In the past seven years of being a landscape designer, every one of my clients has asked me to keep in mind that they have deer. In fact, a couple families hired me after finding out that there were actually plants that deer won’t eat. Many homeowners feel stuck, and either give up or keep wasting money on deer repellent or plants that get eaten.
Imagine how much the average homeowner spends on plant material for their landscape. I’ve had clients tell me that their new landscapes were almost entirely eaten by deer with thousands of dollars wasted. This type of situation can be avoided with proper plant choices and your yard can still be low maintenance and beautiful. That’s why I created my book, Deerproofing 101, with a list of no-browse and low-browse plants. Once you pair my plant list with the tips I include of how to use it in your landscape, you will be fully empowered to deer proof and relax!
Here are a few tips you can arm yourself with straight from the book while you’re planning for new Spring plants.
1) Be sure to start editing out the plants that are getting eaten regularly. Instead of trying to find a repellent that works once and for all (there aren’t any!), just remove them from your landscape to make room for plants that work. Clean blank areas of mulch will just fill up with weeds, though so either plant something new right away or turn some bed areas back into grass.
2) Once you figure out where you want to add plants, shop at your local nursery but be very skeptical of the tags! If the tag says it’s deer proof, I would not rely on it. Many plants sold in nurseries aren’t even suitable for the local climate, they just look good at the store. The best way to know which plants to choose is to consult a pro, use a resource like my deer proofing book, or stick with these tried and true staples. I often use boxwood, Salvia ‘Caradonna’ or similar, daisies, yarrow, and lamb’s ear – all good in full sun. Shade options include hellebore, brunnera, and viburnum.
3) Plan to trial and error. While I still stick to my tried and true list, sometimes I feel like trying something the deer have been known to eat just to see if it will work in a certain spot. Coneflower, for example, I keep on my deer resistant list, but I few times I have experienced deer that had to eat them. One yard can vary from the next, so stay curious and plan for an adventure – and try new plants in small doses if you’re unsure before you commit to investing lots of money into something that may get nibbled.
Hopefully, these tips will keep you gardening with bravery. I know it can be frustrating to begin transitioning your garden, but I have had lots of success helping others stay completely free of deer browse and I know you can, too.
Click on the link for the free tip sheet in the sidebar for more help with your deer browsing!