Deter deer with motion sensor and sprinkler?

I have deer that are continually eating my landscape. I have tried everything without much success. Since installing SmartThings, I’ve thought about how I could use a motion sensor around my landscaping that would activate a sprinkler in the landscape bed to spray the deer if they come into that area. I have tried to figure out how to implement this, but being new to SmarthThings and not a developer, I’m at a loss. Can anyone help?

You could use Spruce Irrigation System ( and a motion sensor to achieve this. The problem however is that the sprinkler would come on every time there is motion, even if there is a false trigger, but we could come up with virtual switches that disable the motion based sprinkler trigger - this can be used during parties or special occassions , etc… the motion can also be set up to be disabled for a few minutes after any door is opened…So there is a lot we can do… Where are you located? I offer services to create smart home solutions based on SmartThings platform (

I cant resist but…
If you have deer that get deterred by a sprinkler you have some wimpy deer. I have watched deer walk through a field with irrigation sprinklers to get to their free meal with an attitude of, “only a shower” :wink:


FWIW -there is an “off the shelf” one of those for 30-40 bucks available.

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I’m actually making this exact same thing now. I have a garden hose on a sprinkler. Using a 120v Coil/valve plugged into a z-wave receptacle. I am having it set to come on for a few seconds when the motion signal triggers a motion event. I’m using it to keep cats from crapping in my garden.

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How about using a lawn inflatable instead of a sprinkler? Or an outdoor speaker and Big Talker? Both of those can be done using existing SmartApps without any coding.

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At best, this will only work a few times until the deer get used to it. Then they will just get sprinkled while they feast.


electric fencing (by “fence charger”) works very well and installs easily. You can get battery and solar fence chargers, but I prefer plug-in for lowest cost and lowest maintenance. They will learn to stay away. You can find the parts at at farm supply stores, ebay and amazon. It can work on big rodents too by mounting lower but maintenance goes up, with the weeds and grass touching the line.

The motion-actived, battery scarecrow sprinklers work pretty well for the first 1-2 years because they make a startling racket that can make you crap your pants - that works on deer also. Mine get stuck off too often after 3-4 years.

It’s funny that deer don’t seem to notice motion lights at all.

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Motion detectors are interesting creatures. They actually only see heat in motion. They can’t tell anything else. A blanket or tinfoil can fool them too because when an object comes between them and the “hot” object they don’t see it as the blanket or whatever is the same temp as the air.

You can do things to blind a wide field motion sensor by using something that cuts its field of view. Similar to a ball cap blocking sunlight from your eyes a piece of opaque plastic (or whatever) that IR can’t pass through could be use to blind it in a certain direction such as blinding the ability to see upwards.

To limit false positives you put one down low, blinded to high objects and one up a few feet above blinded to low objects.

Your logic in the smartapp would be so long as only the low detecting one goes off and not both, you know its a short critter :wink:

This would of course require a lot of tweaking with tilt angles etc… and sensitivity. With greater distance you will blend in to the “middle” range of the sensor tall or short. However, with greater distance you would be seen by both sensors and thats a false positive. What you want is when critter of x height gets within range… FIRE… but not a human. As long as you have no short humans in the house your ok :wink:

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Most deer fear new things, but many deterrents lose their effectiveness overtime. Also, just like people, different deer are annoyed by different things.

Motion activated sprinklers are most useful when they don’t go off every single time but maybe once a week or so. This keeps the deer from getting too used to them.

We live in a semi rural area, lots of deer, Coyotes, etc. Plain old fishing line is popular here, as it’s much less expensive than fencing of any kind. But it can be a hazard to people, so you have to deploy it carefully.

This old house has a good article on deterring deer which suggests using multiple methods and rotating some of them.

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I’ve been using the motion detector sprinkler that I got off Amazon for the past several years. It has a random pattern. Deer have not gotten used to it and it continues to deter them. And I live in a development called Deerfield Park if that gives you any clue to how many deer are in the area.


Well, as most of my deer are Louisville fans, they are pretty whimpy!! :wink: I couldn’t resist either. I have considered that it may not work, but I can’t come up with another option that I could customize. I.e. Only work after X time and stop after X time. We have too many kids in our neighborhood for electric and I’m really just spitballin’ at this point.

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I used the off the shelf version for a couple years, the deer still fear it. It sends a stream at them, not a sprinkle.

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I’m not sure what the integration will be like, but plantlink is coming out with a valve later this year. Their moisture sensor already works with SmartThings.

In theory a motion sensor could trigger the valve to turn on.

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How would you get the motion sensor to not give false positives outside during sun hours?