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Deer-Resistant Garden Bed

By: Sherri Ribbey
This deer-resistant island bed will add interest to any bare spot with full sun to part shade and most of the plants are not usually tasty to deer.

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Plant a deer-resistant garden

Brittany Petrello was stumped when it came to this Georgia front-yard bed. It sits between her home and an undeveloped lot. Trees of varying heights provide a bit of privacy and some shelter from the sun but otherwise it was empty. We decided to help her design a garden that added color to this large space in her front yard while trying not to setup a buffet for the deer. Keep reading to see where Brittany started and our garden plan for the space.

Dee-resistant-Garden-plan-before-photo: Here is the before photo of this garden bed which already had a few trees and stones but otherwise it was empty.

A blank canvas

You can see the before photo of this garden bed above. This spot gets morning sun and some afternoon shade — a big help in zone 7 Georgia, where summers get hot and humid. The stones are easy to see now, but once plants mature they’ll be hidden. You might choose to reposition them near the front of the garden so they’re more visible in future years in this deer-resistant garden bed.

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Colorful front-yard garden bed

Brittany started off by planting a few Sunny Knock Out® shrub roses and a chaste tree. The challenge was finding additional plants to tolerate part shade and the occasional deer that comes calling while providing some colorful curb appeal. Because of the deer the roses will need a repellent spray to keep from getting nibbled. (Though when deer are really hungry, no plant is safe.)

In a large space like this, big sweeps of plants fill the space and make a big impact. Since the house is light gray, and Brittany uses purples in her seasonal plantings; repeating that color here coordinates the look of the entire front yard. While the plants in this garden plan work for Georgia, they’ll do fine in other areas, too. However, bloom times may vary somewhat regionally.

Add shrubs as a backdrop

Adding a backdrop of large shrubs helps anchor an island bed in the yard. Here, bottlebrush buckeye (Aesculus parviflora) would be a good deer-resistant choice. This white-flowering native shade shrub gets 8 to 12 feet tall and 8 to 15 feet wide.

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Meet the plants in this deer-resistant garden plan

Check out the lettered plan above and see the corresponding plant information in the slideshow below. Click through to learn more about each plant in this deer-resistant garden design.

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Published: Feb. 28, 2018
Updated: Dec. 17, 2020
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Here are some supplies and tools we find essential in our everyday work in the garden. We may receive a commission from sales referred by our links; however, we have carefully selected these products for their usefulness and quality.

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