If you’re looking for a low-visibility (nearly invisible) deer fence for your yard or garden, you’ve come to the right place. And you’re right to think that visibility matters.
When we started our deer fence business roughly 20 years ago, we adopted the website URL “invisible-deer-fence.com”. That URL was effective, because people really didn’t (and still don’t) want to place a tall highly visible fence around their home. They’d much rather have something that keeps out deer reliably but is so demure they hardly know it’s there. Something that fades into the background and becomes no more than a nearly invisible, unobtrusive part of the scenery.
We sell that kind of deer fence and will guide you to it. But first consider this: Just as there’s no such thing as the cloak of invisibility found in fairy tales or the Harry Potter stories, there’s no such thing as a reliable, fully invisible deer fence. That is, there’s no “invisible” deer fence like that for dogs that sends out a radio signal to activate a shock collar, because it’s hard to put shock collars on the offending deer. Nor are the nearly invisible electric fences of farm country practical — partly because they are not fully reliable, but mostly because homeowners don’t want a fence around their house that administers a shock. And while deer repellents, ultrasound devices, and so forth might be considered fences of sorts, they require constant attention, they’re not fully reliable, and deer get used to them. So, for practical purposes, one’s search for a reliable nearly invisible deer fence is limited to barrier fences.
Early But Not Invisible Deer Fences
Back before modern deer fencing was developed, most deer fences that were not electric were strong wire or “fixed knot” fences in which each wire was placed under high (say 100+ pounds) of tension. Because of this tension, they required massive braces at each corner, end, gate, and grade change to counteract the pull. These fences, not designed to be invisible deer fences, were highly visible. The 12.5-gauge galvanized steel wires were visible, and the massive braces were highly visible. Moreover, if the tension were taken off the wires (allowing for reduction or removal of the massive braces) these fences became floppy, unsightly, and (if a wire under high tension were not added at the bottom) ineffective.
Poly Deer Fences
Such deer fences are still made today, but in the late 1980s they started being replaced in residential areas by strong polypropylene fences. These poly fences were not installed under tension, so they required no massive braces. Those professionally up to snuff were strong, their fencing having a breaking strength of 650+ pounds per linear foot. And because they had a thin but large (2 x 2-inch) mesh, and because they were black (the least obtrusive of all colors), they had admirably low visibility.
However, this poly fencing had problems. A charging deer could break it. Likewise, a doe who found her accustomed path interdicted could turn her nose into a sort of fist and pound away at the fence for hours until it broke. These problems were rare. But a worse problem was very common. Rabbits and woodchucks (ground hogs) that found their way blocked would gnaw small holes in the fence that exploring deer would commonly poke their heads into, break a few corner bonds, and penetrate the fence.
Metal Hexagrid Fences
To prevent this, or more often to deal with it after it happened, deer fence installers would place a strip of strong small-mesh chicken wire (preferably galvanized and then coated with black pvc) along the bottom of the fence. Since the rabbits and woodchucks could not gnaw through this metal fencing, that ended the problem.
One day, while placing this bottom barrier, a leading installer’s trouble-shooter noticed something. The metal hexagrid, as it came to be called, was hardly more visible when placed over the poly than the polypropylene alone. That being the case, he thought, why not develop a nearly invisible deer fence made entirely of metal hex. So that’s what he did, and that’s where today’s metal hexagrid deer fences came from.
While costing more than polypropylene, this metal hexagrid material has many virtues. Besides resisting the blandishments of rabbits and woodchucks, it’s easy to install, plenty strong enough to repel deer, and considerably longer lasting than polypropylene. Furthermore, its visibility is so low that it fades into virtual invisibility against any sort of green or wooded background.
Modern Nearly Invisible Deer Fence
This latter point is demonstrated by the photo you see here. Part of the fencing appears white, because the fencing is in full sun, and sunlight striking the fence is reflecting directly into the camera. However, when the fence turns a corner and no longer reflects sunlight this way, it practically vanishes.
The conclusion is inescapable. For those seeking a genuinely low-visibility deer fence, this is the type to get. There are other deer fences (both the old fixed-knot fences and the more modern black welded wire fences) that are stronger. And there are also ones (notably polypropylene fences) that are cheaper. But for low visibility, as well as durability and all-around performance, metal hexagrid is the best choice.
Jonathan Leonard, Manager
McGregor Fence Company LLC