To keep deer out of flowers, gardeners can plant varieties that do not attract them. They can also move the plants that deer like best, such as clematis, chrysanthemum and fruit-bearing varieties, closer to the house to dissuade the deer from eating them. Another strategy involves planting strong-smelling plants, like garlic and lavender, around the property's edges as the smell may mask a garden's more tempting plants.
Gardeners can include plants that deer do not like among the tastier varieties to make them less appetizing. Deer avoid eating plants with fuzzy leaves or a bitter taste, such as bleeding heart, crocus, catmint and lily of the valley. Planting rose varieties that are extra-thorny, and daffodils in place of tulips, can also discourage deer.
Tall wood and wire barrier fences can be an effective deterrent against deer. The animals can jump between 8 and 12 feet, so fences should be built high enough to prevent them from leaping over. While fencing a large area can be expensive, it may be the best defense for small gardens or prize bushes and shrubs. Anti-deer netting mounted on metal poles can be a cheaper form of fencing. Also, covering low-growing crops with garden nets helps to prevent deer from destroying them.
Scaring away deer with loud noises, motion-activated devices or dogs may work, although deer can be persistent and intelligent enough to discern whether there is a true threat after an initial scare. Dogs that are allowed to roam free in the yard can provide the best defense. Gardeners can also spread predator urine or other discouraging scents, or commercial deer repellents, around the edges of the yard or garden. Strong-smelling deer repellents are more effective if they are applied to leafy plants rather than to the ground.