Fencing idea

My current garden “fence” is an ugly combo of flexible deer netting and chicken wire. It’s effective so far, but not asthetically pleasing. I enclose about a 50 X 45 area which includes some fruit trees and a veggie plot.

I am considering building a more permanent fence, and expanding the area for some more trees and plants. A few of my needs and concerns:

  1. I would think the minimum height needs to be 6’ to keep out deer. Ideally, a bit higher, but my experience has been that deer CAN jump that, but almost never do, unless a predator is chasing them. Do you think this is high enough, or should I shoopt for 7 - 8 feet? My netting is maybe 6.5’ effectively, and seems to work.
  2. I also need the fencing to extend underground to keep the damn groundhogs (and rabbits) out. A groundhog kept getting under the netting, so my “fix” was to bend chicken wire in an L shape around the fence, so that the ground can’t be penetrated a foot out from the fence.
  3. The ground is sloped. The total “drop” from one end to the other is maybe a foot, but I am not enough of an engineer to figure out how to actually measure that, since it’s far longer than any level I own or piece of wood I can obtain. I am trying to decide if I just have the fence follow the countour of the ground, which will be less asthetically pleasing, or try to make it level and build the fence down on the low side, per the diagram below. One issue with this is getting fenceposts tall enough to accomplish this to where they can be deep enough to stay put, and tall enough to be level with the shortest part of the fence, which still needs to be 6’ plus.Nine feet is the tallest I can find.
  4. The gate. Most fence gates have a gap under them. this is a no-can-do as the f*$#&**@ groundhogs will slip under it and have a feast. I need to design something that has a doorstop at ground level AND still some fencing or hardware cloth under it somehow.

If I try the “level” option in #3, my idea was to use 4 or 5’ welded wire for the upper part of the fence, and 1 X 1 hardware cloth for the lower portion.

Also - if my frame is wood, what’s the best way to attach the welded wire and/or hardware cloth to the wood?

Side note…Does anyone else deal with the multiple critter pressures I do? I see so many of your pics just out there in the open, and I would have literally nothing but nubs if I tried that.

Crude drawing explaining my idea in #3…darker blue represents the 1 X 1 fencing where small critters are concerned. Upper part can be standard welded wire to keep deer out.

Few different ways to measure for level



As far as fence posts are concerned. Lowe’s, Home Depot, 84 Lumber, and any other lumber distributor will have treated 4x4 posts up to 16’ and 4x6 or 6x6 for that matter. All can be ordered and delivered if you don’t have a way to haul something that long. Also, look into custom sawyers in you area, they may be able to cut something out of a rot resistant wood like larch or cedar, cut to your specific needs.

As far as attaching the welded wire to posts, I use fence staples. Available at any farm supply store. They are usually hot galvanized and will outlast the fence material.

Under my chicken coop gate, I attached a piece of mud flap from a truck, that is about 1 inch longer than the opening under the gate. The mud flap is stapled onto the back of the gate, and when the gate is moved, the mud flap bends and moves with the gate, closing off the opening. If I can keep weasels out of a hen house using it, you should be able to keep woodchucks, ground hogs, whistle pigs, or what ever you call them, out of your garden. Also, a .22 works well for that application.

I will say that burying fence under the ground about a foot does work well to keep burrowing critters like groundhogs and rabbits out of the enclosure.


My neighbor might have debated the same thing, Bryan. His outcome is very-aesthetically-pleasing.

I’m a level freak and for example, you could measure but it’s not worth your time with a line level.

Photos show it all.

It’s raining & my internet is gonna crash. I like the outcome. I thought he was making a big mistake.



As far as measuring the drop, you can use a water level–basically a tube filled with water that works on the principle that water seeks its own level. There are plenty of YouTube videos on how to measure the drop of a slope using a garden hose.

You mentioned having the fence follow the contour of the ground, or making it level and building it down on the low side, but what about a stepped fence? On any of these options, it seems like you could leave the welded wire long at the bottom and bend it outward as you have done with the chicken wire to discourage groundhogs and rabbits.

Here are some attractive fence designs built on slopes: Fence Gallery

For under the gate, I would recommend combining the outward facing horizontal wire at ground level with a level concrete threshold.

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I have a water level that is about 50’ long if you want to borrow it. I’m on the north side of Ellicott City.


In my youth, I did some volunteer work for a wildlife preserve that kept animals that survived being hit by cars. They had an entire area of fawns that had to be bottle-fed. The fence to enclose them was 7’ and made of vertical wood slats, with no gap between. If they can get a purchase with their hooves, they can get over it. That was to keep them penned up, not out of a garden.

Personally, I don’t think it needs to be level. My neighbor just build a great looking fence around his garden area. They used 4x4 posts with 2x4s in between. 6 foot deer fence attached with galvanized fence staples. They had a significant grade as well. To handle it, he laid the bottom 2x4 level against the ground and used that as his measurement to drop that fence section. I suppose you’d need something for the very bottom but that should be doable for you but some chicken wire can be stapled pretty easily I would think.

It really looks nice and while it took a lot of time to build, material costs were very reasonable.

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