Deer are a wonderful form of nature that many of us see everyday. Unfortunately they can be quite destructive to gardens and shrubbery, creating massive setbacks to home gardens, privacy bushes, seasonal flowers, and more. Many people use deer fences to protect their plants and gardens.
Here are the best deer fence options online.
Deer Fence Basics
Deer fences are designed to keep away deer, particularly by keeping them out of a certain area (as opposed to actively scaring them away).
It’s commonly accepted that a deer can jump about 8 feet high. At this height the distance of the jump is severely limited, so many professionally installed deer fences will have a diagonal section at the top the slopes outward from the property at a 45-degree angle.
That said, most home owners don’t go the full 8 feet, as this is prohibitively expensive, hard to install, and can takeaway from your home’s curb appeal. This full height is usually used only by working farms where there is significant value in produce to protect as well the most serious of home gardeners.
Deer usually will only hop a fence if they know what’s on the other side. So a deer might hop a 6-foot mesh fence if it can see through and see your beautiful garden, but it’s unlikely that a deer will attempt to clear a 6-foot wooden fence, not knowing what it might land on if it jumps over it. Since many deer fences are used in combination with smaller, solid fences or with hedges, this can save you from going overboard on your deer fencing.
Home deer fence posts typically are about 8 feet apart. You can go up to 10 feet apart but that would generally happen with a more structured fencing material, like a wire fence. Lighter plastic fencing materials will flex a lot if the distance is too far, giving the fence a messy, saggy appearance.
For additional support you can connect the posts at the top using a light wire. I have found that 16 gauge galvanized steel wire is light enough to do the job but still sturdy and weather resistant.
How Far Down?
One big question with deer fencing is, how close to the ground should you go?
One school of thought stays that the fencing should run along the ground and should be anchored to the ground. I’ve experimented with this using DeerBusters Kinked Ground Stakes, which are long metal stakes that you push into the ground. This makes the fence look great and it will deter small animals from entering or leaving the area. The stakes are expensive (about 85 cents each), but they last forever and can be reused… if you can find them.
From what I’ve read and observed, deer don’t crawl into areas. Deer walk or they will hop over fences, but they don’t crawl. For this reason I recommend not buying stakes and keeping your deer fence about 4-6 inches off the ground.
The advantage of an elevated fence is that it will allow leaves to blow through in the fall and the chance of you hitting the fencing with a lawn mower or weed whacker is greatly reduced.
What Type Of Posts?
Deer fences can use any kind of posts, but you’d typically use a T-post or a U-post. Each of these are metal posts that are relatively affordable, especially compared to using wood posts or round metal poles.
T-posts are popular with farms and commercial usages, but they are expensive, not as easy to find through normal means and need some special tools. On the plus side they are strong and very re-usable. You’d normally find these at an Agway, Tractor Supply, or similar places, but not necessarily at a mainstream hardware store.
U-posts aren’t as heavy duty and they are more flexible than T-posts, but they are more affordable and less heavy. U-posts are easier to find and they will be available at almost any hardware store or big box home improvement store.
Our recommendation is to get U-posts. They are cheap and don’t require special tools for hanging wire or mesh deer fences on.
Typically this is something you should buy in person, but if you are OK with slow shipping and you are willing to shop around, you can sometimes find very good deals on Amazon and others.
Makes sure you buy some zip ties (at least 6 inches long) for attaching the deer fence to the posts and that you get a post driver. You, like everyone else, will think you don’t need a post driver and that you can just bang the U-posts in with a light sledgehammer. Trust me, we have all been there! If you live in a place without rocky soil a 3-pound sledge is fine (though expect to bend up the top of your U-posts a bit) but if you have rocks then you need a post driver. You’ll save at least 5 minutes per posts with this, so do the math.
Don’t forget: The posts go about 18-inches done into the ground, so if you want a 6-foot fence, you need to buy the 8-foot posts!
The Best Deer Fencing
There are all kinds of deer fences sold. After much research and experimenting, here are our picks…
Heavy Duty, Multi-Year Deer Fencing
If you are OK with a heavier fencing that is less hidden when installed then a great pick is the Tenax Deer Fence Select. This is tough stuff that will last through multiple years of wear-and-tear.
Basic features of the Tenax Select are…
- Over 600 pound breaking load strength
- Designed to be minimally visible
- Designed to last over 10 years
- Made in the USA
- Mesh Size: 1.77 inches x 1.97 inches
This stuff is strong and easy to install. It has a solid feel and reinforced joints so it very tear-resistant. It’s a little sharp after being cut, but that’s a minor issue.
This stuff is going to last multiple years and won’t break if your dog runs into it, but like anything else made of a plastic or nylon it’ll tear if you hit it with the lawn mower.
Tenax also sells a product called the Premium Deer Fence, which is even heavier duty. This moves the tensile strength up to 700 pounds, which means it’s the strongest option you can get before moving to wire fencing. This costs about 1/3 more than the Select fencing.
Light Duty Deer Fence
If you want a lightweight deer fence that is easy to install and is minimally visible from the street, then you should get Jobe’s Easy Gardener Deer Barrier Fencing. This stuff is pretty lightweight, but it’s easy to work with and it hides behind a hedge really nicely.
This fencing is a good deal lighter than the Tenax, but it’s still functional. The lighter weight means it’s harder to see, especially if it’s near a hedge. This stuff is so light in fact that it ships folded in half — there is no way that could happen with Tenax.
The Jobe’s fencing is bit floppy since it’s so light and it’s a little too tall for an 8-foot post, so some reinforcing wire at the top might be warranted, especially if you want a cleaner look.
With this fencing it’s important not to pull it too tight since it will rip if it’s taut and then pressure it applied to it (for example a child bouncing into it). This won’t happen with the higher strength Tenax, which is much stronger and offered some stretch before it tears.
Jobe’s doesn’t say it’s tensile strength, but it seems to be about half that of the Tenax, so about 300 pounds. One advantage of the Jobe’s is it’s small 5/8″ square grid openings. This means it’ll keep out rabbits and other small animals.
An alternative option in the lightweight fencing segment is the Tenax Economy Deer Fence, which is similar to the Jobe’s but has a 400 pound tensile strength.
Deer Fence Sizing
Not sure how much fencing to get or what height? The length is easy: measure the distance around your garden and then add 10% for buffer and mistakes.
The height you need will depend on the posts you get and if you are going all the way to the ground or not.
If you get 8-foot posts then you can get away with a 7-foot deer fence. You’ll need to fold over the fence a bit when you install it because the post will got more than a foot in the ground. But this is OK because you can do the fold at the top and it will reinforce the fencing.
- What's the difference between a T-post and a U-post?
T-posts are metal posts that are shaped like a “T” while U-posts are shaped like a “U” if you look at them from above. T-posts are very reusable, have limited flex, and they are rather expensive. U-posts are affordable, lighter, more flexible, and are sold almost everywhere. T-posts use strong studs where U-posts use flimsy hooks that often bend or break off. This might sound like T-posts are better, but the studs require special tools like a T-post wire clip and a wire clip tool, where a U-post doesn't need any special tools.
- What's the difference between deer netting and deer fencing?
Deer netting is a light weight grid material that can be thrown over bushes or molder around what it's protecting where deer fencing is heavier duty and meant to be used vertically along with fence posts.