close icon

Ask BDS – How Do I Protect My Garden From Deer

Share article:

Article by:
Charles Smith-Jones, Technical Adviser, British Deer Society

Unwelcome garden visitors

Deer are increasingly encountered in gardens, often in some surprisingly urban settings, where they may not always be welcome because of the damage they can cause to valued plants. As a result, the British Deer Society is frequently asked how they can be excluded or discouraged from visiting.

The only truly effective way to prevent deer from visiting gardens is a properly constructed fence. 

Deer usually find it easy to bypass normal boundary or stock fences by jumping over or creeping under them, so this can be an expensive undertaking.  A fence may also be unsightly or not an option for larger areas.  However, climbing plants or hedges can often help to disguise the visual impact of a fence.

The height and mesh size necessary would depend on the deer species involved.  If you do not know which deer species are visiting you can find help with the identification of Deer Species here.  If you are still unsure, the BDS will be pleased to offer identification from a photograph which does not need to be too detailed – just send this to

It is essential that any deer fence is strongly constructed, properly tensioned and either dug in or folded and turfed over on the outside to prevent deer from finding a way underneath.  

Fencing should be robust enough to stop an animal from becoming entangled in it, with a suitable gauge of mesh to prevent deer from squeezing through; if the head fits, it can be surprising to see how easily the body can follow.

Flimsy materials, such as chicken wire, light plastic or nylon mesh should be avoided. 

There must be no gaps at the base as a roe or muntjac can usually squeeze under a space of less than six inches/15cm.  Unless the area is exceptionally undisturbed during the day, most movement is likely to occur at night. 

Depending on your circumstances, it might also be possible to persuade deer to avoid the area and not return by making it less attractive to them, but on no account should attempts be made to shoo out a fenced-in deer as it will inevitably panic and may injure itself. 

Help BDS Continue To Speak Up For Deer

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit.

Your choice regarding cookies on this site. We use cookies to optimise site functionality and give you the best possible experience.