Simple Deer Proofing

Simple Deer Proofing

Gardening can be so rewarding. You plant the tiny seeds and baby plants, carefully watering them and with gentle care you see them grow and are compensated with delicious fruit and vegetables.

Sometimes something goes wrong though… something you just weren’t expecting…

That’s exactly what happened to us this week. The day started out calm and sweet… I had no idea what I was about to face. We were sitting on the screen porch enjoying our morning coffee just taking in the views of our backyard gardens and enjoying the birds singing their morning songs, when suddenly my husband said, “Hey, what happened to your apple tree?”

It was just yesterday afternoon that I had remarked how well the fruit trees were doing. I planted 5 trees total, 2 cherries and 3 apples. Though they came in a dormant state, they all had really healthy new growth on them. Funny how things can change in a single day.

Coffee was over.

Once I went around and inspected what exactly was wrong with my apple tree, I was sick to my stomach! Overnight a deer had just moseyed around my back yard and enjoyed an appetizer here and there.

Oh, I was furious!
Simple Deer Proofing

The measly 5 or 10 new little leaves on my fruit tree were nothing but an appetizer to the deer, but to the tree, that’s all it had. These are wee baby trees, they are just whips, a deer could easily eat the whole blooming tree in about 3 seconds.

There was a lot of ‘gol-dangits’ coming out of my mouth during the garden inspection.

Simple Deer Proofing

From the fruit trees, both apples and cherries were dined upon, the deer moved over to the vines:

Simple Deer Proofing

Funny how they just munched a leaf here and there on the cukes and zucchini.

Simple Deer Proofing

Crying’s over, this was war.


I don’t mean the beginning of a battle between the deer and me, this was a simple war. The thing is, I don’t have enough vegetable plants and fruit trees to carry on a battle with the deer… They could wipe out my crop pretty much in a single night. This was going to have to be a quick and concise response that would (hopefully) end it once and for all. There goes all the old wive’s tales like hanging Irish Spring and the like… No, this was going to have to be a little more scientific and yet easy to do this very day. (A shotgun was tempting, but that was out as well. LOL)

We needed a simple deer proofing barrier ASAP!

Funny thing is, my mom, who truly is a wise old wife, LOL said to me just a few weeks ago about the need to be mindful to watch for the deer in my backyard, and me in my ever-so-smartie-pants response assured her that we are in town and our yard is fenced, so we wouldn’t need to be worrying about such things. (Yes, we do live in town, but on the edge of town where the deer seem to have figured out they’re safer than in the country, because no hunting in town. Come to find out, the deer have actually become a nuisance to many folks in town.) Mom also reminded me that deer can easily leap over a fence, especially a low picket fence like ours.

At first I was thinking I’d need to surround each fruit tree with a deer fence, but then what about my other plants? I wasn’t going to be able to individually fence each planter, (here you can see my raised bed planters) I needed to keep the deer out of the entire backyard. After some research online, I found a simple deer proofing remedy that sounded like a good fit for our garden, (check out the end of this post for a link to that video).

We have a tall fence and a building on the back of the yard, and a deep drop off with a fence on top of it on the other side, but on just this one side of the yard, there is a gentle slope with a 3′ picket fence. That’s the side we concentrated on… pretty sure that’s the side they’ve entered the backyard through.

Here are our simple supplies, (shopping links at end of post for you): 4 tall T-posts and some 50# test line, (you know, fishing line).

Simple Deer Proofing

The whole idea is to set up posts and tie the line to it horizontally creating an invisible barrier, (nearly invisible) that sort of freaks the deer out when they try to enter. In our case, they would try to leap over the picket fence, but instead be met with an invisible barrier that was higher than the picket fence and since they couldn’t see it, would serve as a simple deer proofing barrier.

Simple Deer Proofing

The video said that sometimes when light reflects on the line it could make it somewhat visible to the deer, so this dark green line seemed good to help prevent that as much as possible.

Simple Deer Proofing

A fence post driver makes easy work of the posts going in…. (oh, I bet you thought I was talking about the tool… that is very helpful as well… but I was talking about my husband… he’s swell at helping on the muscle part of projects like this).

Simple Deer Proofing

Once the posts were in place, just one on each corner, about 2′ outside of the picket fence. I tied the fishing line to the posts creating several horizontal rows of nearly invisible line about 6″ apart.

Simple Deer Proofing

See, it is nearly invisible, isn’t it?!

Simple Deer Proofing

Since we have a gate we use during the day, we have a temporary set up for that. We just move the line across for the evening after we’re done using the gate for the day.

Simple Deer Proofing

So that’s what it looks like all finished:

Simple Deer Proofing

I think I’ll paint the fence posts all black so that they blend in a little bit better.

It’s been a week and so far not a single deer has been into the back yard for an appetizer (or their main entree! Yikes!)  I think this simple deer proofing fence is actually working!

I will keep you updated on it and let you know if this continues to successfully keep the deer out…

Now, to the blossom end rot on the tomatoes… I have a plan… check back!

Shopping Links:

Here are more posts about garden and landscape projects:

To see the video that inspired us, check it out here.

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Reader Interactions


  1. Candy Delano says

    We have a lot of deer in our area but not in my yard. The dog likes to chase them so they don’t bother us. My problem, for anyone out there that can help as we are desperate, is MOLES. They are all over my front and side yard and I have a cat and 2 dogs so the stuff I’ve looked into is poisonous to them. Any suggestions. I want to plant my Norfolk Pine and a few other plants but am afraid the moles may destroy them. Thanks for any help you can give me.

    • Liz says

      Candy, I’m not sure how to get rid of the moles… I know when we had skunks digging up our front yard, the answer was getting rid of their food source. In that case it was treating the lawn for the grubs hidden under the grass. Once the grubs were gone, so were the skunks. Do you know what moles eat? Could it be something that easy? Good luck!!

      • JudynIvey says

        Candy, we had this problem and it was so bad we were watching a plant one day and saw it literally just go down in the ground like the little monster was down there just pulling with all his might. Get some Juicy Fruit chewing gum, (it has to be Juicy Fruit),
        and break off little pieces and put it in the area where they are. Better yet, if you see the holes in the ground. drop small pieces in the hole. It won’t take long. Sounds ridiculous, but it worked for me. good luck.

  2. Casey Terminello says

    This set-up is very dangerous to deer. It is almost invisible and a deer could get seriously hurt if it didn’t see the wire. I would not suggest this as a remedy.

    • Liz says

      Casey, thanks for your comment… Perhaps in some conditions this wouldn’t be the best answer, but in this case with a visible picket fence right next to it, we feel confident of it’s safety. Also, it should be noted, it’s not “wire” as you wrote, it’s filament, (plastic fishing line) so that is much weaker than actual wire would be. I do believe it is safe for this application.

  3. Donnamae says

    Oh Liz…you have my sympathies on your fruit trees. Deer…for such beautiful animals…sure do ravage the landscape, don’t they? I will be very curious as to how your semi-invisible fencing worked out for the long haul. I think it’s a great solution, especially if you already have fencing. We do not, so my solution is to spray my plants…hydrangeas and hostas seem to be their favorites. The spray is stinky, but only til it dries. It does seem to last quite awhile, too. Thankfully, my veggies are safely tucked into pots on our 2nd floor deck. Now…time for you to get back to relaxing in the backyard with a cup or glass of something! 😉

    • Liz says

      Yes, Donnamae, I totally agree… They are such pretty animals, at a distance. LOL I’ve heard of spray, what kind do you use? Good to hear that it works!

      • Donnamae says

        I use Liquid Fence….deer and rabbit repellent. Like I said it’s stinky, but only til it dries. And it lasts…a month. Then you might have to reapply. Hope you are running the battle! Sorry it took so long to reply….I kept forgetting. That’s because I didn’t write it down, lol! 😉

    • Liz says

      Judy, I would be curious how it could possibly injure someone… person or animal? If a person walked into it, (they would be walking directly into the picket fence, so not sure why someone would be doing that?!) they would just bounce back… The line goes across from the bottom to the top. Their whole body would run into it. In fact, this would hurt less than if someone walked directly into the picket fence. LOL

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