10.16.2013

Fencing In The Dog's Favorite Room

Our outdoor area is one of our favorite parts of our apartment, and California living in general, but Odo (our sweet puppy--who is over a year and half old now but will always be a puppy) wasn't getting to enjoy it as much as he desperately wanted to.  We share the backyard with our landlord, so although we each have our own relatively private areas and the yard is fully fenced, we couldn't let Odo go running around getting all up in everyone's situation.  After talking it over with our landlord, we came up with the idea of putting in a couple pieces of simple fencing that would block off our patio and the long side yard we walk through to get to our apartment at the back of the house, but it was up to us to do something that could be easily removed in the future when we move.

I actually did this project a few weeks ago, but didn't get around to taking photos of the updated patio area until more recently.  While I was at it, I also documented switching out the bar cart for the vintage white enamel cart we picked up at the Ventura flea market.

Let's start with the pretty pictures, then I'll get to the fence building stuff... here's how the patio is looking these days:



I think our patio space is starting to look much more put together, although things are bound to keep changing!  For example, I don't think the LC2 chair will be staying out there much longer, as Chris wants to move it to his classroom at school, and it really shouldn't be outside anyway--no matter how damaged it already is, it will just get worse!

My secret for getting Odo into these pictures is to throw a stick into the frame, then take a bunch of shots as he runs to fetch it.  I end up with lots of awkward dog shots, but I love this one of him happily prancing (a very accurate description of how he moves after picking up a good stick) back to me with his stick.

Ok, now some deets on the fence itself:
This process definitely wouldn't work for everyone, because it is not a very tall or sturdy fence, but luckily Odo is not a fence jumper.  He's actually hilariously trusting of boundaries... he used to be able to walk around the whole yard on a leash, but as soon as the just under 30" tall and see-throughable fence was up, he totally accepted the fence as an impenetrable wall and doesn't even bother trying to get over/under/through/around it.  I knew this about Odo, and that instructed the materials I used for fence-making, but this fence totally works for him and would probably also be great for most small dogs.




Here's how it went down:
After doing a bunch of research for ideas online and measuring the areas I needed to fence, I went to Lowe's and picked up a bunch of these 3 ft U-Posts and this natural reed outdoor privacy screen.  I also originally purchased this roll of vinyl coated steel hardware cloth, because I was thinking of just using that, or using it as a base for the reed fencing stuff, but I ended up scrapping that idea and just returning it to Lowe's.

The reed stuff is usually attached to an existing chain link fence to pretty it up and add privacy (case in point, there are a bunch of old panels of it attached to the fence around our yard), but I quickly realized it was sturdy enough for my purposes and was more attractive than any other option, both in looks and in price!  In this photo (above), I've already pounded the u-posts into the ground (spaced about 3-4 ft apart--it would have been an even 4, but the ground on the left side was obscenely hard, and that's the spot I ended up being able to get the post into the ground, albeit at a wonky angle), and I was in the middle of cutting down the 6 ft reed screen to the right height.

snapped this photo just after finishing the fence, with the ground still in need of raking 

Then, I used some garden twisty-tie stuff we already had to attach the reed screen as tightly as possible to each u-post, and the fence was born!  I used the taller piece of reeds behind the table (check the first two pictures), and there was also a really short remaining piece, which I just propped against the back of the row of potted plants behind the folding aluminum chairs.  In case it's confusing in the pictures, we basically had to do one long fence straight from the edge of our patio to the property fence--blocking off the side yard from the rest of the backyard--along with a bit of fencing around the edges of the patio, although our plants did some of the work for us there, since Odo doesn't even bother trying to jump the plants.  We just used our old baby gate (which we used to use for Odo inside) to block the walkway from the patio up into the backyard, so that it would be easily movable, unlike the reed fence. Still, when we move all we have to do is cut the twisty ties and pull up the u-posts, and you would never know there was a fence.

ahh... much better post-raking

All in all, I spent about $45 and a few hours of labor to put this thing together, and now Odo is super happy, and I'm happy because I can just open the door for him instead of taking him out on the leash.  He spends his time running around and chewing as many sticks as he can get his paws on, even the giant stump...

Now I want to put in some plants along the far fence!  It's so very brown with all that dirt.  The October issue of Sunset magazine had a feature on landscaping with low-water plants, which is exactly what we need out here, so I might look into acquiring some of those to put in.  Having a yard to think about is a whole new world for us!


Here are two other views of the fence, first from the opposite side of the patio (notice Odo chowing down), and then from behind the fence looking back at the patio.  Not the prettiest, but you can see how the posts are behind the fence, so we don't have to look at them all the time.  We're a few weeks in now, and it seems to be holding up great!

For now, the LC2 is Odo's outdoor bed.  Can you find his two "lost" tennis balls?

Now just a quick look at this little ever changing part of the patio.  We have no good spot for a bar cart in this apartment, plus it's unnecessary since we have a built in bar (which we have yet to photograph. I'll work on that.).  We've talked about selling it a number of times, but Chris loves it and isn't ready to part with it.  It got relegated to the patio for awhile, but since we got the lovely new enamel cart, this guy has moved inside to act as Chris's bedside table.  When I took this photo all the gardening stuff was in a box somewhere...


But since putting in the white cart, I unpacked our extra potting soil, fertilizer, trowel, and little containers so they are accessible.  I love my little blue plastic elephant watering can.  The multiple tiers of the white cart definitely make it more functional outside, plus the fact that we're not worried about it being out there in the first place.  The little red shelf under the window is nice to have for our plants, though it's not exactly the most stylish thing and I'm not sure what to do about that.  We definitely could stand to organize the plants and maybe coordinate the pots better for a cleaner look.  I don't know what we're going to do with this whole area once we take away the LC2, but I think it looks pretty good for now.


Aaand since Odo was being is so darn adorable, I just couldn't help but throw in a few favorites of him enjoying being outside.  Love our happy little beastie!


So what do you think of our patio area?  The fence?  Would our fence contain your dog, or do you need something bigger?  Any tips for adding plants to our outdoor space?  Do you like the white cart vs the bar cart?

4 comments:

  1. That looks great, very elegant solution. I love how the fencing blends in with the surroundings. Lovely space you have here!

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  2. Nice fencing project! To hide some of your brown dirt, I suggest art projects (that can stay outside) and potted plants that are native to your area. That ground looks like it would not support plants very well without a lot of soil amendments. This way, you can take everything with you when you move.

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  3. Hes definitely adorable !!! he has the best master he could ever get :) that looks pretty neat and hope hes having fun in the house.

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