How to have a productive garden when you’ve got deer & kids

raised garden beds keep out deer
Lindsay and Timothy Dzielski used a dead space along their driveway for their gardens. The coverings worked to keep out deer and other critters. These beds were all set up this year. Photo by Connie Oswald Stofko

by Connie Oswald Stofko

When Lindsay and Timothy Dzielski had their garden in the backyard, the deer ate everything. The groundhog and squirrels got a share, too.

The garden also competed for space with all of the kids’ toys.

So in March, when things suddenly closed down because of the pandemic, they tried something new. They built raised beds in a dead space along their driveway.

“This is how you enjoy gardening while you enjoy wildlife,” Timothy said. “People never use this space, or they use it to make another driveway.”

The beds are covered in different ways, and each way has been successful in keeping deer and other critters from eating the plants.

“Nothing gets in,” Lindsay said.

Moving the gardens from the backyard to the space along the driveway also frees up play space for the kids, Jayden, 10, and Bailey, 4.

“The kids can be involved in gardening, but this is a way to keep the kids out, too,” Lindsay said. “They can’t accidentally run over the plants with Power Wheels.”

The couple shared their landscape on the City of Tonawanda Garden Walk in August.

plastic covering on raised bed
High winds knocked over one of the arches that holds up the plastic sheeting for the roof, but the roof was strong enough to protect the plants from hail. The mesh in front can be rolled up when the gardeners want to water or harvest. Photo by Connie Oswald Stofko
strings supporting tomato plant
Did you notice the strings in the previous photo? The strings create a vertical garden, providing support for vines and tomatoes. The stems of the plants are connected to the strings with loosely fitting plastic clips. Photo by Connie Oswald Stofko
raised bed covered in bird netting
Shorter plants can be grown in this raised bed, which is covered in bird netting. Photo by Connie Oswald Stofko
potted plants in mesh cage
In this structure, potted plants are caged in with mesh. Photo by Connie Oswald Stofko
zippered door on mesh over garden
To get inside the enclosure, the gardeners can simply unzip the mesh and walk in. Photo by Connie Oswald Stofko
Artist Lindsay Dzielski
Lindsay Dzielski, an artist, creates a vibrant sunflower on her garage door. Photo by Connie Oswald Stofko

9 Comments on “How to have a productive garden when you’ve got deer & kids

  1. Seeing these images is amazing! It reminds me how far our garden has come the last few years!! Such a great memory and such a great start to what we have “grown” to now.

  2. Thank you so much Lindsey I can t wait to try this next year. I’ ve seen something similar at Linda Blyths gardens. I also saw zucchini done this way.

  3. Hello! Thanks everyone!

    Yes, we used PVC to house our Romas and Eggplant. I used zip ties to attach the deer netting. We will be building a wooden frame for that bed next yr. The PVC worked great and held up to the crazy wind we get. We will probably move the pvc to a new garden. I used green house plastic on tops.

    The plastic clips were off amazon… Plant Support Garden Trellis Clips for Tomato and Other Vine Plants. The white fishline support was also off Amazon, although you could just use twine and an S hook… (cheaper too). Those were called Rollerhooks for tomatoes.

    We used clothes line and ran lines from the top wood supports the length of the bed and then the roller hooks i clipped on. It allowed me to move the plants as they grew.

  4. I would love to know more about the vertical supports for the tomatoes. Where did they get the clips? Great ideas. Nice job on the sunflower painting.

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