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Best Way to Enclose Existing Raised Beds?

last month

So I just finished (well 95% finished) building these beds and I realized that I should have planned on enclosing them due to deer/groundhogs/my children.

Any advice on how to do it somewhat cheaply but still nice? I already have the chicken wire to wrap it. I was thinking of running 2x4s vertically and then running a header (not sure if that is the right word) across it all but I am worried about stability!

I’m great on small projects but this is the biggest one I have tackled. Thanks!

Comments (11)

  • last month

    Oh bummer.

    How wide are the beds? Not sure since photos may distort but the look narrow.

    Disclaimer: Not a builder. Just related to my own cedar beds/ deer experiences.

    The conundrum I see is where to place any fencing without severely curtailing the reach of the veggie foliage ( as for branching tomatoes & such).

    I use 4x4& 4x8 cedar board beds and fence just within the inside of the edging boards, for support of metal posts & creating what’s within my limited skill & tool set. So I get all 4’ of width, but am still constrained by the fencing. I do not use chicken wire—use that ~4’ high green wire fencing, ? 3” or so grid, I can actually snake a hand through for some picking & weeding, plus have removable “ doors”. Some branches will grow through, and even get some fruiting, but if deer come through the yard they will prune it for me. So it’s not as roomy and space- efficient as someone with no deer problem who can have stuff spilling out all over.

    So, if you build your fencing right at the perimeter, you may lose space for more robust branching plants, especially if trying to grow in the U -arms plus the inside strip, it’ll be in your face; but, depending on your sun patterns you might be able to site your smaller veggies, do vigilant tomato pruning, etc.

    Then of course you could site your fence a ways out, making a larger perimeter—would you make it wide enough to walk between fence and beds? Because otherwise there might be a weeding/ maintenance/ oops I dropped something zone.

    I don’t have specific photos but I’ve seen Pinterest & other pics of layouts like yours, & pretty sure some were fenced, so you could scroll for some ideas.

  • last month
    last modified: last month

    Those beds look very cool! Is that treated lumber?

    I've jury rigged a barrier of hardware cloth wrapped around long pieces of thin rebar sunk in the corners of a raised bed that's probably around the same height as your beds. Chicken wire is lighter and easier to bend, and would work just as well, I'd think. I used wire to fasten it closed, and secured the hardware cloth to the rebar with more wire.

    I also use rabbit fencing around my in-ground tomatoes, and thread rebar through the openings to hold it up.

  • last month
    last modified: last month

    I've also seen this done where the pvc slides onto rebar that is pounded into the ground instead of anchored to the box. I'd put netting over it which would be easy to move out of the way when you want to get into the bed. In the spring you could replace the netting with plastic to get a jump start on planting.

  • last month

    I don't have an answer to your question but wanted to chime in and say what a cool raised bed design! I'm in the planning process for mine, this gives me another idea to toy around with.

    FWIW, whatever fencing you do decide to put up, leave 3-4 foot on each side for a path so you can easily tend the plants on the backside of the bed.

    FWIW #2: A fence isn't going to keep out a groundhog, they can easily climb a fence. Racoons, too. But, it's the deer who will decimate your garden, so that's who you have to plan for.

    FWIW #3: I haven't tried this wireless deer fence, but it has been talked about in the Perennials forum. It might be worth a trial before going through the hassle of putting up physical fencing: The Wireless Deer Fence.

  • last month

    Hi. On a much smaller scale, I used a 9 x 13 chicken coop bought on Amazon. I have two raised beds and, in the summer, pots along the back. I know they come much larger but you can check your measurements against the available stock items. Good luck!

  • last month

    What are you planning on attaching the 2x4's to? The bed itself, or footed into the outside of the bed? How wide is the chicken wire you want to use? If the wire is a 3' wide roll, that could be enough to make a good height for the outside of the beds. If you use 6' T bars to stabilize your walls you can also use them as your chicken wire posts.

    If you take the time to run a wire stringer the same height along the inside edge of the box it will create a visual issue for deer. They see the outer fence and the inner stringer without a landing spot inside the box, and they think they can't jump over the "moat". You can use something like the green 5' garden stakes for the stringer.

  • last month

    Thank you all for the comments!

    The beds are about 36 inches wide give or take. And it’s a 15 foot by 24 foot plot.

    I like the idea of leaving “doors” in the fencing in order to access more of the bed from the outside. I can’t leave a perimeter on the outside because I promised my wife I wouldn’t take up any more of the yard for my kids 😂

    @beesneeds the wire I have is a 3 foot roll - I have a few of them. And I thought to the inside of the beds that way the chicken wire wraps right down to the top of the bed. I just thought it would look better aesthetically.

    Could you go into more detail with what you mean about the stringer? I don’t think I have heard that before.

  • last month

    FWIW, I saw a tip years ago suggesting that laying loose fencing on the ground can keep deer away because they don't like stepping on it...

  • last month

    I wouldn't tuck the chicken wire down into the inside of the boxes. It can be a bit of a pain to garden right up against it. If you get any broken bits it's easier to deal with it on an outside wrap than an inside one. I would frame the verticals on the outside of the box. You might want to go two high with the chicken wire depending on what you are growing- if it grows over the top of the chicken wire wall, the deer will snack at that level if they can.

    For a stringer on the inside edge. It's just a single wire strung across the top of the garden stakes. You tie flags onto it. Colorful ribbon or non-sticky plastic tape like flash tape or neon yard tape. It creates a visual moat effect to the deer. With the box in the center and with the moat, the deer think there isn't a good spot to jump into there.

    It's like building a chicken moat- only instead of running chickens in it you are growing your raised bed garden in it. Try looking up chickem moats. And enclosed or fenced keyhole raised bed is a good phrase to look up a visual of your bed with a fence on it.

    Put a gate on the opening of the bed, and it helps keep everything out. Put a solid panel on the bottom of the gate, at least the same height as the bed walls. This will help keep out visual grazers like rabbits and some fowl.

    If you want, you can install some PVC pipes in your bed vertically. The height of the bed along the inside edges. Then you have post holes in your beds. Use these for hoops for frost/sun/shade/netting cloths. Also can be used for holding stringer posts through the summer.

    I would also suggest you put in some support for those long sides. It's built nice, don't get me wrong. But putting in a couple spanners/braces to help keep the walls aligned now is easier before filling. And prevent potential bowing issues in the future. Also or as an alternative. You can use your verticals for your chicken wire if you sink them into the ground as braces to help prevent future bowing.

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