How to Make Raised Garden Beds Deer Proof – 10 Tips and Design Ideas

Deer can quickly go from being cute backyard visitors to four-legged pests when they start munching on your carefully cultivated vegetable garden. If neighborhood deer are treating your raised beds like an all-you-can-eat buffet, it’s time to deer proof your setup. Protecting your plants doesn’t have to be difficult or expensive. With some clever design tricks and deterrents, you can safeguard your garden without sacrificing style or accessibility.

In this article, we’ll explore simple and affordable tips for making raised beds deer resistant. Follow these suggestions for keeping deer at bay while still being able to easily tend your plants.

10 Tips for Deer Proofing Raised Garden Beds

Here are some of the most effective ways to make raised beds deer resistant

1. Add Mesh Fencing Around Beds

Installing a fence around the perimeter of your raised beds is the most direct way to keep deer from accessing plants. Use tall metal deer netting or mesh secured to wooden posts. Aim for fencing at least 6 feet high

2. Try Motion-Activated Sprinklers

Deer dislike being sprayed with water. Install motion detectors that activate sprinklers to startle deer away from the area. Just be sure pets or people passing by don’t get an unexpected shower!

3. Use Fishing Line to Create a Grid

Crisscross transparent fishing line over beds in a grid pattern. The lines are hard for deer to see and will spook them when brushed against. Reapply frequently as the lines sag.

4. Apply Deer Repellent Sprays

Use natural bug sprays that are made with garlic, chili powder, egg solids, or other strong smells to cover the whole bed. Reapply after rain or every 2-4 weeks.

5. Add Deer Resistant Plants

Choose plants like lavender, daffodils, citronella, and sage that deer tend to avoid. See lists online of other deer resistant varieties to incorporate.

6. Scare Them Away With Scent Sachets

Deer will stay away from your garden if you hang bags of dirty hair, soap shavings, garlic cloves, or sweaty clothes around it.

7. Use Motion-Activated Lights and Sounds

Spook deer using lights that flood the area or sounds from radios or alarms triggered by motion sensors. Change locations regularly so deer don’t become accustomed.

8. Apply Milorganite Fertilizer

The scent of this organic nitrogen fertilizer repels deer. Sprinkle it around beds every 4-6 weeks according to package directions.

9. Add a Scarecrow or Predator decoys

Having “guards” like scarecrows, plastic owls, or coyote decoys around can keep deer away surprisingly well. Move them around periodically.

10. Use Natural Topical Sprays on Plants

Make DIY topical sprays from eggs, hot peppers, garlic, or oil and soap and apply directly to plants to deter deer from browsing. Reapply after rain.

Designing Deer Resistant Raised Beds

Incorporating elements designed to thwart deer right into your raised bed construction is another smart tactic.

Add Netted Sides and Roofs

Build cages or enclosures around raised beds using tall metal deer fencing. A roof further prevents deer from jumping in. Ensure ample ventilation and access.

Build a Solid Wood Wall Barrier

Construct a perimeter wooden wall several feet high around the entire bed to physically block deer access. Leave a maintenance access gate.

Elevate Beds Above Deer Height

Build raised beds atop a wooden foundation frame or cinder blocks that elevates the planting surface well above a deer’s reach. At least 10 feet high.

Use Mesh Below Soil Level

Lay mesh fencing underneath the soil layer in raised beds to prevent deer from burrowing underneath to reach plants. Use 1/2 inch aviary wire.

Add Overhang Lips to Beds

Rim raised bed walls with overhang ledges that angle outward. Deer find these overhangs difficult to maneuver around or jump over.

Include Motion-Activated Water Sprayers

Attach motion-detecting sprinklers or sprayers to beds that will douse deer in water if they approach the garden at night.

Opt for Solid Wood Planter Box Style

Wood planter boxes with solid wooden sides provide an added visual deterrent versus basic open-topped, short-walled beds.

Combine Fencing With Other Deterrents

Install perimeter fencing but also add deterrents like repellents, lighting, or scarecrows for additional protection in case deer find a way through.

Separate Edibles and Ornamentals

Fence off only beds containing edibles. Deer often avoid many flowering ornamentals. Save money by leaving decorative beds open.

Sample Deer Proof Raised Bed Designs

Here are a few examples of raised bed designs that help thwart four-legged pests:

Simple Fenced Box

The most straightforward design involves building a basic wooden box frame, lining the bottom with wire mesh to prevent burrowing, and installing tall metal garden fencing around the perimeter. For easy access, include a gate with latch.

Enclosed Cedar Planter

For a more stylish and refined look, construct an enclosed planter from cedar with slatted sides and a hardware cloth bottom. Add netted roof panels that slope away from the center for better rain runoff.

Elevated Bed With Overhang

Elevate a basic raised bed atop concrete blocks or a wooden frame. Make the planted surface 48-60 inches above ground. Add wide, sloped ledges around the top perimeter edge that angle outward to deter deer from jumping in.

Grid and Post System

Set sturdy posts vertically at each corner of the desired bed footprint. String taught horizontal lines across the posts in a grid pattern. Then add vertical lines between. The taut grid physically blocks deer access while still allowing in sun, air, and water.

Decorative Metal Cage

Build an open-air cage enclosure from steel fence panels or welded wire. Post finials, ornamental feet, and finials dress it up. Line the bottom with mesh and include a maintenance gate. Add solar lights!

Key Features of Deer Resistant Raised Beds

Effective deer proof garden beds typically share these design characteristics:

  • Physical barriers like fencing, walls, or elevating out of reach

  • Mesh flooring to prevent access from under beds

  • Motion-activated deterrents like sprinklers or lights

  • Netted roof panels over open-top beds

  • Natural repellent sprays applied routinely

  • Scare tactics using decoys, sounds, or distressed scents

  • Minimal gaps or holes for deer to crawl through

  • Gate latches and barriers on access doors to keep deer from entering

  • Consistent reapplication of deterrent methods before they lose effectiveness

Protect Your Bounty Without Sacrificing Beauty or Access

With some clever planning, you can reap a bountiful vegetable or ornamental garden harvest without sharing it with neighborhood deer. Follow these tips to make your raised beds as resistant to deer as possible. Employ multiple deterrent strategies layered together for the highest chance of success. Be vigilant about reapplying or activating deterrents before deer can adapt. Soon you’ll have a thriving garden that keeps deer at bay while still being decor-friendly and easy to maintain. Let your raised beds nourish your family, not freeloading forest fauna!

A Simple Deer PROOF Garden!


How do I protect my raised garden bed from deer?

Create a physical barrier. Deer can jump very high, so an effective fence needs be at least 7 feet tall. The Easy-Up Lightweight Fence is a 7-foot-tall, temporary fence to protect your garden during the growing season. Or try the Heavy-Duty Deer Fence, which is five times heavier.

How do I protect my raised garden bed from animals?

Go for a vertical advantage by planting in raised beds or pots. Placing your vegetation out of reach of rabbits and burrowing animals will go a long way toward preserving your garden. For extra protection, add a small barrier on top, like a fence or chicken wire, to prevent animals from hopping in.

How do you make a deer resistant vegetable garden?

Physical barriers These includes fences and covers, such as plastic netting, chicken wire, or floating row covers that you place over plants so deer can’t reach them. Covers work well with shorter crops, like lettuce, squash, or bush beans. Anchor lightweight covers in place so high winds don’t displace them.

How do I protect my raised garden bed?

I recommend at the very least coating your lumber in linseed oil or beeswax to preserve them for the long haul. Some gardeners use lining between the interior of their raised bed and soil to protect the wood. Even with the lining, you’ll get seepage of water that will penetrate that wood and linger.

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