Protecting Your Garden with Fences

One question that often comes up is “How do I protect my garden from . . . ?” I live in a suburban neighborhood with a fully fenced yard and relatively few trees around us. The benefit is, I don’t fight many pesky critters. The biggest threat to my garden are my two boys who want to “help” or just dig in the dirt.

But I did a little research and found some examples of how you might protect your square foot garden.

Fully Fenced Enclosures

This basically consists of building a “top” for your garden bed made of chicken wire. The upside of this strategy–it will protect your garden from many types of pests: birds, squirrels, deer, etc. The challenge is that it makes it difficult to work in your garden, and might not be possible for vegetables supported with a large cage or trellis. Here’s an example from Steve’s Square Foot Garden.

From Steve’s Square Foot Garden

Fence Around Garden Bed

Another idea is to put a small fence around the garden bed, leaving the top open. It’s relatively easy to pound stakes into the ground and attach chicken wire or some other type of netting. It is important to create a way to access the garden bed so you can weed and harvest. This method would not protect from birds, but would help with cats, dogs, rabbits, etc. Here’s an example from Tim’s Square Foot Garden.

From Tim’s Square Foot Garden

Fence Around Entire Garden

Finally, you can build a fence around the entire gardening area. With a small gate, this method makes it easy to access and work in the garden beds. It would keep out pets, deer, rabbits, but not birds. Here are two examples. The first is from Harmonic Mama, and the second from Flickr.

From Harmonic Mama

From mlwhitt on Flickr


If you search online, you can find netting to cover your plants to protect from birds. This type of product is draped over the plant and simply lifted when you need access to it.

If you have solved this problem in your garden, share what worked and send me a picture to add to this article.

Happy Gardening!

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4 Responses

  1. Charles says:

    Hey, I just finished my gardens and made a topless cage out of poultry wire and attached it to 1×2’s like in mel’s book. For the top I put fishing line across the top to keep birds out…it’s quick and easy and you can’t even see it. so far no problems with the birds and we have a lot!

  2. Kerri says:

    I gave up gardening for 2 years until our Border Collie passed the pup stage. Mind you I was working huge hours so couldn’t really deal with protecting what the pup had more time for than me. I’d build fences of chicken wire and she’d look at me and jump over them or burrow under. All I did was fence myself out so I wasn’t on top of weeds, etc. She even spent several days dismantling a small ornamental shrub and digging up it’s roots. As soon as the tomatoes formed, she’d eat the whole plant. LOL I’m back in the garden now. Lots of seedlings and odiferous fertilisers and only a tiny number have been danced on. I have used a bit of ‘Scat’ repellent on the lawn and garden edge where she was wearing a track through the corn. (I didn’t feel like putting it on my soil and vegies)So far, so good.

  3. Deann says:

    We use “cattle panel” to go around our garden. It’s tough and sturdy and easy to install (those green posts that pound into the ground + zip ties). Our golden retriever doesn’t dig in the garden boxes but he sure does like to dance in them when we’re not looking! The cattle panels are much nicer looking than chicken wire, etc. and very easy to put up (we even bent one to go around the corner, and shortened one to use as a gate panel). It doesn’t protect from birds, but we haven’t had any problems with birds (there used to be a panel running down the raspberry bushes, that gave them a seat to eat at so we removed it!). The gaps are big so the chickens can run in and out but it protects the garden from the big dog and the kids errant soccer balls.

  4. Emily says:

    We built a chicken moat around our garden. Our soon-to-be-hatched chickens will range around the outside of the garden, cutting back on insect pests. The chickens are protected from predators and my garden is also protected from the random cat, dog, or wild horse incursion. (Had all of those last season. You can see our chicken moat at these links: