11, 2013 at 10:58AM
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tishtoshnm Zone 6/NM

In response to your question, yes, our fence is lined with chicken wire too. If you go this route and use T-posts, I think that a T-post driver is absolutely worth the money. A fencing stretcher is nice too but not as absolutely necessary.

    Bookmark   May 12, 2013 at 6:13PM
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I have been looking for somewhere that can put up a horse fence for me in colorado. Have you heard of Any help would be good. Thanks

    Bookmark   May 31, 2013 at 4:16PM
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what I have done:
In the wooded home in CT zone 6 with deer even walking up onto our deck to eat potted herbs: we were on a budget. I used deer netting 8 foot tall with those ugly metal fence poles from Home Depot but it was only 6 feet tall when erected I used tie wraps to connect the mesh to the posts. I dug the ground a bit and buried the mesh. They say deer can jump it but they never did. I had 2 acres of woods on the property and we lived next to water company land. I guess they just wanted easy pickings from exposed plants, shrubs, and trees.

In the other CT garden I did the same with shorter poles, about 5 feet tall. There I had issues with a groundhog that lived under my garden shed and rabbits so. Buried the mesh 6 inches. It worked.

With both we never made a fancy door, must looped the mesh on the hooks on the pole and lifted it up and off to swing open as if it were a gate.

A friend bought cedar posts from a local who cut the trees and it was 9 feet above ground with hard metal mesh and a fancy door. Really great but a bigger project and cost more than was in our budget.

Good luck!

    Bookmark   June 1, 2013 at 3:43PM
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I want to thank everyone again for the great input and advice. It is nice to see that people are still finding this post. Hubby and I have read through everyone's experiences, read around the web, and looked into different materials. We have also tried to figure out what is most important to us when it comes to the ability to take down and re-put up every year to enable easy tilling, also another issue for us is ease of mowing around. We have a yard that takes 2 hours to mow anyway and HATE to have to pull out a weed whacker so we were trying to come up with something to deal with that also.

I think we have a plan!!!

We are currently in the building processes right now. As a matter of fact I am taking a break to feed kids as I type this. I am taking detailed pics the whole way and we hope to have it complete (mostly anyway) by the end of the week, maybe two weeks as I am traveling. I will post as soon as we are done and hopefully ad to this for anyone else looking for advice in building a better fence for the future.

Thanks again for everyone's help. It was great! I am so excited about my new fence!

    Bookmark   June 1, 2013 at 5:36PM
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Hey everyone. I promised pics of the plan I came up with and we have finally finished. I started another thread and will link below, but wanted to say thank you to everyone for all your help and advice. I know it is now July and I am just officially finished with this so it wont be the garden of my dreams this year, but my fall garden will be spectacular and I am well on my way next year.

So thank you all again, you are greatly appreciated.

Here is a link that might be useful: New Fence

    Bookmark   July 2, 2013 at 8:16PM
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