Wandering comes naturally to dogs, whether in pursuit of intruders, fellow canines or neighborhood rodents. Good fences make good dogs, and you can build one yourself with renewable materials that respect the Earth you love and protect the pet you cherish.
“Renewable resources” is a term often used in the emerging popular green culture of today. By definition, renewable refers to any resource that can replace itself as fast, or faster than, it is consumed. Simply put, it’s something that grows back with little effort, replacing itself as it’s used. Choosing a fencing material made of renewable resources ensures the least impact on the environment, while providing the protection you need for your dog.
The best part about using raw renewable resources is that you can easily use any variety of materials to cheaply create your own fence from scratch. With one simple DIY weekend of sweat equity, you can enjoy the safety and privacy a fence offers for years to come.
Bamboo has grown in popularity for its status as a top renewable resource. It grows quickly, with little impact on the environment. Its strength and versatility make it well suited as a material used indoors and out for a wide range of products from fencing to flooring.
Fallen limbs litter nearly every yard in the stormy spring and summer seasons. Build goodwill with neighbors by offering to help them clear away the mess. Put nature’s trash to good use by lashing them into a charming fence.
“Certified Sustainable” lumber is now available at a variety of lumber retailers. Look for brands with this designation and research how the companies that produce them manage their forests. Two organizations currently certify lumber as being harvested in a sustainable manner: Sustainable Forestry Initiative and Forest Stewardship Council. Look for these two seals when shopping for sustainable lumber to build your fence.
Tools and Supplies
- Posthole diggers
- Carpenter’s level
- Pre-mixed dry concrete
- 4-by-4-inch posts
- 2-by-4-inch boards
- Hammer and nails
- Cable zip ties
Start by setting several 4-by-4-inch posts along the fence line. Use posthole diggers to dig the holes at least 6 feet apart and no less than 3 feet deep. Set the posts in the holes and check them on each side with a level. Fill the holes half way with cement; add water to mix and finish filling them with the dirt that was removed. Tamp the posts firmly in place with your foot.
Next, attach the top and bottom 2-by-4-inch board stringers that will act as supports for your fencing material. Place the bottom stringer flush with the ground to prevent your dog from escaping beneath the completed fence. Place the top stringer high enough to prevent your pet from jumping or climbing to freedom.
Then, attach the first course of your chosen renewable fencing material with nails. Depending on the look you want to achieve, you can place this perpendicular to your stringers or at an angle. Fasten this first course at both the top and bottom of the 2-by-4s you’ve already installed.
The final course of material can be woven in and out of the first course, creating a basket weave pattern. It won’t be necessary to fasten this course to the stringers at the top and bottom of the fence panel you’ve created. The woven pattern should hold them in place. To ensure they will not slide out of position, secure each point of contact between the two courses with plastic cable ties.
In just a few hours of weekend work you can have a fence that will last years, providing piece of mind that you’ve done your part to protect the pet you love and the earth you care for.
Tom Barthel is a master gardener and regular contributor to DOG FANCY and Natural Dog.