How to Build a Deer-Proof Raised Bed Garden

How to build a deer-proof raised bed garden using an easy “just add lumber” kit with step-by-step directions.

Our new garden turned out so well, and I’m excited to share with you how to build a deer-proof raised bed garden for yourself using THIS easy “just add lumber” kit !

How to Build a Deer-Proof Raised Bed Garden Pinterest

For as long as I can remember, I’ve always tackled some kind of project on my Memorial Day weekends.

I always viewed Memorial Weekend as a way to recharge my batteries, so I could be fully invested in the kids when they were home all summer. And our summers home together are still some of my favorite memories.

For me, recharging looks like totally throwing myself into a project I’d been wanting to get done for some time. If the weather was cooperative, I’d choose a project that would let me be outside all weekend long.

This year, when I suggested to my husband that maybe we should use Memorial Day Weekend to build a garden, he was all in.

Sometimes, I don’t know how I got so blessed to have a partner now who fully embraces my schemes and is ready and willing to jump right in with me. I tell ya, people, this guy is a keeper.

The Whiskey Barrel Garden

Last year was our first summer in our new home.

We spent all spring and a good chunk of the summer on the landscaping and getting grass to grow on the back part of our acreage, beyond where we laid sod. A garden just wasn’t in the cards.

But, I was not prepared to face a summer with no home-grown tomatoes though, so we bought a half whiskey barrel and planted one tomato plant, just to make do.

This spring, we discussed the idea of a “real” garden, but at the time, we were fully in the grips of quarantine, I was trying to learn how to effectively teach from home, and Mark was working in the ICU at the hospital at a time when nobody still really knew what to expect with COVID-19.

It was a lot of stress to say the least.

So the garden idea got tossed aside, and instead, I ordered two more whiskey barrels online from Home Depot, and picked them up curbside.

At the beginning of May, I planted two tomatoes this time, and one cucumber, and pushed the real garden idea back to next summer.

How to Build a Deer-Proof Raised Bed Garden

Why We Needed to Build a Deer-Proof Raised Bed Garden:

A Lot of Critters Live Out Here

One thing that was challenging us when it came to the idea of a garden, was the amount of wildlife we have out here on our new property.

We regularly have deer traipsing through our yard, in addition to a huge array of other creatures. Coyotes, raccoons, foxes, opossums, bobcats, muskrats, voles, moles, snakes, ducks, geese, eagles, hawks, egrets, herons, and even a skunk have been spotted by us, or captured on our security cameras, both day and night.

This week alone, we had a painted turtle trying to get into the garden, and a mother raccoon catching frogs in the nearby pond for her babies.

One of my favorite things about living here is all the nature we get to observe. But, at the same time, I didn’t want to go to all the trouble of creating a garden only for it to become a salad bar for the critters instead of for us! 😂

A Change of Plans…

One night when Mark was working the evening shift, I was brainstorming how we could have a garden and keep the animals out.

At my former house, I built myself a simple raised bed garden, and just put a little knee-high fence around the perimeter, because in suburbia, it was only the rabbits I had to keep out.

Here, we needed something much more serious. 🤣

As I was browsing the internet, I came across several pictures and plans for raised garden beds with a built in deer fence attached. As I examined them, it seemed like something we could handle, and that is where the idea for a Memorial Day project began!

Memorial Day weekend happened to be one of my hubby’s holidays off this year, and with all the stress we’d both been under because of coronavirus, it seemed like a fun and relaxing (and safe) way to decompress.

When I showed Mark the pictures online of what I wanted to build, he was all in.

Additionally, it served as a good way for my mother-in-law to get out of her house and have a safe thing to do during this mess. All of her senior activities have been canceled for months, so it was nice to be able to invite her over to pull up a lawn chair and get some sunshine, fresh air, and company.

Items We Used to Build Our Garden

How to Build a Deer-Proof Raised Bed Garden:

The Wood

The first step in building a deer-proof raised bed garden was to order the wood.

We knew we wanted to use natural cedar because we didn’t want the chemicals from green-treated lumber leaching into the soil and the veggies.

I looked around online at various places like Lowes, Home Depot, and Menards, and soon discovered that we clearly weren’t the only ones who were using some of their quarantine time for home improvement projects, because none of the three big box stores around here had all the various sizes of cedar we’d need.

Getting everything we needed would have required us to visit all three stores, gathering some of the pieces at each one.

Um, no.

I wouldn’t have wanted to do that during normal life, let alone. in the middle of a PANDEMIC. Huh-uh.

Then I remembered a local lumber company that had delivered all the wood to frame our home a couple of years ago. I gave them a call.

Because they have their own mill on-site, they were able to make me exactly the sizes of wood that I wanted! And, they were willing to deliver it to me for free the very next day!

Several of these pieces were 12 feet long, so them bringing it was a big relief. It would have been hard to get those suckers home ourselves. 😂

Making the Cuts

This was a lot of expensive cedar, so we didn’t want to mess it up. To make sure we could get accurate cuts, my hubby bought this Craftsman Sliding Miter Saw at Lowes.

We wanted this to be a fun project for us to take on together, and one thing I’ve learned over the years is that having the right tools makes a big difference in your enjoyment of a project.

Sure, we could probably have made one of the saws we already have work, but it would have been harder and not as accurate, which likely would have diminished the quality of the finished piece and maybe caused frustration.

This saw was reasonably priced, worked great, and now we have it for future projects, too. Well-worth it in my opinion.

Saw used for How to Build a Deer-Proof Raised Bed Garden

We spent the first day of our project doing all the cutting.

Honestly, this part took longer than I thought it would. Seems like everything does lately, though. 🤣.

But, we wanted to be cautious, because we had purchased only exactly the right amount of cedar that we needed, and if we made a mistake, we’d have to figure out how to get a replacement.

I think it took us about 5 hours, with me measuring and marking (and double-checking myself), and the hubs making the cuts. It was a lot of cuts.

It was fine though because remember we wanted to enjoy ourselves. We were sipping coffee, listening to music, and taking our time figuring out how to build our deer-proof raised bed garden.

After we had all the cuts made in the garage/driveway, we carried all the pieces around back and laid them out in stacks on the lower back patio.

This turned out to be a good workspace, because it gave us some shade by working underneath the deck, and gave us a flat workspace for assembling the trellises, with easy access to electrical outlets.

Cedar for How to Build a Deer-Proof Raised Bed Garden

Building the Base of the Deer-Proof Raised Bed Garden

The back of the raised bed is 12 feet and the sides are 8 feet.

making the base: How to Build a Deer-Proof Raised Bed Garden

We used 10″ by 2″ pieces of cedar, stacked two high to make the base, attaching them with metal corner brackets. This makes the height of the raised beds 20″, which I love!

I also love the little keyhole cutout in the center, which makes everything in the garden so accessible!

In the picture below, you can see how we used some of our scrap wood pieces to add a brace across the longest 12′ run. We wanted to make sure it wouldn’t bow out, or get out of alignment once all the dirt was added.

How to Build a Deer-Proof Raised Bed Garden --cedar frame almost done.

Another Layer of Critter Protection

At the last minute, we decided to add some mesh screening on the bottom to keep out any tunneling creatures like moles or voles.

I haven’t seen any moles, but in the far back part of our property, I do notice several holes where something tunnels. And we definitely have seen several voles and their trails.

The last thing we wanted was to go to all the trouble of building this well-fortified garden with a fence, only to have some little guys tunnel up from the bottom! And since this is definitely one of those things you can’t go back and add later, we decided “better safe than sorry”.

I ordered 3 rolls of this wire mesh from Lowes online, and picked it up curbside. Then we cut it with wire cutters just enough bigger than the bottom of the garden that it would go up the sides about an inch or so.

Be really careful doing this because the edges are sharp!

We made sure to wear work gloves when we were working with the wire, to protect our hands, but this still turned out to be the only injury of the whole project, when I accidentally rubbed my ankle across the edge of a piece of the mesh, instantly drawing blood. 😳 🩸

Wire mesh to keep tunneling moles and rodents out. How to Build a Deer-Proof Raised Bed Garden

Building the Trellises/Deer Fencing

Next, we assembled the upper sides of the garden. These serve as both a barrier to keep the deer out, and also mesh trellises to support any vining plants, like cucumbers.

Trellis frame. How to Build a Deer-Proof Raised Bed Garden

Applying Wood Protector

At this point, we decided to apply a clear wood protector to the cedar, to make it withstand the elements better. We used Cabot’s Clear Wood Protector just to give the wood some water and UV protection, without adding color, since the new cedar was already a nice tone.

We made sure to apply the stain to only the exterior portion of the base. We didn’t want the toxic chemicals to come in contact with the soil, and seep into our vegetables.

We did apply the water protector to all sides of the trellises though because those won’t be in contact with the soil at all.

Bulding the deer-proof fence for How to Build a Deer-Proof Raised Bed Garden

Adding the Trellis Netting

We used heavy-duty polyester netting and cut it just slightly larger than each trellis piece.

Then we tacked it down with a staple about every 2 inches on all sides, using an electric staple gun.

You can use a manual staple gun, but this ends up being a lot of staples. I think we went through a box of 1200.

My hand was tired after I was done, even with an electric staple gun.

Heavy-duty polyester netting How to Build a Deer-Proof Raised Bed Garden

Attaching the Trellises

The trellis frames are made out of 2x2s and 2x4s, so they sit nicely on top of the 2×10 inch boards of the base. We secured them by drilling multiple 3″ screws along each one.

We were very careful to drill pilot holes first, so we didn’t split the cedar. One thing that was a big help was using both our Ryobi drill for the pilot holes, and our Ryobi impact driver to insert the screws.

By having both, we didn’t have to keep switching drill bits over and over. Plus, my hubby had these magnetic bowls, which were super handy to make sure our screws weren’t getting lost in the grass.

Not to mention, how lucky were we to be working with this view? See what I mean about the enjoyment of a good project, especially an outside one? It was just what my tired soul needed.

How to Build a Deer-Proof Raised Bed Garden.  Rural are with many deer.

Attaching the Door

latch and door hinges on the gate 
How to Build a Deer-Proof Raised Bed Garden

We built the door out of 2x2s and 2x4s. The bottom panel of the door has some hard wire mesh that is black plastic coated to make it stronger, and the top has more polyester netting.

We added three pretty sturdy hinges, and a self-latching gate clasp to hold the door shut.

This is where we made our only “mistake”.

We realized the 2×4 in the middle of the door wasn’t going to align correctly with the post rail for the door to lock properly.

It was an easy fix though. We just had to remove the screws, move it down, and drill new holes.

No big deal.

Ready for Dirt!

Can you believe that the dirt was the hardest part of this whole project?! 🤪 Both acquiring it and hauling it.

It never even occurred to me that we’d have a hard time finding dirt. I mean, really?

I started calling around to various companies and many of them told me that because a record number of people had decided to build a garden this year, they were out of garden soil.

I guess this pandemic made everyone decide they better secure their own food supply, huh?

Victory Gardens for everyone! 🤣

It took calls to multiple places, plus one guy who stood me up twice, before I finally caved and paid more than I wanted to a company who agreed to bring it in an hour. Worth it.

They brought almost 4 tons of a garden soil mix (60% black soil, 20% compost, and 20% sand) and dumped it right in the middle of our driveway. Which is a looooooong way from our garden site. Like, an acre away.

Fortunately, my hubs had this handy garden cart that attaches to his lawn tractor which we used to haul allllll of that dirt back there, one cart at a time.

Shovel it in the cart, drive the cart back to the garden, shovel it out of the cart. Doing this with 4 tons of dirt was a long, hot, sweaty process.

We also had help from our strong and energetic 18-year-old, who has youth on his side. 😂

But even my 82-year-old mother-in-law did a little shoveling. I was impressed!

It was definitely a group effort to get this part done.

Hauling the garden soil to fill the raised bed garden. 
How to Build a Deer-Proof Raised Bed Garden

Above is a picture of my husband hauling a couple of totes of dirt we had leftover from another project.

We dumped those in the bottom of the garden base first, and then the 4 tons of garden soil, but even that wasn’t quite enough. After it settled a bit, we still added about 6 bags of compost and peat moss on top.

But look at that beautiful dark, rich soil we ended up with! That is going to grow some mighty good veggies, I have no doubt.

Garden soil. How to Build a Deer-Proof Raised Bed Garden

Time to Plant!

The raised beds are more than 20″ high, which made adding the plants so easy! No stooping down.

Plus, since the soil is such a nice loose mix of dirt, compost and sand, it was light and easy to work with. All of the plants tucked in so nicely.

Adding plants to the raised bed garden. How to Build a Deer-Proof Raised Bed Garden

This 12’x8′ garden has a surprising amount of space to work with. In here I was able to plant 4 tomatoes plants, 2 cucumber plants, one zucchini plant, one yellow squash plant and 8 pepper plants (4 each of 2 different varieties!)

Pea gravel in the bottom of the rasied-bed garden.
How to Build a Deer-Proof Raised Bed Garden

Not only is the height of the beds perfect, but I love the little keyhole cutout center.

It makes it so easy to access all the plants without having to traipse through the middle of a muddy garden to reach things.

Not only is the height of the beds perfect, but I love the little keyhole cutout center.  It makes it so easy to access all the plants without having to traipse through the middle of a muddy garden to reach things.
How to Build a Deer-Proof Raised Bed Garden

Plus, we added several bags of pea gravel in the walking area, which keeps the grass from growing up, and prevents it from being muddy after watering.

How to Build a Deer-Proof Raised Bed Garden Plus, we added several bags of pea gravel in the walking area, which keeps the grass from growing up, and prevents it from being muddy after watering.
How to Build a Deer-Proof Raised Bed Garden, pea gravel filler.

I was so excited to get my plants in there at the end of the weekend!

My husband worked on the mowing, and I got all my plant babies nestled into their new home.

How to Build a Deer-Proof Raised Bed Garden
How to Build a Deer-Proof Raised Bed Garden

Just as we were finishing up, we were treated with these beautiful rays.

How to Build a Deer-Proof Raised Bed Garden

And then when I looked across the pasture, I saw these little guys watching us, making me glad all our plants were fully protected in their garden fortress. 😂

I love watching the deer, but we didn’t go to all this work to provide them with a snack. 🤣

Deer! How to Build a Deer-Proof Raised Bed Garden

Finishing Touch: Flagstone Pavers

A Memorial Day project many years ago was to build a small fish pond in the back yard of my former house.

Well, when we moved, I brought those flagstones with me, hoping to find a new purpose for them.

How to Build a Deer-Proof Raised Bed Garden, flagstone pavers

For the past several years, they’ve just been hanging out waiting for the right place to relocate.

After we got the garden done, and the pea gravel inside, we decided we needed a way to block a little more of the gap under the door, and hold the gravel in.

The flagstones worked perfectly.

How to Build a Deer-Proof Raised Bed Garden --flagstone pavers for the path

We used paver leveling sand to situate them, and then Quickrete Sand/Topping Mix to fill in the gaps and hold them in place.

How to Build a Deer-Proof Raised Bed Garden, flagstone pavers
Flagstone Pavers
How to Build a Deer-Proof Raised Bed Garden

I love how it turned out! Plus, we arranged them in a bit of a slope, so it serves as a little ramp to get the garden cart in and out of there if needed, and allows the water to run off away from the gate.

Ta Da!

How to Build a Deer-Proof Raised Bed Garden
How to Build a Deer-Proof Raised Bed Garden

Plus, it’s a happy memory from days gone by every time I walk over those stones. ❤️💕

How to Build a Deer-Proof Raised Bed Garden
How to Build a Deer-Proof Raised Bed Garden

More Garden Kit Options

The Watering Dilemma

When we were building our house, we noticed too late that the builder oddly did not include an outdoor water spigot on the far side of the house, closest to where we placed our garden.

There is one in the garage and one on the side closest to the garage. Design flaw.

Originally, I thought it wouldn’t be a big deal to just drag a really long hose from the side of the house out to the garden to water. Wrong.

Have you ever drug 200 feet of hose across an acre of property in 100-degree heat? And then rolled it allllll back up again.

Yeah, that was not going to happen daily.

While we were figuring out Plan B, I made do by filling my favorite red water can (a gift from my mother-in-law) many times over and trekking it out to the garden.

How to Build a Deer-Proof Raised Bed Garden

And then, these guys showed up to save the day!

Adding irrigation to the garden.
How to Build a Deer-Proof Raised Bed Garden

They work for the company that originally installed our lawn irrigation system, and they had a plan!

They added two new lines to our existing irrigation system. One is a little box inset in the ground, and when you open it, a hose spigot pops up! Hose problem solved!

Adding irrigation.
How to Build a Deer-Proof Raised Bed Garden
Now I just need to get the grass to come back around it. 😒

And even better, the second new line runs directly to the garden, and up each corner.

We can now program that zone independently to water the garden on a timed schedule every day, even when we aren’t home! Brilliant!

How to Build a Deer-Proof Raised Bed Garden with automatic watering irrigation.
See that little green box in the grass? That’s the pop-up hose!

The garden sprinklers can be operated from the main controller in the garage, or directly from our phones. Money well-spent in my opinion.

We decided to go with both the hose option and the wifi sprinkler option, because this way, if we aren’t home or traveling (in future summers), it will automatically water without us needing to hire someone to come do it.

Plus, now we also have hose access on that side of the house for whatever else we might need it for.

Zones 1-8 are the lawn sprinklers, and zone 9 is the garden. It’s on its own program.

How to Build a Deer-Proof Raised Bed Garden irrigation.

Garden Planning & Record Keeping

Garden plans
How to Build a Deer-Proof Raised Bed Garden

Before I planted my garden, I made a plan of where to place things.

I recorded each type of plant. As the growing season goes on, I can jot notes of what grew well, what didn’t, and how each plant produced.

This will help me make decisions about next year’s garden. If we liked or didn’t like a particular variety, I will be able to recall what it was, so I can purchase, or not purchase, it again.

If I didn’t do this, there’s no chance I’d remember by next spring. Pretty sure this is a trait I got from my mom. She was the queen of note writing. ❤️

Update: This year I bought this garden journal to keep 5 years worth of garden planning, rather than using my clipboard. I’m loving it! You can find the journal HERE.

Bonus Garden

And, we still have our bonus garden, too!

The grape tomato and heirloom tomato I had planted in early May were so well-established, I didn’t want to disturb them, so I left those in the whiskey barrels.

I moved the cucumber and placed it next to the second one of a different variety in the raised bed garden. Then I added Brussels Sprouts in that barrel instead. I’ve never grown sprouts before, but decided that I’m going to try one new thing each year. This year, it’s Brussels Sprouts.

If you have any Brussels Sprouts advice, I’d love to hear it!

How to Build a Deer-Proof Raised Bed Garden in whiskey barrels.

One thing leads to another…

As one project often has a way of leading to another, after we got done with the build of our deer-proof raised bed garden, the bright new cedar made our old A-frame swing look pretty sad. This swing is another project from a loooooong time ago, with some very special memories tied to it.

It used to be a playset that we built, with my dad’s help, for my kids when they were just toddlers. When I got divorced and bought a new house, my dad and I took it all apart, moved it to the new house, and painstakingly put it back together. My kids enjoyed it there for a few more years.

When they got too big for it, I was sad to get rid of it, so my dad suggested we turn it into an A-frame to hold a porch swing instead. One weekend years and years ago, he and my mom came over (she brought lunch and supervised 🥰) and my dad and I worked together to take down the old playset and repurpose the wood to build the A-frame. The porch swing was a Mother’s Day gift from my kids that year.

When I sold that house, there was no way I was leaving that swing behind, so my sweet husband went out to the backyard in the dead of winter (we sold that house in January), took it apart, and hauled it away to storage. It stayed disassembled for months until this home was finally done, and we set it back up here.

After a new coat of stain, it looks refreshed again and makes the perfect place to sit for a break when we are working in the garden. ❤️

How to Build a Deer-Proof Raised Bed Garden

Enjoying a project is a trait I got from my dad. He always had one kind of a project or another going, for better or for worse.

He was a self-taught handyman, and if something needed to be fixed, rigged, or built, he’d learn how to do it. Watching him gave me the confidence to learn how to do things for myself. I still like that aspect of a project…”Oh, that didn’t work? Okay, let’s try it this way instead….”

Pretty sure I got my penchant for a good curse word when things go wrong from my dad, too though. 😂

We did take a break from our garden building on Memorial Day to take this to my parents at the cemetery.

How to Build a Deer-Proof Raised Bed Garden

And here’s the red cardinal that visited our yard not long after our garden was complete. ❤️

How to Build a Deer-Proof Raised Bed Garden

I’m so glad we decided to tackle the build of this deer-proof raised bed garden, and I’m even more glad that my hubby and I did it together.

It was such a fun way to spend time together. We took it slow, worked as a team, and enjoyed ourselves along the way. Plus, it’s such a sense of accomplishment that we did it all ourselves.

I’m so happy with how it turned out, and now I can add it to my ever-growing list of Memorial Day project memories.

Happy Gardening,

PS. To see more great projects like this one, follow The House on Silverado on social media and subscribe via email so you won’t miss a thing.

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Disclaimer: I hope this post has helped you learn how to build a deer-proof raised bed garden of your own. Although we started with the Gardens to Gro Just Add Lumber Kit available HERE on Amazon, we did make adjustments and additions to suit our own purposes. Please carefully read the information from Gardens to Gro regarding exactly what is included in the kit.

I’d love to see pictures of your finished gardens if you decide to build your own deer-proof raised bed garden! Send them my way!

Resources to Build a Deer-Proof Raised Bed Garden

Deer-Proof Just Add Lumber Vegetable Garden Kit – 8’x12′

CRAFTSMAN V20 7-1/4-Inch Sliding Miter Saw Kit

DEWALT 5-in-1 Multi-tacker Stapler and Brad Nailer

Ryobi Handheld Drill and Impact Driver Kit 

Magnetic Parts Tray 4″ Stainless Steel (2 Pack)

Gorilla Garden and Yard Cart

Cabot Clear Wood Protector

This post contains affiliate links.

51 thoughts on “How to Build a Deer-Proof Raised Bed Garden

  1. Love this project Niky. I have to say, I have 2 black thumbs, but have been wanting to try my hand at a very small garden. Like your whiskey barrels, I am thinking would be perfect for me to grow tomatoes. We live in the city, but those deer have eaten all of my hostas before down to the ground. One morning when I was leaving for work, I caught 7 of them in our front yard feasting on them! Mystery solved… I had no idea there were that many in our neighborhood and they were the ones eating them. We live close to a park so I am guessing they come from there. We have the occasional bunny in our backyard too.

    1. Oh my gosh, 7 deer all at once! Your poor hostas. We have many deer around here (as well as all kinds of other creatures). I have three big hostas that I dug up from my childhood home before we sold it after my parents passed.
      I planted them on the side of our new house and later realized that was prime deer territory. I sprayed them with deer spray for the first year or so, but so far, the deer have left them alone. I’d be so sad if they ate these special hostas.

  2. This is exactly what we are hoping to build this spring here in Massachusetts. Thanks for your post. The finished product looks great. So it seems that you did not use the materials kit that you have a link to to build this. Did you change the plans to adjust for the 2” boards? I’ve been trying to find plans to build this exact size and shape, but can only find a kit that includes hardware, bracing and fencing (no lumber). Do you have actual building plans available?
    Thanks, Chuck

    1. Hi Chuck
      I used the kit that is linked in the post. Here it is again: Garden Kit
      It comes with all of the hardware, and very clear plans and instructions. All we had to do was order the lumber as specified in the included plans, and then assemble.
      I hope yours turns out well. I’d love to see a pic when you are done. :-)
      Thanks for stopping by!

  3. Niki, thanks for that article. Well written, nicely documented, and very understandable. I live in a townhome on a golf course in the Black Hills of South Dakota, and I came across this article while looking for ideas for building an above-ground planter for an herb garden. We have lots of deer, rabbits, and other critters. My lot has very limited yard space and restrictive covenants about fences and other things, but I do have a three-foot wide gravel border along the south side of the home that gets good sun. I have room there to build a 6’ long by 2’ wide covered planter box that would give me room to grow fresh herbs for cooking. I plan to build it aboveground using 2×2”and 2×10”treated lumber for the planter and a screened cover hinged for access. I will grow individual herbs in pots inside the planter rather than filling the planter with soil. I have a couple questions from reading your article, so any info or suggestions you can provide would be appreciated.

    1) How has the poly netting held up over a couple years use? I was thinking wire screening, but concerned it might rust and stain my siding due to the proximity. In construction work, we generally avoided plastic materials due to their degradation from UV light. I also thought deer would just poke through the poly netting product, but if not it might be a better alternative.

    2) Do you have any suggestions as to how high to make the screened cover above the planter box? I have about 8 ft of height under the roof eaves, and will build the top of the planter box to about 2’ height for convenience. The planter will also be in front of a window (that only looks to neighbor’s townhome ~20 ft away so that window shade is generally draw). I’d still prefer to keep the overall height to a minimum though. I’m curious how much room I should leave to the screening at the top. Since I will be trimming the herb plants regularly for use cooking and also trimming them to store some for winters, I don’t think I need to let them get too tall, but not sure of the minimum growing height needed.

    1. Hi Kevin,
      A raised bed garden like this would be perfect for herbs! I love watching all the wildlife around me, but like you, I don’t want them eating my garden!
      1. The poly netting looks as new as the day we build the garden! It’s held up now through three Iowa winters and still going strong!
      2. Our garden is about 6 feet tall total– 2 feet for the raised bed and then another 4 on top for the fencing.

      Hope this helps! I’d love to see pictures when you’re done!


  4. How tall did you make the fencing (from the ground) to deter the deer from reaching in/over or even jumping?

  5. This turned out so beautifully! I love the cedar. Do you think it would be possible to change the footprint of the inside of it? (For instance, having the raised bed part just on one side of it?) Or is the plan made the way it is to support the whole structure?

  6. Niky, I love how your deer proof garden beds turned out!!! Great job getting it done. Your husband is a trooper and it’s nice that your mother-in-law could help, too. A nice way to get out and be safe with family and enjoy the bright spring sunshine!!!

    Happy to feature your post at this week’s Share Your Style #299. <3
    Happy planting this year,
    Barb :)

  7. Hello Niky!
    I am a fellow Iowan (Yay, Iowa! :) ), who has a great big back yard and a bunch of neighborhood deer. This was exactly the garden setup my husband and I were looking for to provide a good amount of veggies for us (and probably our neighbors), while keeping those garden munchers out. We love the keyhole design. It’s such a great way to maximize workable space! We have all of our cedar and hardware sitting in the garage, and soil/ compost mix was delivered to our driveway yesterday. Our sprinkler company is coming out to do the spring setup Friday, and I am going to ask about the hookup for a drip or sprinkler system for the garden too. Thank you so much for posting your garden journey and being our garden inspiration!!! Garden on the way!

    1. Hooray! I’m so happy you found the post helpful and are well on your way to a garden of your own! I get so much enjoyment from ours, and it’s a proud feeling to know we did it ourselves!
      I’d love to see some pics of yours when you get it all done! Thanks so much for stopping by today. xoxo Happy Gardening!
      PS. Where in Iowa are you?

  8. I am so inspired by your garden project, Niky! I love everything about it…especially how you repurposed the flagstone from your original pond. As fellow teachers, my husband and I are looking forward to Memorial Day weekend and our summer projects. It was so wonderful to hop with you. Happy Spring, my friend! Pinned!

  9. Gardening goals right here! I love this idea, this well protected, well irrigated, raised bed is truly the Cadillac of gardens. I can’t wait to create one of my own for our yard 🤗

  10. What an amazing project, Niky! While I haven’t had deer in my yard, I have had a rabbit problem when I lived at the farmhouse in Illinois. This would have really helped keep the rabbits out ! Thank you for sharing all your knowledge! Your property is so pretty!

  11. Niky, I’m so impressed with your deer proof garden! It’s so frustrating when the deer (or rabbits) make your garden their personal buffet. This will definitely solve that problem! Thanks for sharing the tutorial. Pinned!

  12. I’m definitely coming to your house, I love raccoons but can never catch them in their shenanigans. I love how high tech you ended up going, what a great, efficient garden! Thanks for sharing.

  13. I absolutely love your deer proof raised garden and the sprinkler system is genius. My father has a structure much like yours and I so wish I could have something like it but our HOA doesn’t allow it. Pinning for someday!

  14. Niky!!! You just solved sooooo many problems with our deer! I love EVERYTHING you did with this project. We have debated on how to do this and you checked all the boxes with this. THANK YOU! Loved joining you here at the right time to plan for planting season!

  15. This is a great project! One that I might just have to convince the hubs we need in our own back yard. I hope you enjoy it again this year. What are you going to make this year during the Memorial Day weekend? I hope you share that one as well. #HomeMattersParty I will be featuring this post this week so that others can get inspired for the warmer weather too.

  16. My garden nemesis (nemisi?) are the neighborhood cats. They just can’t resist all the soft, pawable dirt. Yuck!

    I think this system would certainly be cat proof, too!

    Thanks for sharing with us at Creatively Crafty #ccbg :)

  17. Your little garden is so cute! I think the keyhole shape is very practical. It does look lovely and it looks like it should last for years. For us…we’d probably need a huge one, the way our boys eat!

    Thank you for stopping by to share your projects at the Homestead Blog Hop! Your post was featured this week—you probably already figured that out! 😉

    Ridge Haven Homestead

    1. It takes a bit of learning, but eventually you get the hang of it. We had a lot of trouble with bugs last year, and I’ve done quite a bit of research, so hoping for better luck this year. The automatic watering system helps me keep everything green and vigorous!

  18. This is simply amazing! I definitely need to invest in one (or more) of these. We have so many little furry things that like to destroy my garden. By far, the worst culprits are the moles. Little devils. Thank you so much for sharing this. I am definitely going to find time to put up something very similar this year.

  19. First off thank you for being a teacher. I worked with teachers before all this pandemic stuff started, and I truly understand your stress, dedication, and frustration.
    I love that you posted your plans and pictures along with pricing. In one of the photos there was black covering. Is that ground cloth? Also, I wondered if you have hail in your area. Would you recommend the netting you used on the sides of the garden to perhaps cover the top for hail protection? We can get very large damaging hail here.

    1. Hi Diana. Thank you for your sweet comment. :-)

      Yes, the black covering is just landscape fabric that we bought it a roll. We do get hail once in awhile. We considered putting netting on top to keep the birds out, but I don’t think it would withstand damaging hail. It’s pretty flimsy.

      I hope your garden turns out well! I’d love to see a pic when you’re done!

  20. What would the total costs for building this garden?
    Wood, screws, fence, mesh, pea gravel, dirt
    Am mostly unemployed since pandemic

    1. Hi Lin,
      The wood was the most expensive part, because we used cedar. Green treated wood would be much less expensive, but you’d want to line the inside with plastic, to make sure the chemicals don’t leach into your soil and then your veggies. Also, we had our soil delivered (which had a fee) and chose a quality garden mix. Your cost could vary depending on what kind of soil you choose and what the prices are in your area.
      Here’s the breakdown of our expenses:
      Cedar– $997
      Hardware (screws/brackets/staples,netting,gate hinges & latch) — $200
      Mesh for bottom — $50
      Pea Gravel– $40
      4 cubic tons of quality garden mix soil– $350

      We had other expenses, such as the cost to add the irrigation system, the stain for the cedar, and the paving sand for the stone pavers in front of the door, but all of those are optional.
      I hope this helps. Let me know if I can answer more questions for you.

    1. Aww, thank you so much, Irene. And can I just tell you how much I love your name? My mom’s name was Irene, so such kind words coming from you tugged at my heart. ❤️

  21. Congratulations! Your post was my Most Clicked at #OverTheMoon this week. Visit me on Sunday evening and see your feature! I invite you to leave more links to be shared and commented upon. Please be sure to leave your link number or post title so we can be sure to visit!

    1. AneMarie,
      Thanks so much for visiting and for featuring me! So glad you found our project useful!

    1. Thanks so much! It was a great project, and now I’m enjoying tending to may garden and looking forward to enjoying the “fruits” of our labor! Thanks for stopping by!

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