Fencing Solutions for Dogs

As the spring time approaches and the weather warms across the U.S., one thing is on everyone’s mind – spending more time outside. I even gave up an hour of sleep last night for an extra hour of daylight! That’s how you know its getting serious. As we clean up our yards and make plans to enjoy them, be sure to think about fencing solutions for dogs. Fences are not only a great way to keep unwanted wildlife and people out of your yard, but also an excellent way to protect your dogs!

Fencing to Keep Pets Safe

Keeping our dogs (and other pets) safe is a serious concern. According to LostPetSearch.com, 11-16% of pets will go missing at some point withing a 5 year period. Furthermore, depending on the study, only somewhere between 70-90% of these dogs are found. Data like this puts into perspective the importance of keeping your family pet safe and secure. These backyard fencing solutions will help you achieve that level of safety while giving your dog (or cat, lizard, or whatever you have) the ability to enjoy the outdoors with the family.

Best Backyard Fence for Dogs

In my experience as a home and dog owner, the hands down best fence to keep your four legged best friend safe is a six foot privacy fence. The privacy fence is an excellent fencing solution for dogs because of its height and design. The typical privacy fence is constructed with solid wood boards positioned one next to the other. This design provides for an increased level of privacy, and even more important, security for you and your dog. Neighbors or people driving by cannot see into your backyard and your dog will have less temptation to escape. Again, I have found this is the best backyard fence for dogs in regard to security. Privacy fences can cost you about $15 to $25 per linear foot depending on the features.

Split Rail Fencing

The house I’m in now has a combination of split rail and privacy fence in the backyard. The back of the property has privacy fencing that my neighbor installed before I moved in. I decided to fence off the other two sides of the backyard with split rail due to the cost as well as the landscaping (we like to see through the fence across our neighbor’s green, sprawling yards.

fencing solutions for dogs

The split rail fence consists of posts evenly placed about 10 feet apart, 3 wooden rails between them, and a 2” x 2” mess wire fence attached to it. I was not as concerned with privacy in this house because of how far apart our homes are and how they are situated. We are also fortunate to have a (somewhat) well behaved pooch -and she’s only about 20 pounds.

I’m not concerned about her jumping over the shorter, 4 foot tall split rail. Although we are happy with this style fence, the lack of privacy can be a concern for some dogs that are prey driven as they can see animals outside of their backyard and be tempted to escape – just something to keep in ind. If you’re to have someone install split rail fencing, it will set you back about $20 per linear foot.

Chain Link Fencing for Dogs

Chain link can be an excellent choice for fencing in a backyard with animals. Most chain link fence is 4’ tall and again lacks the element of privacy, but is more affordable like split rail. Maybe you have moved into a house that already has chain link, or the yard is partially fenced and you want to complete it. Some may just prefer the look of chain link fencing – either way, this is a durable fence solution that will keep your dogs just as safe. A quick look on the web shows that chain link costs about $10 – $20 per linear foot installed.

Temporary Fencing Solutions for Dogs

Not everyone is ready to spend the money or tackle a project such as installing a backyard fence and that is 100% understandable. This does not mean your dog cannot safely enjoy the outdoors with you the spring and summer. I’ve put together some quick dog fence ideas to enable maximum fun with your four legged friend.

Temporary Vinyl Fence

For less than $1 per linear foot, you can construct a fairly sturdy fence that will contain your pet – and the best part is, you can easily take it down when you’re not using it. Lowes sells 100’ rolls of 4’ tall vinyl fencing for about $40 per roll. Pair that with some a 4’ U-post every 10 feet or so and you have a temporary setup that costs a fraction of what  permanent fence would cost.

I have even found this setup to work well within the confines of my backyard to keep my dog out of gardens or mulched areas. Last year I put up a 3’ tall fence around our raised beds and it worked wonders.

Outdoor Kennels and Fence Panels

Another temporary option is to get a pre-fabricated outdoor kennel. There are many options out there that include modular fencing panels – you can add to or take away panels to make the kennel the right size for your dog. They come in different heights, some even have tops like a cage. Again, I endorse this as a temporary option, I wouldn’t advise keeping your dog unsupervised in something like this.

Tie Outs

Let us not forget about the original low budget solution to getting fido some sun without him/her running off into said sunset – the tie out. I love being able to put my dog on a tie out when we are working in the front yard, or when we take her to a friends house that doesn’t have a fence. Tie outs work great for well-behaved dogs, but if your dog is prone to running away or is super afraid all the time, you may want to ease your way into this one. Tie outs are only as good as the anchor – if you tie your dog to a plastic chair, your dog may run away with the chair attached!

Fencing Solutions for Dogs – Takeaways

There are many ways to make sure your family pet is able to get outside and enjoy the weather without getting lost, stolen, or attacked. Solutions range from 20’ security fences to tie outs, all of them having a different level of security and freedom for you buddy. I present you with these options as a way to explore what’s out there and how it can help you and your pets in the future. This list is not exhaustive as there are hundreds of solutions in between – let us know if you have a fencing solution for dogs that I haven’t covered – we’d love to hear your ideas!

Problems With Houses Built in the 1990s

Lets remember that the 1990s spans an entire decade – homes built in the early 1990s will not have the same problems as ones built in 1999, yet there are some distinguishable aspects of homes from this decade compared to ones being built today. Some of these characteristics are good, others not so much. It’s also worth saying that home construction style in the U.S. still varies by region – an example being less insulation in the southern states compared to the north, or roofs with a lower pitch in Florida than Wisconsin due to snow loads. Without considering the regions, let’s take a look at some of the problems with houses built in the 1990s from a general lens.

problems with houses built in the 1990s
Photo by Zac Gudakov on Unsplash

Polybutylene Water Piping

Some homes that were built in the 90s may still have PB water piping. This type of water pipe was banned from new construction in the mid-1990s, but there was nothing mandating replacement of existing. Although this is unlikely as the problem with PB water  lines was the fact it deteriorated quickly due to reactions with chemicals in drinking water. So, the chance you still have these is low, but not zero. If you suspect you have PB water lines, get them replaced as soon as possible because not only will they cause trouble, insurance carriers will not cover these pipes because of increased liability.

Masonite Siding

Masonite siding was popular in the 1990s – this product is also known as pressboard or hardboard. It’s a synthetic material comprised of wood fibers pressed in a thermoset resin. Many similar products are sold and used in construction today, but the newer generations of siding is far superior to what was used in the 90s. If you think you have old pressboard siding from the 90s, consider replacing it as soon as possible. Problems with this old style siding are mainly based around the absorption of moisture. Over time, the wood fibers embedded in the resin accumulate moisture and swell, leading to cracks in the siding. This ultimately allows moisture to infiltrate your home causing wood rot and insect problems.

Single Pane Windows

Although double pane windows were mainstream in the U.S. before the 1990s, this did not stop builders from going cheap on windows. Many homes from the 90s have single pane windows that should be replaced because of their poor ability to insulate the home from hot and cold.

Single pane windows have since been replaced with double pane windows – or a windows with two panes of glass. The two glass panes are separated by a very thin boundary of air, or sometimes inert gas, that provides an extra layer of insulation. To put this in perspective, the walls in your house have an R value of 12 – 16 depending on how they are built. A single pane window has an R value of around 1, and a double pane window has an R value somewhere between 2 and 5 depending on construction. Windows are already poor insulators, so scrapping those single pane windows for new will save you money on heating and cooling costs in the long run.

Attic Water Heater

Another one of the common problems with houses built in the 1990s, and some even today, have water heaters in the attic. While this does kind of make sense – central water distribution to plumbing, higher temperatures in the summer, plenty of space in the attic – there are other more costly downfalls to this somewhat outdated practice.

The few benefits are outweighed by the fact that water heaters located in the attic are much harder to repair and replace. Some plumbers won’t even consider replacing one without moving it to the garage or another spot on the ground floor. Another issue is if there is a leak – the water will come pouring down through your ceiling or walls destroying your home.

The last and most significant issue here is the risk for fire. Your attic is dry and filled with combustible material – and your water heater has one of two types of heat source. Electric heaters have a heating coil inside the tank, and gas heaters have a natural gas burner below them – either of these have a risk of failure. The big takeaway here is, if your water heater is in the attic, start thinking about a plan for when it comes time to replace it. Moving it to the garage, or replacing it with a tankless water heater are two popular options.

Federal Pacific Power Panels

Some homes built in the early 1990s have Federal Pacific power panels. These were manufactured and installed in homes for decades – and it turns out they were faulty. If you have a Federal Pacific power panel in your home, I urge you to get this replaced as soon as possible. I say this with experience as my last home was built in 1991, and of course had a Federal Pacific power panel. Apparently there was no issue with it for twenty plus years, then one evening in 2016 I smelled burning plastic! The power panel was in my garage and had caught fire. Luckily it was small and I was able to extinguish it, turn off the main breaker and call the fire department before too much damage had been caused.

Image of a residential power panel

The biggest problem I see here is that people generally overlook details such as a power panel. When you buy a home, have an inspection done and ask these questions. When I bought my last house, the inspector did not mention the power panel even though it was a well known problem at the time!

Should I Buy a House Built in the 1990s?

If you are wondering whether or not its worth purchasing a 90s era home, I am here to tell you YES! All homes built in every decade have some sort of problem. Owning a home can be summarized as one big problem after another – but it’s also great to be able to invest your time and money into an asset that will bring safety and happiness to your family.

I present you with this list of problems with houses built in the 1990s not to deter you from buying an older home, but to educate you so you are not surprised or overwhelmed when you are presented with an unexpected repair bill! If you want to read about some of the upsides to buying a 90s home, click here!

Did I miss something that you have found to be an issue in your 1990s era home? Let me know! I love to hear from readers.

Building a Raised Garden Bed

building a raised garden bed

Building raised garden beds can be an excellent addition to a yard as they add a bit of personalized style and enable you to grow flowers and / or vegetables in your own back yard. Raised beds also appeal to gardeners because of the control you have over where to put them and the soil you grow in. For instance, if you have a small back yard with limited space to grow due to the orientation of the sun, you could build a raised bed on wheels to track the sun throughout the afternoon. Or maybe the soil in your back yard is hard and unsuitable for growing and you would rather not till it up and condition it. No matter the reason you choose to grow in a raised bed, this offers a quality alternative to in ground gardens.

Building a Raised Garden Bed

There is not one proper way to build a DIY raised garden bed – you can use your imagination to build one to your style, or purchase a pre-fabricated kit that only needs simple assembly. Here are some popular methods to building your raised garden bed.

Landscape Timber or Railroad Ties Make for Great Raised Garden Beds

Landscape/Railroad Ties – Landscape or railroad ties provide a rustic, natural look to your raised garden bed and are relatively easy to procure. Most large hardware stores (Lowes / Home Depot) or any landscape store will carry these. Both landscape and railroad ties generally measure 7” x 9” x 8’ long so you can expect to build a roughly 8’ x 8’ bed if you do not cut them shorter.

How Deep Should a Raised Garden Bed Be

Your raised garden bed needs to be about 8” – 12” deep so depending on the look your going for, you may be able to use one layer of ties. If you’re building it with lumber, you can build the walls higher to act as protection for your plants.

Building a Raised Bed with Lumber

 If you are going for more of a refined look, you may want to build a DIY garden box out of stained or painted lumber. This is also a relatively easy way to go, but make sure you put together a game plan before buying your lumber. You should devise a plan to join the lumber at the corners, such as positioning a cut 4”x 4” on the interior for something to join to. If the boxes you are making are small enough, you could build them in your garage or driveway and then relocate them. If they are large, then make sure you build them in the location they will stay. This method affords you lots of freedom to customize the look with trim features or colors and is a fun way to brighten up your backyard.

Raised Garden Bed Kits

building a raised garden bed

As with most projects, you always have the option to buy a raised garden bed pre-fabricated and ready to put together. As a matter of fact, I have raised garden bed kit in my backyard that I purchased from Northern Tools . The kit I purchased was about $70 and consists of two 12” x 72” galvanized metal sides and two 12” x 36” sides. This makes a 6’ x 3’ bed with a depth of 1’. I found these kits to be easy to work with and very convenient – just be careful if installing them when the sun is shining bright, they get very hot!

Portable Raised Garden Beds

Building a raised garden bed on wheels is another great advantage of this style of planting bed. As I mentioned before, if you’re limited on space, there is no reason you cannot build one that you can move around and follow the sun throughout the day. I have never personally built one, but as long as you take into account the weight of the dirt when sizing it, you can pretty easily add a bottom and wheels to a garden box.

What Type of Soil to Use When Building a Raised Garden Bed

Now that you have your raised garden bed built, it’s time to fill it with dirt! This sounds simple, but there are so many options for garden soil out there – there is even a product called “Raised Bed Soil”! It can be tempting to buy the product that literally has the words “Raised Bed” in it, but it’s not always necessary to spend upwards of $10 on a 2 cubic foot bag of soil.

As a quick example, consider you have a 6’ x 3’ x 1’ raised bed (like me). This bed will take roughly 18 cubic feet of soil, or 9 bags at 2 cubic feet each. At $10 per bag, that’s over $90 including tax to fill this bed up with “Raised Bed Soil”. 

You may now be thinking, what are my options? Over the years I have found a specific combination of soils that is both effective and somewhat cheap. I like to purchase fifteen 1 cubic foot bags of topsoil for about $2 each to fill the most of the garden and then purchase two 2 cubic foot bags of garden soil for about $8 each to for a nice top layer. This costs a little more than $30 and I’ve found that it works wonderfully.

Obviously I am not taking a scientific approach to conditioning the soil I grow my vegetables in. If you are more serious about your soil’s pH balance, then disregard my money saving advice.

What to Plant in a Raised Garden Bed

The best part of this is that it is entirely up to you what you want to plant in your new raised garden bed. I love having a vegetable garden at home that provides an overabundance of peppers and eggplants all summer long. My parents grew a ton of horseradish in their raised bed last year and prepared horseradish for the family for Christmas. My in-law’s neighbors, they grow potatoes in theirs.

I will leave you with one little piece of advice – put light fencing or chicken wire around your raised bed if it is close to the ground. If you don’t, all of the critters will come in at night and snack on your leafy greens!