Deer-Resistant Design – snippets and book giveaway!

Deer-Resistant Design book
It's been an exciting week – my latest book, Deer-Resistant Design: Fence-Free Gardens that Thrive Despite the Deer (Timber Press, 2019) arrived! I immediately sat down to write a note to each of the contributors and sign a copy for them – in between dancing around the kitchen! Let me explain a bit more about this labor of love….

Why I wrote this book.

When we moved to this property I knew there were deer and wasn't afraid of the challenge. After all I knew there were some good lists of deer-resistant plants. What I hadn't understood was that that was ALL there was – and that lists don't translate into a strong design. "I needed ideas for expansive borders as well as more intimate vignettes, specimen trees and focal points, bold sweeps of color and intriguing textures, and as a designer, I wasn't willing to settle for anything less than fabulous."

Who is this book for?

"This book has been written to encourage and inspire homeowners just like you with stories and photographs of mature landscapes that have withstood the test of time and taste-testing of deer……without resorting to fences or pouring concrete in despair…..Landscape architects, designers, master gardeners, garden consultants, and nursery professionals will also benefit from the resource this book provides."

Relevant no matter where you live.

Illustration by Katie Pond (my amazingly talented daughter!) showing the location of each featured garden. (Each icon represents a unique quality about the garden – octopus? jeans? egg? Read the book!)

Featuring 13 case studies from across the United states, "each chapter features one tenacious gardener and tells the story of their garden, describing their personal design criteria, the challenges they face, and the strategies they employ as they refuse to be thwarted."

How will it help me?

You will glean;
  • Important design strategies that will help minimize damage, distract the eye, and re-focus attention
  • Re-routing techniques to keep the deer out of your roses and more!
  • Ideas for plant combinations (SO much more helpful than just lists of individual plants)….but you'll also find…
  • Each homeowners Top 10 deer-resistant plants (and there are some really cool ones!)
  • A better understanding of the levels of deer-resistance
  • Tips for seasonal barriers against rutting as well as browsing
  • Recipes and lists of recommended repellent sprays
  • 20 container gardening designs that are also deer-resistant!

Meet the tenacious homeowners

Top row: Jay Sifford, Scott and Lezli Bradley, Pam Penick. Middle row; Todd & Anna Brooks, Maryellen & Michael McCulloch, Judy & Tom Muntz. Bottom row: Michael & Anita Sheehan, Diana Kirby, Janet Burch

One of the true joys of writing this book has been meeting these wonderful, generous designers and homeowners whose gardens, ideas, and strategies I was able to share. It has been a true privilege to tell their story and an experience I shall always look back on with a smile. Not all wished to be photographed but let me tell you a little about each of them and their chapter here;

Designer's Dream Garden – despite wildlife, water, and weeds

Homeowners: Karen & Andy Chapman, Duvall, WA. Design by Karen Chapman, Le jardinet A story of tenacity, when the best thing going for the garden initially was a very large, very dead bigleaf maple. Laugh with us as you read our story of sheer determination.

Country Garden- where daunting challenges become exciting opportunities.

Homeowners: Ruth & William Bloom, Essex Fells, NJ. Design by Susan Cohan Gardens Rambunctious (but adorable) dogs, hurricanes, flooding, and a steep slope were all considerations that the designer took in her stride. Stunning hardscape, exemplary spatial flow, and broad brushstrokes of soft colors are hallmarks of this award-winning design.

Desert Oasis- where neither heat, nor drought, nor deer diminish the mirage.

Homeowner David and Pam Penick, Austin TX. Design by Pam Penick. Succulents, diaphanous grasses, unique art, shimmering palms – this is not your typical Texas garden – but then Pam is not your typical designer.

Blue Jeans Garden- where kids and dogs are always welcome

Homeowners and designers: Anna and Todd Brooks, Stevensville, MI (Arcadia Gardens LLC) Creating a beautiful garden with rogue basketballs and an exuberant dog is challenge enough. Add deer into the mix and the struggle is real….and then there is the fact that husband Todd mistook a prized glass gazing ball for a kids football and kicked it out of the border…..

Storyteller's Garden – unveiling magic, one chapter at a time.

Homeowner and designer: Jay Sifford, Charlotte, NC Is there anything more terrifying than writing about a garden whose owner is both a designer AND a gifted writer?! I was relieved when I received the following text; "I'll have to say that I KNEW you were a very good writer, but your command of prose and attention to detail really captured the essence of my garden and its magic. Thanks so much for including me!!!" Discover for yourself how he created such a masterpiece despite up to 13 deer visiting every day.

Garden of Survivors – where serendipity and inspired design go hand in hand.

Homeowners: Joel Guillory and Janet V. Burch, Stevensville, MI. Design by Maria Smithburg (Artemisia Landscape Design) With links to the Chicago mafia, this home has an intriguing history  but it was the surrounding property that really caught Janet's imagination. Read how she manages not just the wild weather courtesy of Lake Michigan, but also constant deer pressure and how she transformed a weed-infested parking lot into a masterpiece.

Garden of Connections – between people, flora, and fauna

Homeowners: Michael & Maryellen McCulloch, Portland, OR. Designed by Ann Lovejoy, Beth Holland, Laura Crockett, Eamonn Hughes, John Greenlee 80 acres, herds of deer and elk, lavender fields, wildlife-rich meadows, panoramic views, an unforgettable sense of "place" – you'll love this chapter.

Confetti Garden – where pops of color punctuate the landscape

Homeowners: Jeff Eller & Diana Kirby, Austin, TX. Design by Diana Kirby (Diana's Designs) Elegant plant combinations and artistic color echoes that could be replicated in England or the PNW – yet this is Austin where temperatures often exceed 100'F and the native soil is shallow and rocky.

Lake House Garden – where every day is a vacation

Homeowners: Tom & Judy Muntz, Stevensville, MI. Designer Arcadia Gardens LLC Sandy soil, woodland shade, lack of privacy, and an underground propane tank were additional challenges beyond the ubiquitous deer. When Judy also requested a cutting garden and a spot to grow a few edibles the designer had her work cut out.

Collector's Garden – where hostaholics and deer draw a tentative truce

Homeowners and designers: Michael & Anita Sheehan, Holland, NY I had to see this to believe it; 600 juicy hostas and almost 300 daylilies – and not a bite mark on them. Read their story and take heart if you are a determined collector of roses , hosta or other deer-caviar!

Hilltop Hacienda – where native and adapted plants bring Mexico to Texas.

Homeowners: Richard & Margaret Lonquist, Austin, TX. Design by Tait Moring (Tait Moring & Associates) Remarkable – from the agave hedge to the panoramic views across Texas Hill Country to the architectural plantings of grasses, succulents, and cacti – this is one you won't forget. Great ideas for protecting vegetables too.

Curated Garden – where everyday natives and choice ornamentals find common ground

Homeowners: Jim & Deborah Heg, Greenbank, WA. Design by Deborah Heg 24 years of experimenting, planting, and adjusting have gone into this Whidbey Island property. It is a masterpiece of unexpected vignettes with some drool-worthy plants to add to your shopping list.

Suburban Retreat – bringing Colorado to New Jersey

Homeowners: Scott and Lezli Bradley, Chatham, NJ. Design by Susan Cohan Gardens A hammock suspended over a carpet of feathery ferns, the illusion of seclusion thanks to artful placement of trees, Colorado touchstones; both plants and boulders – this is a perfect story of a vision well executed.

Where can I buy this book?

Glad you asked! Lots of options. It;s been rocking the Amazon charts this week even before it has started to ship!

Enter to win a copy!

Just leave a comment below telling me why you NEED this book and be entered to win a signed copy in a random draw! Giveaway rules: Only USA residents may enter to win a copy (sorry) A random number generator will draw a name on Tuesday July 16th at 9pm PDT. Winner will be notified by email and have 48 hours to claim their prize, after which time a new name will be drawn   Good luck!

More Resources

Get my FREE download 15 FUN deer-resistant plants Check out my online workshop "Designing a Deer-Resistant Garden."
Excerpts from Deer-Resistant Design. Affiliate links are include in this post

And the winner is…

Comment #19: Carol Yemola! Congratulations! You have 48 hours to respond to the email I have sent to you and claim your prize. So sorry everyone else – but thank you for sharing your stories with me. Maybe you'd like to purchase a copy of my book anyway?

Subscribe to Receive Blog Posts

Gardening inspiration delivered right to your inbox from Le Jardinet


Deer-Resistant Containers: Before & After

I thought you might like to see how some of my summer container designs have grown in. All three designs are planted in full sun, are deer resistant, and low maintenance. The "After" images are approximately 6-7 weeks after planting. They all had Osmocote added as a slow release fertilizer when first planted but have…
Read More

Last Needle Hanging

Seen above in better days…. …but sadly a key plant in this scene has now become an embarrassing eyesore.  Time to take action! Out with the Old My Feelin' Blue deodar cedar (Cedrus deodara 'Feelin' Blue), carefully placed to the left of the cabin, started to feel a bit "off" last year – and turned…
Read More

Mission Impossible? Petunia Conversion!

"Oh boy," was my less-than-enthusiastic reaction when I opened the box of plants to trial from Proven Winners and saw several petunias. PINK petunias at that. I can't stand petunias. They get sticky, messy, don't deadhead politely, get covered in aphids, don't tolerate rain – and pink is NOT my color… As I donned my…
Read More

Watery Hues at Chanticleer

I'm sure you've heard of the renowned white garden at Sissinghurst. Even if you've never seen it in person there are countless images online depicting its quiet elegance. Does the idea of a monochromatic color scheme intrigue you but you're nervous to try it? Are you afraid it will lack interest? You're not sure which…
Read More

Renovation of a Mature Border – Part 1

Is your whole garden a place of beauty where butterflies sip, birds sing and you love to linger? Or do you have an area of your garden that is "just what it is". You neither love it, nor hate it – you just haven't got around to thinking about it? I do. This is the…
Read More

Plants for Procrastinators

Have you been caught with areas of your garden not quite summer-ready? Not ready to commit to what you really want in that empty spot? Do you have shrubs that will eventually fill the space – but are still rather small? Don't have the budget yet for that specimen tree you've got your eye on?…
Read More

Contemporary Container Design

Thanks to YOU and your great ideas I finally got my new container planted. I'm not usually stumped – it was more that I had too MANY ideas, and your input helped hone them down perfectly. (In case you've forgotten you can revisit my original post Imagination Needed here. ) The criteria Plants for the…
Read More

Over the Garden Wall

It's been a busy week as I've been hard at work on a special project for you! (More about that later…) Are you curious to see what's happening in your neighbor's garden? Do you sneak a peek while out walking the dog? Don't blush – we all do it! Well I know I'm rather off…
Read More

New (and newly discovered) Deer Resistant Annuals

When six plant-crazy women (collectively known as #NGBplantnerds), six overstuffed suitcases, numerous bulging camera bags,  a LARGE  bag of yummy snacks, and rather a lot of plants squeeze into a minivan for a Californian road trip, you can bet there's going to be some laughs, plenty of wine, and lots of fun. You can also…
Read More

Skinny Shrubs for Tight Spaces

When I realized that my post Skinny Conifers for Tight Spaces has been read over 40,000 times, it inspired me to create a  free booklet for my newsletter subscribers; Top 10 Skinny Trees for Tight Spaces, which expanded that selection to include deciduous and flowering trees as well as conifers. That too has been well…
Read More

Welcome to My Garden Adventures


I'm a serious plant-aholic. In other words I'm usually covered in a layer or two of soil, I drive everywhere with a large tarp for impromptu plant purchases and I'm truly passionate about sharing the joys of gardening.

Buy My Books Here!



Container Gardening Course

Enter KCHAPMAN20 to get 20% off

Architecture, interior design, and more ∨

Use the help of top home decorators to select matching bedside tables and a new lamp shade for your own bedroom design.
Collect and share photos of bathroom tile, bathroom vanities, shower curtains and bathroom mirrors to create your perfect home decorating style.

TV Interview