Vineyards, airports and many other locations use animals, such as sheep, to keep grass trimmed without the use of large machines. This does not mean you should save yourself some work by using deer to trim your shrubs. If you have lived in the northern VA area for more than a week you know that as we continue to build, the deer continue to move into our yards and become more comfortable around people.
They are beautiful animals that are interesting to watch, until you notice they are eating your entire landscape. Many plants, such as Hosta, are like desserts to deer and they will never grow more than a few inches before being chomped back to ground level, while other plants they will just nibble on, giving them an “odd” shape or never allowing them to bloom. There are several steps you can take to help prevent deer damage, most importantly choosing plants they do not like to eat like boxwoods, butterfly bushes and ferns. There a really no “deer proof” plants, when hungry enough from a dry summer or a long winter deer will browse on just about any plant, but there several plants deer seem to stay away from. To learn more about deer resistant plants in our area you can go to http://www.cals.ncsu.edu/extgardener/Ext.%20Gard.%20Summer%2013%20Coast.pdf
Other options are fencing in your yard, using deer repellants or having a dog that is allowed to roam the yard freely.