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How To Build a Garden Fence to Keep Animals Out

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Building a beautiful vegetable garden is always in a gardeners’ mind but comes with challenges. One of these challenges is keeping animals out of the garden and away from your crop. They may be persistent and a great nuisance. Sometimes the best way to keep them out is to build a garden fence.

Fences act as barriers between the garden and animals. The good news is, there are a wide variety of designs and materials to choose from.

Fence built from wood

Despite the fact that fences are great, they can be expensive and difficult to install.

The following factors should to be considered when putting up fences:

  • Many fences require fence posts to be set before wrapping the fence around them.
  • Most fences are constructed to surround the whole yard. This is the most effective way to keep unwanted visitors out.
  • The choice of fencing materials depends on the gardener. You may choose metals, wood or plastics.
  • Though expensive, electric fences will shock any animals that tend to intrude the garden.
  • It is a good idea to bury your fencing posts material at least one foot in the soil to keep off burrowing animals.

Basic Instructions for Building a Garden Fence That Will Keep Animals Out

Construction of garden fences will depend on what animals you want to keep off. Some animals will access your garden under, over or through the fences.

Let’s look at the nuances of each.

Large animals

Black Chain Link Fence

Large animals such as deer, elk and moose require an eight foot high fence to be on the safe side. These animals can jump high so you need a high fence.

Using wire mesh fences with good heights supported with strong posts with ten foot intervals is typically enough.

If you don’t want to go high, you can build the fence shorter and add a mesh top. This too will prevent them from jumping in.

Keep in mind that the garden gate needs to be the same height as the rest of the fence in order to be an effective barrier.

Small and medium size animals

farm animals inside a fenced barn

These animals are non-climbers and include dogs and coyotes. Burrowing animals such as rabbits, skunks, gophers and ground hogs also fall under this category. They can easily go through or under fences.

A fence of five feet high will usually be sufficient for these animals. However, the fence will require an apron of wire two feet wide buried some few feet into the ground.

Use a wire mesh of two inches or less to prevent smaller animals from passing through the wire fence.


To keep out cattle, use barbed, high tensile, electric wire or wooden rail fences, ten inches from the ground. Extend the fences to about five feet high.

Cows in the pasture behind the fence

For horses, use the same height measurements but use board fences.

However, for goats, construct extra tall fences because they are capable of jumping over and squeezing through. Using wire mesh should be enough to prevent from getting through.

Pigs need fencing similar to that of dogs but a little bit stronger.

Climbers and jumpers

They are the most difficult to control. They include cats, opossums and racoons. They require a completely enclosed fence with a roof and a section buried in the soil to prevent digging.


Attach six feet high and one inch mesh poultry wire to the existing fence poles. Lightweight fowl such as chicken can easily fly over a six foot fence if necessary but, domesticated birds will seldom do so unless evading a predator.

wire fence surrounding the chicken coop

A five foot fence is typically sufficient to keep domestic chickens, turkeys, and guineas out of your garden.

Top 5 Common Garden Fence Materials

Fences can be constructed in a wide variety of materials. Wood is the most common but it is not the only option. Here are some common fence materials to consider.

WoodWood is a very common material used for fencing. There are many types of wood that can be used and you should definitely research soft wood vs. hardwood and pressure treated vs. natural lumber.
CompositeComposite fencing is typically a mixture of materials such as sawdust and resins. It is typically more resistant to aging than real wood however, it is also usually more costly.
PlasticEveryone has seen the white vinyl fences common in residential neighborhoods. If you don’t have livestock and are just wanting to keep out errant dogs or wayward deer, plastic fencing provides an elegant option. Albeit at a cost as well.
ConcreteConcrete block fences are strong and sturdy. They take quite a bit more work to put up but will last practically forever.
MetalMetal is yet another elegant but expensive option. Metal fencing tends to have as much strength as concrete though and is a great option for fencing when livestock is a concern.

Types of Materials Used for Burrowing or Digging Animals

Remember that regardless of the material you choose for above ground fencing, you need to consider how much effort to put into protecting your garden from burrowing animals.

There are a few ways to handle them, here are the two most common.

Horizontal boards

man's hand painting wooden Fence with a brush in sage green colour

Dig narrow ditches under the fence and place your board slightly below the soil surface in the ditch. Fill the ditch with dirt and erect fencing poles.

L-Shaped footer

Erect these L-shaped footers under your fence. These footers are made of galvanized and welded wire mesh. Extend them underground to form an L shape at a 90-degree angle. Cover with stones for support and add a layer of mulch at the top.

Beautiful colonial American house at sunset

Design Considerations for Garden Fences

Garden fences can be functional and pretty. Here are the best fencing ideas for design and functionality.

Garden fence boundaries

Use solid timber such as close boards or lap panels to mark your rear boundaries. Close boards have vertical edges that are feather-like fitted to posts and rails. Lap fences are made from waney-edge boards that are overlapping and fitted to timber frames. These two types are weather-resistant hence suitable in exposed areas.

Use garden trellis

Trellising is good for zoning and growing climbing plants to offer support.

Paint the fence        

Use pale shades, I would prefer white colour paint for a light touch if interested. Alternatively, you can purchase coloured and treated timber. 

Choose woven garden fences

It is mostly suitable for traditional gardens but still has an appealing look in the modern world when used for fencing.

Garden fence gates

The number of gates to add to your garden fences will depend on the size and security of the area. A smaller garden will require one or few gates whereas a larger garden will require several gates.

If the area is prone to insecurity cases, ensure you have very strong fences, with strong posts, preferably electric ones. Additionally, have a number of gates, maybe three to four for added security.

However, you would rather have few gates and construct others later rather than having many gates that are not in use.

building a wooden fence with a drill and screw

Basic Steps in Building the Garden Fence

Design your fence on paper

Use a scale drawing to get the exact measurements for all the garden features. Draw in the features you want to include such as vegetation.

Get the accurate count of those features and then draw an imagination of how you want it to look like using a pencil.

Make a supplies list

The number of materials required will depend on the size of your garden. These include but not limited to:

  • Wooden posts
  • Metal T-posts
  • Zip ties
  • Hardware ties
  • Fencing staples
  • The gate

Set your fence posts 

Dig holes at the corners of your garden using an auger, at least four holes and erect the fencing posts inside. Ensure you set the posts at even distances apart to avoid falling over. Fill the gaps with metal T-posts after the posts are in place.

Add the fencing based on your design and research

Install the wire mesh once the posts are erected. These wire mesh should be on the same level with the top of the wooden posts.

Remember to add a hardware cloth to prevent burrowing animals from accessing the garden.

Hang the gate

Set the gate between two wooden posts and attach with hinges. Seal the base of the gate using wooden beams from the two posts.

Woman Painting Fence


Whether to paint your gate and fence or not will depend on you. Paintings add extra beauty to your yard. Though expensive, it is a long term asset. Use long lasting and waterproof paints.


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