How to Keep Deer Out of a Garden With an Electric Fence


Although many people love the sight of deer majestically striding through early morning fog, few enjoy seeing the same deer munching on their garden produce. You can dissuade deer from entering your garden with a variety of techniques, including natural and chemical repellents. But one of the most effective deer deterrents is an electric fence. One of the keys in keeping deer out of a garden with an electric fence is to turn the energizer on as soon as you install it so the deer don't become used to going through it without getting shocked.

Step 1

Mark the corner post locations of your garden fence with spray paint. Make sure the wires are far enough away from your outside garden rows to allow you to pass through easily with a wheelbarrow or tiller without getting shocked yourself.

Step 2

Position the base of the first steel T-post against the first spray-painted corner post location. Slide your post-driver over the top of the T-post, bringing it down until the top of the driver touches the top of the post. Straighten the post and pound it firmly into the ground 12 to 18 inches. Repeat this process with each of the corner posts.

Step 3

Run a strand of poly-wire tightly between the corner posts to mark the location of the fence line. Pound in steel T-posts along the fence line for line posts, 12 to 20 feet apart.

Step 4

Clasp two clip-on plastic T-post insulators on the first corner post, 15 and 30 inches from the ground. Position the front of the insulator on the inside of the post, encircle the post with the clasp, and pull it until it clicks into position. Repeat this process for each corner post and each line post.

Step 5

Thread the poly-wire through the insulators, creating a fence that has two electric wires. Peel back the first 2 inches of insulation on an 18-inch strip of insulated cable. Wrap one end of the exposed cable wire around the top strand of poly-wire and wrap the other end around the bottom strand of poly-wire. This process connects the strands of poly-wire to ensure they both can produce an electric shock.

Step 6

Connect the bottom strand of poly-wire to the positively-charged fence terminal on your fence energizer using an additional section of insulated cable. Be sure to strip back the ends of the insulation so the cable is in direct contact with the poly-wire and the energizer terminal.

Step 7

Install the grounding system. A single 6- to 8-foot ground rod should provide adequate grounding. Pound the galvanized steel rod straight into the ground within 6 to 8 feet of the fence energizer with a hammer, leaving the top 2 inches exposed. Cut a piece of insulated cable that is long enough to reach from the fence energizer to the ground rod. Strip back the ends of insulation from the wire. Connect one end of the insulated cable strip to the ground rod using a copper clamp. Attach the other end to the negatively charged ground terminal. Electrify the fence.

Step 8

Monitor your fence to ensure deer are not going through it. If you notice deer getting through the fence, you can attach strips of peanut butter-smeared aluminum foil to the strands of poly-wire to entice the deer to touch the fence.

Tips and Warnings

  • Do not touch the fence unless the energizer is turned off. Minimize risk of electrical shock by attaching yellow warning signs to the fence.

Things You'll Need

  • Spray paint
  • Steel T-posts
  • Post-driver
  • Poly-wire
  • Clip-on plastic insulators
  • 18-inch strip of insulated fencing cable
  • Insulated fencing cable
  • Fence energizer
  • 5/8-diameter galvanized steel rod (6-8 feet long)
  • Hammer
  • Wire cutters
  • Copper clamp
  • Peanut butter (optional)
  • Aluminum foil (optional)


  • WV Department of Natural Resources: Deer Control in Home Gardens
  • University of Vermont: Effective Deer Fences
Keywords: deer in gardens, fencing the garden, electric garden fences

About this Author

Regan Hennessy has been writing professionally for 11 years. A freelance copywriter and certified teacher, Hennessy specializes in the areas of parenting, health, education, agriculture and personal finance. During her time with Demand Studios, Hennessy has produced content for Ehow, Answerbag and Travels. Hennessy graduated from Lycoming College with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English.