How to Keep Deer Out of Your Yard

Seven Methods:Human hair deterrentHot pepper sprayPlant deterrentsDeer repellentNoise, light and barriersDogsAvoid encouraging deer

Although they're pretty to look at, deer can be quite destructive and they definitely don't belong in your yard or garden. Indeed, they eat nearly anything except for the grass, so they're not even a good lawnmower substitute.

This article details some of the easiest, least expensive, and environmentally friendly ways to keep deer (and many other troublesome critters) away from your yard and garden spaces.

Method 1
Human hair deterrent

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    Use human hair as a deterrent. Human hair can repel deer, so get some from your local barber or hairdresser (it should be free of charge).
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    Spread hair on your flower garden. The scent of multiple humans from the hair will deter the deer.
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    Put some of the remaining hair in a sock or stocking. Hang the sock or stocking in your vegetable garden with the same effect. Make it thickest at row ends and around outside rows of the vegetable patch or garden bed.
    • Make sure the sock or stocking has an attractive and pleasant appearance; not only do you want to keep the deer away, but you also want to make your garden appear classy and beautiful! A ratty, old sock or a stocking with a disgusting color will bring down your garden's appearance and possibly make your neighbors believe you have a bad taste in style.

Method 2
Hot pepper spray

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    Make some hot pepper spray. Spray plants that you don't want eaten by deer with a hot pepper spray.

Method 3
Plant deterrents

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    Grow plants that deer dislike. This comes with a big caveat – deer, if hungry or curious enough, will eat almost anything.[1] As such, none of the plants that might deter them are a sure thing but you can at least try. Some of the plants that deer seem to not like include ornamental grasses, iris, foxgloves, yucca, herbs and plants with a strong fragrance, such as sage, chives, lemon balm, bee balm, etc. They also dislike plants with thorns, such as purple coneflower but delicious roses seem to be a marked exception to that!
    • Equally, be aware of which plants are likely to tempt deer to your yard. Plants such as tulips, chrysanthemum, hyacinths, roses, apples, beans, peas, raspberries, strawberries, sweetcorn, hosta, dogwood, fruit trees, Norway maple, yew, and azaleas positively radiate welcome signs to deer![2] Sometimes people plant these a long way from parts of the yard or garden to lure deer away; that's a risky strategy though as may just invite them to one end and encourage them to keep wandering through.

Method 4
Deer repellent

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    Find a deer repellent. There are a number of deer repellents that can be used. You could purchase some from the garden store or hardware department. If so, use these products according to their instructions. Alternatives to use at home include mothballs (hang in onion sacks from low branches at deer height), prickly branches (use as a fence or barrier), decaying fish heads, blood and bone meal, garlic, fabric softener, etc.[3] Not all of these options are environmentally-friendly – mothballs are fairly chemically active and commercial options might contain unacceptable chemicals, depending on what is in them. And then there is the smell factor; if some things are too smelly, you're unlikely to want to sit in your garden and enjoy it!
    • Many commercially-available deer repellents include things like deodorized fox urine, coyote urine, or wolf urine. What these products have in common are that they are: (1) urine (2) of something that eats deer. This opens up a number of other possible ways to repel deer:
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    Take your dog out to mark your yard. This will need to be re-done every few days, or after it rains.
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    If you live in an isolated area, mark your own yard on a regular basis. If this is a little too exposed for you, consider catching your urine in a small bucket when using the toilet. Then, take an old spray bottle, fill it with your own urine, and spray a little near the garden. You should use a dedicated spray bottle for this, and never use it for anything else. Clearly label the bottle!
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    Soap flakes used around the edges of garden beds can repel deer.

Method 5
Noise, light and barriers

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    Use deer deterrents that involve noise or light. There are numerous deterrents you can try, and in conjunction with other efforts, these might prove successful. Bright sensor lights that turn on with movement can scare off deer (and burglars) at night, while shiny objects such as CDs and strips of metallic sheets blowing in the wind can reflect light uncomfortably for deer during the day. For noise, you could consider using noisemakers, gas guns (these are not cheap and are usually used to guard vineyards and crops), radio noise (hook it up to trigger when deer trigger the motion lights), whistles, and firecrackers.
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    Use barriers. These can include fences, invisible fishing line and sprinklers that suddenly turn on when tripped. Unfortunately for your wallet, the fence needs to be at least 8 feet (2.4 m) high or sprinkled with obstacles to prevent jumping such as branches or netting, otherwise some deer can jump this with no problems.[4] To save money, fence off plants that matter rather than the perimeter of your property. An electric fence with a small charge tends to work well if you don't mind having and maintaining such a fence.
    • Keep some plants in a greenhouse to keep the deer from getting to them. Be sure to keep the door shut at all times though.
    • Ask your hardware store for a mesh product that can be placed over plants, such as Deer Guard.
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    Add fencing. Fencing is the only truly effective way to keep deer out of areas you wish to protect.
    • Install an eight foot high fence. Deer can easily jump clear over anything lower than four feet high, and a six foot fence risks entangling the animal and injuring it (and an injured deer is eventually a dead deer).
    • Add a fence about 4 foot (1.2 m) high (simple lattice) with chicken wire (1" size) (about 2' high) angled toward the outside. It can be angled to the inside; it seems to work either way. However, it must be angled like 45 degrees. Deer, raccoon, cats, squirrels, moose and bears do not even try to go over. Birds too are reluctant to come inside such a fenced area either. The size should not be too large and should be close to the house.

Method 6

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    Keep a dog. Deer don't like dogs because the dog is a natural predator of deer.[5] However, your dog needs to be free to roam the yard or garden space, as he won't do much good chained up or locked inside the house. Moreover, you're probably best with medium to large sized dogs for this purpose.

Method 7
Avoid encouraging deer

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    Don't feed deer. Feeding the deer encourages them to see your yard as a food resource and won't endear you to your neighbors. It also brings them in close range with where vehicles are and risks collisions when deer hang around the roadside and cross roads.


  • If the deer are hungry, some of these repellents may not work.
  • All deer repellents will need to be updated or replaced from time to time to ensure that they keep working or have novelty impact.
  • If the deer are very hungry, it is likely that none of these repellents may work.
  • Using an empty spray bottle from a cleaning product is a great way to reduce waste and save money. Just be careful not to go spraying chemicals on sensitive plant life.
  • Deer have an excellent sense of smell, and it takes very little spray to repel them.
  • Torn sheets or plastic bags hanging in the wind might work.
  • An empty one-quart yogurt or cottage cheese container is useful for filling the spray bottle.


  • Do not spray plants that you intend to eat with any kind of pest repellent.
  • Do not use containers that have touched any kind of urine for anything else. And wash your hands well after use!
  • Wash your hands, and rinse off all containers after using any kind of pest repellent.

Things You'll Need

  • Hair
  • Sock or stocking
  • Soap flakes, hot pepper spray, or urine
  • Shiny things
  • Barrier materials
  • Noise or light creators

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