Garden Fencing: Keep Rabbits, Squirrels and Other Animals Away

Garden Fencing: Keep Rabbits, Squirrels and Other Animals Away

If you’re a gardener, one continuing problem is the intrusion of animals into your growing area. Dogs and cats can leave their waste and spoil your produce. Other animals will happily devour the garden crops you’ve worked for weeks to cultivate. 

A simple electric fence built around the perimeter of your garden or flowerbed can solve this problem. With an electric garden fence in place, these trespassers will soon discover their free meal is out of reach. Where they were once free to roam, they’ll now encounter a safe, but memorable, electric shock. After a few encounters with your new electric fence, they’ll learn to stay away from your garden.

Zareba® makes setting up an electriic garden fence easy for you with its Garden Protector kit,  an all-in-one fence kit that is assembled in a few minutes. If that isn’t enough to keep your garden pest free, then you can set up a fence customized to your exact needs.

Keeping Wildlife Away from Your Garden

Where most electric fences are meant to keep animals in, fencing around gardens are almost exclusively meant to keep animals out.

It’s a good idea to try to learn what animals are causing the problems. Set up a game camera by hooking it to a nearby t-post or study the damage to your plants. Once you determine the animal creating the problem, then you can make plans for your electric garden fence.

AnimalRecommendationWire Spacing
Raccoons and opossums Garden Protector Fence Kit 1 wire. 4 to 6 inches above ground level.
Rabbits Garden Protector Fence Kit 3 to 5 wires. Space 4 inches apart. First wire at 4 inches.
Groundhogs/Woodchucks Garden Protector Fence Kit 1 wire. First wire at 4 inches.
Squirrels Garden Protector Fence Kit 3 to 5 wires. Space 4 inches apart. First wire at 4 inches. Must clear overhanging tree limbs and other climbing options.
Cats and Dogs Garden Protector Fence Kit 2 wires. Space 6 inches apart. First wire at 6 inches. (Deterrent only)
Deer Full System – High Tensile, 5,000 volts 7 to 9 wires. Space 10 inches apart. Top wire must be at least 70 inches above the ground level.
Feral Hogs Full System – High Tensile, 5,000 volts 5 or 6 wires. Space 6 inches apart. First wire at 6 inches.

The Basics of a Garden Electric Fence

To assemble an electric garden fence to protect your flowers and vegetables, we recommend a fence kit to cover all of your needs. These kits include all the components required to install a small electric fence in just a few minutes.

Inside a garden electric fence kit from Zareba®, you will find:

  • AC Fence Charger
  • Reel of electric fence wire
  • Step-in Insulated Fence Posts
  • Ground Rod
  • Hookup Wire

The checklist for building your own electric garden fence is quite similar to what’s inside a kit. If you’re building your own, you need to purchase:

  • AC Fence Charger or Solar Fence Charger
  • Reel of fence line – In most cases you want aluminum wire, though polytape, polyrope, or polywire may be used as well.
  • Insulated Fence Posts or another type of fence posts
  • Insulators (if your fence post isn’t already insulated)
  • Ground Rod
  • Hookup Wires

We discuss each of these in more depth below.

Groundhogs can quickly destroy a vegetable garden and devour the plants in your flower bed. Groundhogs can quickly destroy a vegetable garden and devour the plants in your flower bed.

Chargers: Powering Your Garden Fence

First consider how you will power your electric fence. Can you get AC power near your garden?  If yes, purchase an AC-powered fence controller.  If your garden expands in the future it will be easy to upgrade.  Better yet purchase a more powerful fence controller in the beginning with future expansion in mind.

If you can’t get AC power to your garden consider a solar powered or DC (battery) operated fence controller.  These units are more portable and don’t require an AC (plug-in) power supply.  Solar units use a solar panel to maintain (charge) a battery inside of the unit.  It’s the battery, which charges the fence.  Solar units are a great option if you don’t want to change batteries periodically.  Solar energizers can easily fit on most t-posts to face the sun.

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Fence Posts: Supporting Your Fence Line

For posts, pick whatever style you are most comfortable with:  T-Post, Round Post, Fiber glass or Plastic. Some are considered permanent or semi-permanent posts. Others can be removed easily to allow you to change your fence boundaries. You may also decide to retrofit an existing fence to hold your electric fence line. Remember that you will need to choose the right insulator (holds the fence wire) for the correct post.

Fence Insulators: Preventing Power Loss

You will only need fence insulators if you’re using pre-existing fence posts or you’re installing something besides the step-in posts Zareba® offers. If you need insulators, it’s important to match the insulator to the type of post you have and the line choice you’ve made.  Start by matching the post type and then match the line type.

For example, if you have a t-post perimeter that will hold an aluminum line, you’ll have several options available from Zareba®. First, look up “t-post insulator” and sort through the options available for aluminum wire. You may even be able to pick an insulator color, too! Many are available in yellow, white or black. 

Fence Wire: Options for Protecting Your Garden

For wire, Zareba® strongly suggests aluminum fence line. For one thing, this wire is highly conductive.  More importantly, it’s malleable and easier to work with. 

Other options include polywire, polytape and polyrope. These are popular for homeowners who are concerned about aesthetics, but they require proper tensioning to be effective. To achieve proper tensioning, additional purchases are required.

Ground Rods: Completing the Circuit

ground rod (or a set of ground rods) is required for every electric fence. A ground rod helps the electricity complete the loop out of the charger, through the fenceline, into the ground and back to the charger. Without a ground rod, your fence won’t work.

Installation is handled by driving the ground rod into the earth and then attaching connecting wires from it to your charger.

Hookup Wire: Making the Connection

Insulated hookup wire is used to connect one part of the fence to the other without creating a risk of accidental shock. An insulated sleeve encases this wire, which is easy to attach to individual components, including the ground rod, the charger and individual fence lines.

Rabbits are agile and can get into plants where you least expect them -- including eating straight from a planting container Rabbits are agile and can get into plants where you least expect them -- including eating straight from a planting container.

Your Garden Fence Needs

By protecting your garden with an electric fence, you can return to tending to your growing plants, rather than worrying about protecting them. By constructing a small electric fence around your plot, you’ll be able to keep squirrels, rabbits, groundhogs and other wildlife away. Likewise, your fence can ward off wandering pets!

If you have any questions about setting up an electric fence around your garden, contact Zareba® on Facebook. For more articles like this one and special announcements, subscribe to the Zareba® eNewsletter.