How to Deter Deer from Your Garden

A young doe jumping a fence.
  • 1-50 hours
  • Beginner
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Deer are beautiful in the wild, and it often seems like a small miracle to see them bounding through fields or to catch a glimpse of them in the forest. But because of urban sprawl, deer have less and less habitat in which to roam without coming into contact with humans. This pushes deer into home owners' backyards, where they find tasty treats in the form of carefully planted flower beds, which keep them coming back for more.

So how can you protect the beauty of your garden and all your hard work from these larger-than-life pests?

Try Soap

deer among the flowers

There are some tried-and-true unconventional deer repellents and one you might not expect is soap. Regular bar soap, hung from trees or stuck on stakes at intervals throughout the garden, keeps hungry deer at bay - they are repelled by the smell of the soap. Another scent that deer deem unappetizing is human hair. You can get it at a barber shop (maybe for free). Either stuff it in stockings and hang it from the trees, or distribute around plants that the deer like to nibble the most.

Deer also deplore the scent of rotten eggs. Fill a spray bottle with cracked, whisked eggs, and spray over plants. On a hot day, the eggs will begin the decomposition process, which will produce the horrid smell. Spray after a heavy rain or when you see the signs of the deer returning.

Build a Fence

rolls of chicken wire

Fences are the most obvious option for gardeners, but not just any fence. Dear are excellent jumpers, and it's hard to build high enough to keep them out. A fence four feet in height and slanted outward 45 degrees is the best way to keep deer out of gardens. It is the depth of the fence, rather than the height, that prevents deer from making the jump. Alternatively, surround your most vulnerable plants with chicken wire.

Plant Your Repellent

Perhaps the deer deterrent that will blend the most with your carefully landscaped lawn is lots of strong-smelling, but beautiful, plants. Flowers such as lavender, alliums, and salvia are good, natural deer repellents that double as very nice additions to your garden.

All of these methods are safe for deer, which are really just victims of lost habitat and unregulated populations. Given the number and variety of deer deterrents that are easily utilized, it should take no time at all for you to rid yourself of deer. But you'll still be able to watch them from time to time—in your neighbor's yard.