I had a friend comment recently after seeing pictures of our garden enclosure that they loved the idea we had implemented and were curious to hear more about it. I took that as a cue that it might actually help someone else out there, if I were to do a little deeper dive into how we built our garden enclosure. It really is pretty neat, so I am excited to share!
The biggest problem we anticipated for our garden this year was the birds. Once anything starts to turn color, we are lucky to get any of the harvest ourselves! Before we got the garden enclosure setup this season, I actually also caught quail nibbling on my tender kale sprouts! Since our garden is inside an enclosed yard, we don’t really have any digging critters. So this enclosure would need to be modified (maybe a wire floor of some sort added) if you are trying to keep something from digging its way in. But for all of the usual suspects here in Phoenix – birds, rabbits, mice, snakes, etc – this has been working just fine!
The garden enclosure design and construction was fully inspired and implemented by Hubby, so he gets all the credit here. I am merely the communicator 🙂
The enclosure has three main components: The frame, the ceiling, and the removable walls (my personal favorite feature). Below is a list of the supplies and tools we used, and then a how-to for implementation of each component.
Supplies for Garden Enclosure
- 4×4 posts (x8 6-foot posts)
- 2×4 boards (x6 10-foot boards)
- Deck screws (or other outdoor suitable wood screws)
- Deck stain or other finishing solution for the wood
- Netting (see notes)
- 1/2 in PVC pipe (x10 10-foot pipes)
- PVC elbow-connectors (x20)
- Zip Ties
- Hooks to fit the PVC, or a piece of metal you can bend and use for the same purpose (x8)
- The amount of wood, PVC, etc, will depend on how large of an enclosure you are building, so measure and plan accordingly! We enclosed two 4×4 garden beds, with a couple feet between them, so that is what the quantities listed above reflect.
- For the netting, we used a polypropylene product that is more stiff than bird netting but more pliable than the wire poultry netting. The mesh size is just under 1 inch, and it has been working well to keep out critters. Only the lizards can sneak through, and they don’t eat the plants! It ended up being really easy to work with, and I would absolutely recommend using it for your own garden enclosures! Our local Ace Hardware store sold it, so you might try looking there. Of course, Amazon caries it too 🙂 – you can see it HERE.
- Saw for cutting the wood to correct length
- PVC pipe cutter (or hacksaw, etc)
We built the main frame for the garden enclosure from the 4×4 and 2×4 boards. The 4×4 posts sit flush to the corners of each box to form a framework for the walls.
Since we have 2 boxes, we used 8 posts – one next to each corner of the garden boxes. We didn’t need to trim the corner posts length-wise, but we did cut out large grooves (cross-shaped) from the top of each post to hold the 2×4’s. We cut out a 2-inch notch from the ends of the 2x4s so that they could sit one on top of the other, and then placed them in this interlocking fashion onto each corner post (see pictures below).
The ceiling is built from 2×4’s and bird netting. The 2×4’s span between each post, framing out a ceiling for the enclosure. To keep everything nicely together, we cut out the 2×4’s with reverse notches so they lock one over the other, and then fit nicely into the corner post cut-outs. We then just rolled the bird netting out across the “ceiling” and stapled it to the frame. We screwed down metal bands across the top of the ceiling frame, where the 2x4s lock into the 4×4 posts. This just adds some additional stability but is not essential.
The Removable Walls
The removable walls are, I believe, the best part of the enclosure. They make getting in and out of the garden so simple. I have ease-of-access from all sides, and they are super easy to take off and put back. (Thanks Hubby for this great design idea!) We basically made PVC square frames to fit inside each of the exposed wall sections. Since our boxes are up against a block wall along one side, this meant we only had 3 sides to build walls for. We totally just measure on the fly, holding up the PVC and estimating “close enough.” But, each wall, other than the center “entrance” is about 4 feet wide x 6 feet tall, so you could use this as a reference point on dimensions. We connected the 4 pieces for each wall with the elbows, and voila – wall frames!
The netting was very easy to attach to the walls. We just picked a flat spot on the ground, laid the PVC frame down, and stretched the netting across (x2 pieces since one roll was not wide enough for an entire wall section). Attached with zip ties every 6 inches or so, and “le fin”! Wall!
To attach each of these walls to the frame, we bought a piece of flat 1/2 inch wide aluminum that we cut into a couple inch pieces in length, and then bent to the correct shape for the PVC. We drilled two holes in the vertical sections for attaching to the frame, and spray-painted to keep them from rusting. There are two of these hooks spaced evenly across the top of each main frame section. The PVC walls hang on perfectly, and are so easy to remove!
We had originally also planed to put a small piece of wood or metal to use as a latch on the sides of each wall. However, they hang straight, and there is gravel along the ground that they set into. This seems to keep them in place just fine. so we left the latches off for now.
(And if you’re curious — the Garden Boxes)
The garden boxes themselves are an approximate 4-foot by 4-foot square. There are currently two of them, with a couple feet between for ease of access. You can read more here on how I built the actual boxes themselves.