dog containment
February 12, 2009 11:59 AM   Subscribe

help us make our chain link fence opaque so our dog doesn't climb out every time she sees a squirrel!

our back yard converges with several other yards and some public land, so even though we have 100 feet of 4' chain link fence around our property (the fourth side of the yard is our house), there are plenty of woodland creatures, neighborhood cats, possums, raccoons, etc. that wander around on the other side of our fence.

both our dogs like to bark at these things, which annoys our neighbors, and our beagle/shepherd/mutt is tall enough to climb out (the other one is a basset hound and is unlikely to ever accomplish this).

we would love to invest in some 6' stockade fencing, but it just isn't in the budget right now. we have some emergency home repairs we also need to pay for, and we're trying very badly to keep our debt in check. it seems like seeing the critters is the trigger for escaping, not smelling or hearing them, so we can use our existing chain-link if we can just figure out how to make it opaque.

vinyl fence slats are an option, but, at half the price of the stockade fencing, will still strain our budget badly. ditto roll-on tiki reed fencing.

right now the cheap and ugly solution is to weatherproof and staple some plywood to the inside of the fence. is there anything else we can do? i hate to keep them inside when we can't supervise them--our house is small and they love to run.
posted by thinkingwoman to Home & Garden (11 answers total)
Go to WalMart and buy some length of "Invisible" fencing and install it on the inside of your chain link fencing. It sure would cost less than to put plywood on the fence. It would look much better as well.
posted by JayRwv at 12:03 PM on February 12, 2009

Some of that corrugated plastic roofing might be cheaper than plywood and save you the trouble and expense of weatherproofing. You might be able to get a nice green or brown that would blend in with your woodland surroundings. Drill some holes on the corners and secure it with wire.
posted by wrnealis at 12:09 PM on February 12, 2009

JayRwv's solution is better if you want to keep then from climbing out. Several of my friends use the invisible fencing to stop their mutts from digging under the fence.
posted by wrnealis at 12:12 PM on February 12, 2009

The couple of times I've been in a fabric store they've had large rolls of fabric. If you got a length of something synthetic, a solid color like white/gray/brown, and zip-tied it as necessary onto the chainlink, it might be a cost-effective temporary solution, or at least confirm whether not being able to see the critters will actually help. A roll of plastic from home depot, some paint and a roller might could also accomplish the same task. These assume you're not part of a home-owners association, but since you're considering plywood...
posted by hungrysquirrels at 12:18 PM on February 12, 2009

Also consider something like a cedar hedge if your ground isn't frozen. I assume a nursery would have some sufficiently grown to block their sight enough that a random squirrel might not catch their attention. Don't know about cost though.
posted by hungrysquirrels at 12:25 PM on February 12, 2009

Foremost 100570 5' X 7' Brown / Green Reversible Tarp

Your Price:

* 5 X 7 Brown / Green Reversible
* Laminated on both sides for maximum waterproofing and durability
* Reinforced with rope sealed in hem for extra strength
* High strength rust-resistant grommets on each corner
* Ideal for camping, boat/machinery covers or cargo/construction covers
* Actual product color may vary

Buy 100/7 = 15 tarps for $30 plus shipping, drape over fence, letting 10-12 inches hang down the outside, the remaining four feet of five hang down the inside. Staple the overlapping top closed long all seven feet, zip-tie the hanging foot to the fence at both ends.
posted by orthogonality at 12:28 PM on February 12, 2009

You could also investigate a roll of black landscape (AKA Weedblock) fabric. They are usually 4-6ft in width, and are reasonably cheap. The cheapest ($ 25-45 50ft roll) are plastic, and might only last a couple of years. The good stuff (commercial grade) is pricey (~$200 for a 100ft roll). I don't know about the aesthetics, but it would be easy to do.
posted by lobstah at 12:55 PM on February 12, 2009

Plant some sort of fast-growing vines along the bottom of the fence. It will take a while for them to grow enough to cover the fence, but they'll look really nice once they're there. Maybe you can hang tarp on the far side of the fence while they are growing, if you talk to your neighbours and explain that the tarp is temporary until the vines have grown, and that you're doing it to keep your dogs from bothering them.
posted by 5_13_23_42_69_666 at 1:19 PM on February 12, 2009

One thing to keep in mind whenever you hang something on a chain link fence: those posts aren't designed to be wind resistant and even porous cloth can cause your fence to blow over in a stiff wind.
posted by buggzzee23 at 2:14 PM on February 12, 2009

I would be wary of some of these solutions. Fences are regulated by your local municipality and they may not meet code. Plywood is almost certainly something that the city or your neighbors may object to (although painting it may be an option, and it will probably need to be treated).

I would consider just chaining your dogs up until you can build a higher fence. A four foot fence just isn't sufficient to keep them in. You can't prove they won't just sense the chasey critters anyway until you've spent the money, and they already know how to get out....

The classic cheapo dog run is a chain attached to a laundry line. Would that work for you?
posted by dhartung at 2:32 PM on February 12, 2009

Response by poster: we'd have to install posts for the laundry line, in which case we might as well just improve our fence (there are occasional stray dogs we'd also like to keep out).

after a visit to the local home improvement warehouse, i noticed they sell that plywood lattice for not very much, and each panel is the size of my fence panels. the little openings in the lattice are too small for the dog to get her paws into for leverage (she doesn't take a flying leap, she sort of climbs and jumps from the top). so i could probably secure that to the fence without it being too ugly, especially if i paint it, and it wouldn't catch the wind.

another option may be to run some small-mesh chicken wire around the inside of the fence to prevent her getting a foothold on the chainlink.

all good ideas and thoughts, folks. thanks for helping me think it through!
posted by thinkingwoman at 7:49 AM on February 13, 2009

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