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Do Coffee Grounds Keep Deer Away From Gardens?

Deer, as innocent as they look, can wreak havoc on gardens and other backyard plant life. They bust into our yards like they own the place and start eating everything in site, and it’s really a pain when they decimate a garden that we have spent countless hours cultivating. It’s highly frustrating, so we go looking for ways to deter deers from our yards. One of the ways that you may read about is coffee grounds which begs the question, do coffee grounds keep deer away?

Well that’s what we’re going to look at in this article.

Do coffee grounds keep deer away from gardens?

Short answer: Coffee grounds can work as a deterrent for deer in some instances. However we recommend a professional product such as this concentrated deer repellent from Bobbex that you can find on Amazon.

There are many home remedies to keep deer away from gardens. Many people and gardeners have reported that spreading coffee grounds on the ground in places that you do not want deer has worked.  If the coffee grounds trick does work, it’s not based on any evidence that I can find and only on other people’s experiences.

We also don’t know why the coffee grounds deter deer, other than the possibility that deer do not like the smell. There’s definitely something to this as many have reported success, but we don’t know the science behind it. It’s not a sure-fire method to keep deer out of your garden, but it’s definitely worth a shot and may work for you.

If you want to see some other more proven methods, then scroll down a bit for some of the best ways to keep deer out of your garden.

Where to get the coffee grounds and what kind?

The type of coffee grounds aren’t important. So whether you use Folgers, Maxwell House, decaf or regular, Kona blend or Columbian I don’t think it matters much. It’s the smell that they don’t like.

You can obviously save up your own used coffee grounds in a bag and spread them around. You can also go to your local coffee shop like Starbucks or whatever is in your town and ask them for used coffee grounds.

Benefits of coffee grounds in your garden

Coffee grounds can have many benefits to a garden, aside from deterring deer. You’ll see that most of the benefits are related to the soil.

  • Coffee grounds are naturally acidic and will help balance the soil ph if it is alkaline
  • Slugs don’t like caffeine, so mulching with coffee grounds (about 1 inch deep max) can help keep slugs away
  • Coffee grounds can be spread around azaleas & rhododendrons as these are acid loving plants
  • Coffee grounds are great for your earth worms – which in turn is good for your soil

Other ways to keep deer away from your garden

There are many different methods to keep deer out of your garden aside from spreading coffee grounds. In fact, I would venture to guess that it isn’t even one of the preferred ways. I have listed several of the most popular ways to keep deer away below, some are free home remedy type methods but the most effective methods do require a purchase on your part. However if these deer are trashing your garden look at it as more of an investment in your garden and all the hard work you’ve done.

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1. Deer repellent granules

Enviro Pro 1006 Deer Scram Repellent Granular White Pail, 6 Pounds

Deer Scram

According to the manufacturer, this one “emits a strong odor that deer associate with death”. It’s non-toxic, biodegradable, and has no strong smell to humans. Simply sprinkle it on the ground where you don’t want deer, every 30 to 45 days.  It’s highly rated on Amazon and appears to be the best option for this type of deer repellent.

2. Deer repellent spray

Bobbex Concentrated Deer Repellent Deer, Elk, and Moose Deterrent Concentrate (2.5 gal.) YF-43QX-BOCA

Bobbex Deer Repellent

In a study conducted by the state of Connecticut Department of Forestry, this particular brand of deer spray was determined to be the second best overall deer repellent method being beat out only by a physical fence. Like the Deer Scram it’s environmentally friendly and will keep deer away, it’s just in a spray form. Great reviews on Amazon.

3. Physical fence

TENAX Deer Control Fence, 7.5 ft x 165 ft Black

TENAX Deer Control Fence

One of the most sure-fire way to keep deer out of your yard and away from your garden is an actual physical fence. Of course a 6 foot wood privacy fence is going to be the best option but now we are talking potentially thousands of dollars for materials and installation. If you don’t want to spend that kind of money check out this 7.5 foot, 600 pound rated fence from TENAX. It’s virtually invisible and blends into existing landscapes.

4. Motion activated ultrasonic deer alarm

Lycoming 4 Pack Deer Repellent Devices Raccoon Repellent for Nocturnal Animals Solar Predator Control Light Coyote Deterrent Devices with Red LED Strobe Lights Skunk Repellent for Yard

Ultrasonic Pest Repeller by Lycoming

This scare tactic has proven to be very successful by many. It’s completely safe to both animals and humans while still very effective in keeping deer away from your garden and areas on your property that you don’t want them. When the motion detector senses something nearby, the ultrasonic sounds and flashing LED lights go off frightening away animal intruders.

5. Motion activated sprinkler

Orbit 62100 Yard Enforcer Motion-Activated Sprinkler with Day & Night Detection Modes,Black

Orbit Yard Enforcer Motion-Activated Sprinkler

This is one of my favorite animal deterrents on this list. This motion activated sprinkler by Orbit can spray animals from up 30 feet away and water your garden for you in the process. As it is simply spraying them with water it will not hurt the animals and only frighten them away. You can utilize the motion detector as well as set a timer to water your garden periodically. Another great option for keeping deer away.

6. Offer food elsewhere with a deer feeder

Moultrie Feed Station | Gravity Feeder | UV-Resistant Plastic | 40 lb. Capacity | Strap Included

Moultrie Feed Station for deer 

This method certainly doesn’t guarantee that they’ll stay away from your garden, in fact it would be best used in congruence with one of the other methods on this list. However if you don’t even like the idea of having deer in your yard at all this one isn’t for you. But if you enjoy the deer and the sense of nature they bring to your yard but just want the to stay away from your garden, this could be a good compromise. It easily straps to a tree or can be mounted to a pole. Just add deer feed.

7. Plant things deer don’t like around your garden

There are many types of plants that will actually repel deer. The only problem is that if a deer already knows how tasty your garden is, it’s likely they will ignore the plants. Regardless, here are few plants to consider planting around your garden.

  • Lamb’s Ear
  • Ageratum
  • Spirea
  • Yarrow
  • Russian Sage
  • Catmint
  • Blue Mist Shrub
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8. Other less conventional methods

These are more DIY/home remedy type methods that may or may not work, evidence is anecdotal at best. Some are downright strange, but who am I to judge?

  • Human hair in pantyhose
  • Perfumed or deodorant soap
  • Athlete’s foot or baby powder sprinkled on a cotton cloth
  • Coyote, cougar or bobcat feces
  • Coyote, cougar or bobcat urine
  • Smelly socks, dirty diapers, or old shoes
  • Cat litter


Yes they are neat to see sometimes but deer can also be a pain in the rear. Hopefully you’ve found this article useful and were able to learn a couple of new deer deterrent tips.

One last tip I’ll leave you with is this:

Set up a nature cam to monitor the success of your methods and see how the deer are actually reacting to the deterrents and what time they show up. This could help you determine what’s working, what isn’t and just help you figure out the best way to keep deer away from your garden. Good luck!