Garden Fence Information

The garden fence options listed below are organized by the animal they stop.  If you need to stop more than one species, you'll need to meet the requirements of each species in one fence. 

Posts:  As a rule, the higher the fence, the stronger the posts need to be and the deeper they need to be in the soil.  So if you need to combine fence requirements, use the posts recommended for the tallest fence in your combination design.

<This high tension fence stops the deer from eating our orchard trees.  The ice covered plastic mesh stops rabbits from eating the blueberry bushes during the winter.  We take the mesh down in spring since the rabbits stop eating the bushes and the mesh makes maintenance of the fence challenging during summer.

Rabbits

Hole size:  1" or smaller.  The smaller the better.  Hardware cloth and chicken wire works.  Standard 2"x2" hole chain link is too big.  Wood or plastic slats with gaps 1" or less will also work. 

Material:  As mentioned above, metal wire, wood or plastic slats.

Height:  3 feet.  Higher is always better.  They can jump this but they usually don't.  They are not comfortable having to jump something this high to get to the safety of their burrow.

Ground attachment: 

Good: Place bottom of fence in contact with the ground.  When using something flexible like wire mesh, rabbits can push it up and crawl under it.  To prevent this:

  • Use garden staples or tent stakes to secure the mesh to the ground.
  • Use a single wire under tension at ground level and attach the mesh to it. 
  • Attach to wood framing that makes ground contact.

Better: Bury it 6 inches. 

Best:  One really clever technique is to bend the bottom 12 inches of fence and lay it flat on the ground on the outside of the fence. Staple it flat to the ground.  It will completely disappear in the grass and you can remove the staples latter if you want.  Rabbits try and dig under your fence but they can't dig through the fence that is on the ground.  Generally they don't know enough to back away from the fence and try again.  If you are putting up a solid wood or PVC fence, you can lay wire in the grass at the bottom of the fence to stop digging.

Posts: 

  • Wood 4" diameter or 4x4 pressure treated posts.  Inexpensive. Should dig holes 2' deep for a 3' fence.  Must thoroughly tamp down the dirt around the post or you'll have a wobbly post.  Easy to attach boards, wire or other materials.  Appealing appearance.
  • Metal T or U posts.  Inexpensive. No holes to dig.  Lasts a long time.  Posts are strong, no wobble.  Harder to attach fence materials to.  Doesn't look as nice.
  • Chain link fence frame:  More expensive. No hole digging unless you want to set the corner posts in concrete.  Strong. Support rail prevents any wire mesh sagging so it looks neat.  Lasts a long time.  Can attach wire mesh as well as 1" x1" hole size chain link which can be hard to find.
  • PVC Posts.  Expensive but look very nice.  Doesn't rot.  Mounting hardware designed for coordinated PVC panels.  Can be difficult to mount other materials to these posts since the posts require reinforcement which is provided by the specialized hardware.  So you're usually limited to the panels provided by the manufacturer.  Use PVC posts that don't have the holes pre-drilled as the holes are usually placed to hold the panels off of the ground.

Woodchucks

Hole size:  3" or smaller.  The smaller the better.  Standard 2"x2" hole chain link works.  Wood or plastic slats with gaps 3" or less will also work.  If you want to keep out young chucks go with the 2" size.

Material:  As mentioned above, metal wire, wood or plastic slats.

Height:  2 feet.  If they want to defeat a fence, they go under or through it, not over it.

Ground attachment: 

Woodchucks won't even blink at digging down a foot or more to get under a fence.  Burying the bottom of the fence will help.. but only a little.  The deeper you go, the better, but it needs to be 4ft deep to stop them and most people aren't in a position to do that.  If you put the fencing in contact with the ground then they have to disturb the ground to get in.  Repeatedly filling in the hole will not stop them.  It just lets you know where to put the trap!

You can lay the bottom 12 inches of wire on the ground as mentioned for rabbits.  This will deter them for a while.  But, if their burrow complex is within reach of your garden (<100ft) they will probably run a tunnel the whole way into your garden underground.

When using flexible wire mesh, woodchucks easily push it up and crawl under it.  To stop this:

  • Lay the bottom 12" of mesh on the ground and staple or tent stake it flat.
  • Bury the mesh 6-12 inches in the ground.
  • Attach to treated wood or PVC/wood composite framing that makes ground contact.
  • Catch the woodchuck at the spot where the fence is bent with a trap and then fix the fence.

Posts: 

  • Wood 4" diameter or 4x4 pressure treated posts.  Inexpensive. Should dig holes 2' deep for a 3' fence.  Must thoroughly tamp down the dirt around the post or you'll have a wobbly post.  Easy to attach boards, wire or other materials.  Appealing appearance.
  • Metal T or U posts.  Inexpensive. No holes to dig.  Lasts a long time.  Posts are strong, no wobble.  Harder to attach fence materials to.  Doesn't look as nice.
  • Chain link fence frame:  More expensive. No hole digging unless you want to set the corner posts in concrete.  Strong. Support rail prevents any wire mesh sagging so it looks neat.  Lasts a long time.  Can attach wire mesh as well as standard chain link.
  • PVC Posts.  Expensive but look very nice.  Doesn't rot.  Mounting hardware designed for coordinated PVC panels.  Can be difficult to mount other materials to these posts since the posts require reinforcement which is provided by the specialized hardware.  So you're usually limited to the panels provided by the manufacturer.  Use PVC posts that don't have the holes pre-drilled as the holes are usually placed to hold the panels off of the ground.

Deer

Hole size:  12" or smaller.  The smaller the better.  We have a high tension fence with this gap size and the deer don't go through it .. as long as they see it.  If we let the weeds grow up on the outside of the fence, the deer go through it like it isn't even there.

Material:  Metal wire or mesh, plastic mesh, wood or plastic boards.

Height:  5 - 8 feet.  If they have plenty of food elsewhere and can easily go around your garden, 5 ft may be enough.  Ours is 5 ft and it works.  But to be sure, it needs to be 8 ft tall..

Ground attachment: 

This isn't necessary.  The bottom of the fence can be about 1 to 1.5 ft from the ground and still prevent deer from getting under the fence.  Maintenance is much easier if you leave enough space under the fence for your mower deck.

Posts:

  • Wood 5" diameter pressure treated posts.  Inexpensive. Should dig corner holes 3' deep.  Line posts need to be 2' deep.  Must thoroughly tamp down the dirt around the post or you'll have a wobbly post.  Easy to attach boards, wire or other materials.  Appealing appearance.
  • Metal T or U posts.  Inexpensive. No holes to dig.  It is hard to pound these into the ground when they are really tall.  Posts last a long time.  Posts are strong, no wobble.  Harder to attach fence materials to.  Doesn't look as nice.
  • Chain link fence frame:  More expensive. No hole digging unless you want to set the corner posts in concrete.  Strong. Support rail prevents any wire mesh sagging so it looks neat.  Lasts a long time.  Can attach wire mesh as well as standard chain link.
  • PVC Posts.  Expensive but look very nice.  Doesn't rot.  Mounting hardware designed for coordinated PVC panels.  Can be difficult to mount other materials to these posts since the posts require reinforcement which is provided by the specialized hardware.  So you're usually limited to the panels provided by the manufacturer.

Bracing Posts: 

For an 8' wire fence, posts that are in a bend in the fence or a corner will need bracing. 

More expensive wood or PVC panel fencing doesn't require bracing.  Posts are usually only 8 ft apart and the panels act as bracing. 

Bracing is not required for light weight woven plastic deer net hung on posts equivalent in strength to a 4x4 wood post, 3' in the ground.  Even then, if your fence is really long or you use a high tension top wire to create that perfectly straight neat look, you'll probably want to brace the corners.

Mice

Hole size:  1/2" or smaller.  The smaller the better.  Hardware cloth works.

Material:  Metal wire or PVC panels.  Mice chew right through wood slats.

Height:  2 feet minimum.  Higher is always better.  They can climb woven wire this high but they usually don't.  Too much exposure from predators.  Don't let the fence get covered in weeds or grass.  Then it becomes ineffective as they can climb and stay hidden.

Ground attachment: 

Good:  Ground contact.  Flexible fencing materials can be secured to the ground with garden staples or tent stakes.  They can be secured to treated wood or PVC/wood composite boards in contact with the ground.

Better:  Buried 6 inches.

Posts: Mice can get through very tiny gaps so choose posts that allow you to make really secure and tight connections to your panels or hardware cloth.

  • Wood 2 x 2 or 4 x 4 pressure treated posts.  Four by 4 posts aren't needed from a strength standpoint but they will stand up longer to rot.  Pressure treated 2 x 2 posts may need to be replaced in 4 years.  Ask yourself if you need the fence to last longer than that. 
  • PVC Posts.  Expensive but looks very nice.  Doesn't rot.  Mounting hardware designed for coordinated PVC panels.  Can be difficult to mount other materials to these posts since the posts require reinforcement which is provided by the specialized hardware.  So you're usually limited to the panels provided by the manufacturer.  Use PVC posts that don't have the holes pre-drilled as the holes are usually placed to hold the panels off of the ground.