Even though a lot of folks in our neighborhood have big deer fences, we thought we could get by without one by using deer resistant plants and some non=barrier methods of deer repellant. We got a few plants as gifts when we moved in and the deer ate everything. It became clear before long that we really weren't going to be able to have much of a landscape or garden at all without one. We took some solace in the fact that we are next to 1600 acres of Duke Forest and were reducing the deer's range by less than an acre.
We really didn't want a big driveway fence in front of the house and our landscape guy Mark Moldenhauer recommended using cattle guards doubled up back to back in the driveway with a fence up to the edge so the deer were unlikely to jump them. We formulated a plan of using 7' "invisible" black mesh fence from Benners Gardens on the South, East, and West sides of the house back in the woods so it would not be seen. We are hopeful that the North slope behind the house is steep enough that the deer won't come up from the water. We have selected 3 locations for people gates to keep access to the paths that people use on our property plus we need to design a nicer looking fence/gate to come up the edge of the cattle grates (phase II).
We found some great reasonably priced cattle guards made of concrete and rebar from Smith- Carolina and hired Mark Moldenhauer to put them in. His guys did a beautiful job.
To the left in the photo above will be a people gate and on both sides we will design a more decorative fence that will go to the first big tree and then the mesh fence will pick up from there around the house.
Theories put forward so far as to what the things are in our driveway include "grates to clean off the car tires" all the way to scales. And of course those who don't know the plan ask "well won't the deer just walk around them?" Our standard retort to those who ask whether the cattle gaurds are working is "do you see any cows in the yard?"
The "invisible" fence really is just that. From about 20 feet away in the woods you can't see it at all. We have put white surveyors tape on it so the deer don't run into it.
Over the past two months Ellen and I have installed 1000' of the fence plus a run of heavy nylon cord above the fence to attach it to with cable ties and hopefully prevent damage from fallen limbs.
With one exception where we had to install a pole in the ground, all of the fence runs from tree to tree. We found some heavy duty ground stakes (in Ellen's holster) to keep deer and other animals from burrowing under the fence.
This past Sunday we installed our first gate. It also came from Benners and is basically just two poles sunk into the ground and a metal frame with hinges covered with the same fencing material we used elsewhere.
Success can eliminate as many options as failure. --Tom Robbins