Thursday, July 31, 2014

Repurposing An Unused Dog Kennel

Once upon a time we had a dog named Pepper that required a high chainlink kennel for fresh air, sunshine, exercise, and potty breaks. We still have the dog named Pepper but several years ago we installed an invisible fence to meet those needs. It was a win-win for Pepper and her people!

But what to do with the unused kennel?
  • Let others borrow it. ü  I was happy with this arrangement. At least I wasn't looking at it anymore!
  • Lean it against the side of the house for a few years until we figure out what to do with it? ü  I was very unhappy with arrangement! I saw it every time I walked out into the backyard, which is often.
  • Let it assume a new identity as an enclosed vegetable garden. üüü  I am very happy with this arrangement!
We haven't had a real garden since we moved here 15 years ago because of issues with shade and wildlife. Especially wildlife. I think our yard is known as a 5 star Cervidae Smorgasbord where the plants are favored delicacies. Couple that with a backyard that has 90% shade cover and where the other 10% contains enough buried cables and pipes that the sunny area looks like a weird Candyland path every time the "Call Before You Dig" guys show up and it becomes obvious why we could not have a vegetable garden in our yard.

Until now.

I'm not sure why we didn't think of this before:

The garden in a sunny spot away from the shady areas of the backyard and protected from the deer

Green beans, pumpkins, peppers, cucumbers, leaf lettuce, tomatoes, watermelon, sunflowers, sage, and a mystery seed planted in its own pot by our grandson make up the spring/summer planting (photos taken in early July)

First we laid overlapping rows of garden weed block down and tucked it under the fence edges. Not everyone would need to do this but we did for many reasons that I won't go into right now. Eventually there will be enough raised beds and straw paths to hold it in place. (Oops! I see grass peeking through in these pictures.)

Our kennel is an approximate 9' x 9' so we plan to build 5 raised beds that are 2' x 4' each which will be positioned around the walls with gaps between for placing freestanding pots. We will leave the space near the gate clear and we plan to let the fruit from vines nest in the center area. The Smart Pot (*note: NOT an affiliate link) will stay right where it is along the side near the gate.

"Farmer Fen" watering the growing produce! (photos: late July)

He's posing for the camera and planning a bit of mischief!

While Gram inspects the damage done by the deer to cucumber vines hanging outside of the fence "Fen" sneaks up on her and sprays her with the water hose! (She got even. Both dried quickly in the summer sunshine.)

Cascading pumpkin vines

Healthy pepper plants

We got a late start this year, having not put this idea into production until mid-June, but everything is growing happily and healthily. I obviously over-planted. Something about those who sow sparingly reap sparingly came to mind. (See II Corinthians 9:6.) We could always prune out weak plants! We don't seem to have any weak plants so that is why the nesting area rapidly became covered with vines and delayed the need for purchasing straw.

We plan to build 2 of the remaining 3 raised beds before the fall planting. The other one will wait until next year when the self-watering planters can be moved without harming their contents. Right now there is no room for the last raised bed box.

We also plan to place gutters along the top of the kennel with a downspout that feeds into a water barrel. The compost bin will then be relocated so that much of the garden's food and water supply will be nearby.

We bought weed block, wood for the raised beds, and a few bags of garden soil which we mixed with our compost made from the leaves of all those shade trees. That's how we lost a kennel and gained a garden. I couldn't be more pleased with the way it is working out, even if the deer do nibble anything that hangs outside of the fence. But who can blame them?!

*There are so many raised bed plans to be found online. We adapted the size to fit our needs. Each of our beds cost around $17.50. 


  1. Thank you for sharing! I, too, want to repurpose our old unused dog kennel panels to make a vegie garden area.
    Last year our two dogs discovered the joy of eating squash and cucumbers, despite my medium sized fences.
    I love your photos (Fen is so adorable!) and I can hardly wait to get going on this to have a garden safe from our dogs! (And safe for them too, as onions are not good for the doggies!)
    I was thinking of rigging up a simple mist sprinkler system overhead, using the fence to support it. And definately laying down weed block, secured under the fence--perfect!
    Thank you so much! Blessings from California! Gail

  2. Hi again! Just a follow up! This worked out really well for my garden. I put down the weed block and then some green outdoor carpet over that. I have large raised beds with tomatoes cukes and squash and a variety of potted vegetables and herbs! Put plastic around the outside bottom two feet to keep the dogs from doing their business on the plants.
    I wish I could send you a photo, but it is really nice and working out well!
    Thank you for your post. It really inspired me.


Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O LORD, my strength, and my redeemer.
Psalms 19:14 (KJV)