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When choosing fencing for your garden, you must first determine who you're trying to keep out! If your garden is in the school yard or near a pedestrian walkway, the biggest threat to your plants might be a pair of Nikes accidentally squishing your squash, or making sauce out of your tomatoes. If that's the case, a simple sign or a foot-high decorative might be enough to indicate that the area if off-limits It's a different story with beings of the four-legged variety - they often need a customized response.

Some garden stores sell netting that, once installed, is almost invisible from a distance.  This type of fence can be quite effective in keeping deer out of your garden. Deer are agile jumpers and therefore deer fencing should be about 8 foot high.  If the price of netting is too steep for your budget, you might try stringing mono-filament (fishing line) around wooden stakes. Place the stakes at 4 to 6 foot intervals and string the fishing line at three heights all around the perimeter of the garden. The fishing line confuses the deer enough to make them wary.

Chicken wire is a fairly inexpensive fencing that is light weight, has holes about 1” wide and can be rolled up and used again and again.  It comes in various heights and widths.  Skunks, rabbits, groundhogs, cats, dogs and porcupines can be kept out of the garden by surrounding it with chicken wire.  Your fencing material should be about 4' or 5' high so that 12” of it can be buried a few inches below the soil in an angle parallel to ground.  The wire forms an L shape, with the underground wire facing out away from the garden.  This type of  fence will prevent “diggers” from strolling or burrowing into your garden. 

Raccoons and porcupines
are a bit tricker to discourage since they are both diggers and climbers.  A chicken wire fence, installed in a C shape might be a better choice to discourage the climber/diggers.  Using five-foot-high chicken wire, lay 12” onto the ground with the bottom of the wire away from the garden.  Attach the middle 3' of the chicken wire to stakes surrounding the perimeter and leave the top 12” of the chicken wire unattached so that it flops out away from the garden. Installing the chicken wire in this way makes difficult for critters to burrow under because of the fencing laying flat on the ground and unstable for climbing over because the top of the fence is floppy. 

While attempting to stay one step ahead of garden interlopers be careful not to make the garden entirely impenetrable.  In other words, don't forget the gate!  You will need to water, weed and harvest on a regular basis so give special care to designing a gate that offers easy access to you, without being the weak link in your protection against intruders.