As the growing season progresses, gardens will start to become packed with foliage, flowers, and fresh fruits and vegetables. While we enjoy reaping all the benefits that our gardens produce, so does the local wildlife. Because of this, many gardeners choose to line the perimeter of their garden with a fence to keep the unwanted animals out. But when it comes to erecting a garden fence, just how high should it be?
So how high should a garden fence be? A 2 to 3 ft. (0.6 to 0.9 m) fence around your garden will keep most animals out. If larger animals such as deer are trespassing onto your garden, a fence 6 to 7 ft. (1.8 to 2.1 m) tall will do. However, other factors such as the fence material or depth will also play a part in determining how effective your fence will be.
While height is arguably the most important factor to determine when constructing a fence for your garden, there are plenty of other factors that should be taken into consideration too. In this article, we will cover all aspects that should be taken into account so that you can create the most effective fence for your garden.
How high should a garden fence be?
Ultimately, the height of your garden fence really depends on the type of animal(s) you are trying to keep out. The following table lists a number of common garden pests followed by the required fence height needed to keep said animals out.
|Squirrel||2 ft. (0.6 meters)|
|Rabbit||2.5 ft. (0.76 meters)|
|Groundhog||3 ft. (0.9 meters)|
|Deer||6.5 ft. (2 meters)|
|Fox||6 ft. (1.8 meters)|
|Gopher||1 ft. (0.3 meters)|
|Mouse||1 ft. (0.3 meters)|
|Vole||1 ft. (0.3 meters)|
|Elk||6.5 ft. (2 meters)|
|Prairie Dog||1 ft. (0.3 meters)|
|Chipmunk||2.5 ft. (0.76 meters)|
|Dog||3 ft. (0.9 meters)|
|Coyote||5 ft (1.5 meters)|
|Snake||2 ft. (0.6 meters)|
|Opossum||3 ft. (0.9 meters)|
|Skunk||3 ft. (0.9 meters)|
|Armadillo||1.5 ft (0.46 meters)|
As stated earlier, most animals will have a difficult time getting over a fence more than 2 to 3 feet. (0.6 to 0.9 meters) If you have a problem with larger animals such as deer or foxes however, you may have to double that height to keep them out of your garden.
How deep should a Garden Fence Be?
While a tall garden fence may prevent animals from climbing over and getting to your plants, many animals are capable of bypassing said fence by digging underneath it to infiltrate your garden. Having said that, depth is another important factor that should be taken into consideration when constructing a fence for your garden.
So how deep should your garden fence be? A garden fence that is at least 1 foot (0.3 meters) below the ground is enough to keep burrowing animals like rabbits, voles and groundhogs from getting to your garden.
While many burrowing animals such as groundhogs can and do dig holes that exceed 12 inches in depth, they often give up digging when a barrier such as a fence is in their way.
In the rare event that animals do successfully burrow beneath your garden fence, there are a handful of other methods to keep animals out.
What is the best Material for a Garden Fence?
There are countless different materials one can use to construct a fence for their garden. So which one is the best? I’ve found that chicken wire held up by wooden posts staked every to 3 feet makes for a highly effective fence however, the type of animals you’re trying to keep out should ultimately determine which material you use.
As stated earlier, there are plenty of different materials to make a garden fence out of. Below I’ve listed some of the most popular materials and discussed their pros and cons.
Chicken Wire: Sturdy and effective, chicken wire is a great option for building a garden fence as it will stand the test of time. One drawback to chicken wire however, is animals such as mice and voles may be small enough to fit through the gaps in the fencing. If this is the case, you may want to use something different.
Hardware Fabric: Another great material for garden fencing as it is sturdy and will last quite a while. Its small gaps make it nearly impossible for even the smallest of animals to fit through. It can be a bit pricey to line an entire garden with hardware fabric however.
Netting: This works best when trying to keep large animals such as deer or elk out of your garden. Netting is almost always cheaper than most other fencing materials so it is great for constructing fences that are big and tall.
Vinyl Fencing: Another cheap and reliable fencing material that can be found at most garden stores. Vinyl Garden fencing usually spans about 2 to 3 feet (0.6 to 0.9 m)in height so it is tall enough to keep most animals out.
Wooden Fence: Constructing your own wooden fence for your garden can be a great idea in the long run. A wooden fence is arguably one of the most effective types of fences one can put around their garden. While highly effective and visually appealing, wooden fences can be expensive and often take a while to install compared to other popular fence materials.
Alternatives for a Garden Fence
Sometimes a garden fence just isn’t enough to keep the animals out. Animals like groundhogs and raccoons can find creative ways to bypass even the most fortified garden fences. If animals are still making it past your garden fence, there are a number of other methods one can use to stop them.
Create a Proxy Garden: An easy way to deter animals from consuming your garden plants is to create a separate garden for said animals to feast on. This can be anything from a few small plants to an entire vegetable bed. Find out what the foods your garden-invading animals enjoy the most, and plant them close to their home.
Setting Traps: Another great way to keep animals from consuming your plants is to set some traps in and around your garden. Setting an animal trap is also pretty easy and straightforward. The only factor you really need to account for when shopping for animals traps is the size. If your trap is too small, the animals won’t go inside while too large of a trap may give provide an easy escape.
Animal Repellants: There are plenty of different animal repellants out on the market. In addition, there are also plenty of homemade remedies that work great at deterring animals too! For example, a mixture of ¼ cup of milk combined with a few drops of dish soap is said to be a highly effective deer repellant.
Planting Unappealing Plants: While there are plenty of plants animals love consuming, there are also a handful of plants many animals just cannot stand. Plants such as mint, marigolds and lavender are great plant deterrents for rodents. Additionally, the pungent smell of plants like onions, garlic and leeks can help drive animals away from your garden too.
Now you have all the information you need to construct the most effective fence for your garden. While adequate fence height is crucial, a fence’s depth and the material you use are just as important. And even if your fences fail, you now have several other methods of repelling animals under your belt.
Good luck keeping those animals out and good luck with your gardening!
If you think we left something out, or just have any other gardening questions let us know in the comments below!