Spruce Up That Back Yard
I get a lot of emails in which people talk about problems with their dogs that occur when they are not home. My answer is that they need to keep their dog in a dog crate, a fenced yard, or a dog kennel when they are gone. If the dog is in an enclosure it cannot hurt anything.
I do not like the look of an ugly chain link dog pen in the back yard, I have two of them at my home. I thought I would show you what you can do with a chain link kennel to not only spruce it up so that it's not so ugly in the back yard, but also provide shade for your dog.
This chain link kennel was built at the end of our utility shed. The kennel faced east and afternoon sun was too hot for a dog so I planted dogwood shrubs about 8 feet from the kennel. After 3 or 4 years they were tall enough (using rapidgrow every year) to provide needed shade. In the first years I had painted sheets of plywood attached to the outside of the chain link to provide shade. These have since been taken down.
This photo shows the rafters over the chain link that are 2 foot on center. What you cannot see is that I took 7 or 8 strands of 14 gauge wire and wove it over the top of these rafters. This wire provides support for the vines to grow on.
The dog house in this case is inside the garage. The door to the dog house is covered with 6 inch strips of rubber. In fact, these rubber flaps are rubber belts used on tractors. You can find them at your local farm supply store. Dogs will not chew these belts.
There are two ways to house a dog in a chain link dog kennel, you can either include a dog house or cut a hole in the side of your garage. This kennel has a dog house built inside the garage.
Here is a photo of the back of one of my buildings on my property. When I have dogs that do not do well in the kennel building with other dogs I move them out here. This chain link kennel had been up about 3 months when this photo was taken. I took a chain link kennel and added a roof made out of lattice. I then planted vines around the outside. You can just see the vines starting to take off on the side of the kennel near the back wall.
The top of the chain link kennel is 2x6 rafters that are 2 foot on center with 4x8 foot sheets of lattice as a cover. There are two standard types of lattice. Do not try and use the cheap thin lattice that is sold. I am going to have to see if this thicker lattice will hold the snow loads that we have in WI.
Here is another view of the front of the kennel. This particular chain link kennel was put almost under a set of steps leading up to a loft in the top of the building. The floor material is patio blocks that were set on 3 inches of sand. You can see the vines starting to grow in the fence. In two or three years you will not be able to see into this kennel, (the dog can easily see out through the leaves). Vines will grow up the chain link and then up on top of the lattice. In 4 or 5 years this will be a nice cool secluded place for the dog. Larger pine trees were transplanted about 15 feet away from the chain link to ward off the hot afternoon sun.
Here is a view on how we put the 2x6 rafters together . The chain link panels were attached to the 4x4's on the outside of the kennel. You can see how the lattice is attached to the top. When the vines grow up the chain link and onto the lattice we will have a nice cool kennel for the dog. Patience and fertilizer go a long way here.
This is a view from a different angle. You can see the narrow path of patio blocks that lead to the kennel. Shovels that are used to clean the kennel are hanging on the back side of the post that supports the steps going upstairs. This particular kennel has an outside dog house. This fall we will eliminate this and cut a hole into the garage. The dog will have free access to the inside of the garage to make sure no one visits at night.
Here is a view of what a bored dog can do to a very nice dog house that used to have siding on it. She tore it off in about 3 hours. If you look in front of the dog house you will see a teaser ball and a tug-n-toss the day we gave her these toys she stopped tearing things up.
This kennel belongs to Bill Martinez in Tampa Florida