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My wife is looking to start planting soon and is looking for something to keep the critters out. She suggested looking at dog kennels, something along these lines: https://www.walmart.com/ip/Lucky-Dog-Chain-Link-Kennel-DIY-Kit-Villa-Plus-10-L-x-5-W-x-6-H/44459028

It struck me that it would need to be pegged tightly to the ground lest animal slip underneath, that it would need some kind of tighter mesh wrapped around the lower few feet to keep small things out, and that it wouldn't help against burrowing creatures. But would this work, and if so, any suggestions?

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    Define critters, please? How effective a type of barrier is depends largely on the animals you are trying to keep out.
    – Stephie
    Apr 9, 2022 at 5:31
  • @Stephie Rabbits and squirrels are the most obvious, as well as cats and racoons. Probably others as well (upstate New York).
    – Charles
    Apr 9, 2022 at 5:33
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    Hm. For squirrels, that’s not an obstacle (more like a jungle gym). I hear raccoons are also good climbers. With cats, it depends on their motivation - why would they want to go inside (but most wouldn’t bat an eye when going over this fence). Rabbits are notorious for digging shallow trenches to go under fences. It would work for dogs though, as advertised.
    – Stephie
    Apr 9, 2022 at 5:49
  • Please clarify your specific problem or provide additional details to highlight exactly what you need. As it's currently written, it's hard to tell exactly what you're asking.
    – Community Bot
    Apr 9, 2022 at 9:31
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    Should keep the deer out, anyway.
    – Ecnerwal
    Apr 9, 2022 at 12:46

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Pros:

  • it's self supporting and relatively sturdy
  • Bam, it's a kit, off you go.

Cons:

  • It's small, and the "math of fencing" is that the larger the area you fence, the less the fence costs for each bit of land enclosed. (With, IME, some modifiers depending on your local deer herd - mine seemed to have a "minimum size they wouldn't jump into" even though the fence was far too short to keep deer out - larger than that, you have to make the fence big enough to keep deer out. Local deer herd habits do vary and they can unfortunately get "trained" by tempting crops (neighbor grew sunflowers and the deer did a lot more fence jumping over things that had been fine for 15 years.) They retained and passed on that knowledge long after the neighbor and sunflowers left.
  • It will have minimal effect on many "animals of interest" and requires additional materials and effort to affect them. Add a few more materials that cost much less than a dog kennel and you've got yourself a fence, any size or shape you want.

Reality Check:

  • Squirrels are virtually impossible to fence out, or would require far more expense and effort to fence out than is remotely reasonable for most people. They can go over any fence and through much smaller mesh than you'd think. If you are not going to close in the top and use fine mesh there and all the way from the ground up, you won't even make them break a sweat. On the plus side, they are not generally a big garden predator unless you bought some nut trees.
  • For rabbits you generally want a section of non-rusting fence bent into an "L" and buried so the buried part of the L is facing out. The intent is that they try to dig under but get stopped by fence below them. Burying fence straight down won't work, they'll just dig deeper.
  • Raccoons you might be able to stop, but you are probably going to need electricity and to be smarter than they are. Which ain't easy. They happily climb fences, though they are happier climbing nice tight neat-looking fences than loose floppy awful looking fences. You'll want a mixture of hot and ground wires near the top if trying to get them with an electric fence, since they are fully smart enough to jump onto the hot wires and not touch the ground or lower fence to avoid getting shocked.
  • Cats are generally not all that interested in working to defeat a fence that will have a hope of keeping out rabbits or raccoons, much less both, unless you are growing catnip.
  • Groundhog/woodchuck/yellow-bellied marmot should be on your list. But keeping them out by fence alone is difficult...

Note on Electric Fencing

Having mentioned electric fencing, and the internet being what it is, I'm compelled to add that electric fencing is done with a NRTL-recognized (for the USA, UL is typical) Electric Fence Charger that delivers a "painful but harmless" shock, not by creating a "zone of death" (humans included) with mains voltage or some home-made thing.

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