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We finally got a break in the rainy weather and started to build our new dog yard using the parts we received from PetPlaygrounds. 18 boxes arrived at our home several weeks ago and we were blown away by what was provided. The company does make it easier to install their fencing system by sending practically everything we need and providing both written and visual (video) instructions.
What We Received from PetPlaygrounds
- No-Dig Sleeves & Driving cap
- Fence Posts
- Round Post Collars
- Steel Tension Cable
- 2 Corner Post Brace Kits
- 1 Start Corner Post Brace Kit
- 1 Stop Corner Post Brace Kit
- Polypropylene Mesh
- Rubber Coated Welded Steel Wire
- Ultra-Hold Ground Stakes
- Cam Locks (Gripples)
- Hog ringer tool with D-rings
- Threaded Eye Loops
- Galvanized Nails
- Magnetic Level
- Wire Snips
We also received parts for one gate.
As we were going through the packages, my boyfriend seemed perfectly at ease because it all made sense to him. I was a little shocked. I didn't have an idea of what we'd receive, so when 18 boxes arrived over two days, it became clear that we had a big project ahead of us. And as we were going through the box, I was surprised to see that not only did the company provide the necessary equipment and parts, we received a few tools too.
Planning a New Dog Yard
Although you can pay to have someone install the fencing system, we chose to save money and go the DIY path. Johan is handy and we have tons of tools, including an excavator to help prep the area. I didn't think we'd have trouble installing the yard and the site assures you that it is possible to install their system yourself. So, how hard could it be?
Our first step was planning where the yard was going to be and how big we wanted the yard. We received 300 feet of fencing, but it isn't necessary for us to use all of it. We decided we'd set some aside in case we wanted to change the layout or expand the yard. Since we had steady rain for weeks, we used that time to configure our new yard and it wasn't easy because we were going for a larger yard and not just a dog run.
I followed the shape of our yard, not realizing until too late that although it seemed like an even rectangle (what we were going for), I was a bit off in a couple of areas. This wasn't the end of the world and we were able to adjust as we began setting up the fence posts.
What We Used to Plan Out the Yard
I'm terrible when it comes to envisioning what the yard will look like when we're finished. It drives Johan crazy – he'll try and describe it, draw terrible pictures, and walk me through the yard and I'm still at a loss. I have to see a picture of a completed project or the start of a new project to gain an understanding of what he wants to do. So, with that in mind, I went to our local hardware store to purchase a few things to help us plan the yard:
- stake flags in two colors – the yard flags helped us plan different shapes. We used orange and pink, mapped out two shapes and determined which shape would work best.
- bright yellow twine and metal stakes – once we determined on the shape that we wanted, we used the twine to mark the shape. The bright color made it easy to see the shape of the yard.
Having the yard mapped out, I was able to envision what it would be like to see the dogs from the house, see what the dogs would see when they were in the yard, figure out if we needed privacy hedges, and judge if it would be challenging to mow in the yard and around the yard.
Seeing the Dogs from the House – we're moving the dog's yard from the side of the house to the back of the house. This allows us to double the size of their yard. And, what's nice, is that we were able to find a configuration where the dogs wouldn't see us. If the dogs can see me in the house, then they bark and whine to get in, if they can't see me, then they can focus on enjoying what's happening outside.
Do We Need Privacy Hedges – we considered planting some trees and hedges to block our dogs' view of the neighbors and provide more shade. However, the new yard will have several trees (plenty of shade) and it'll be at least 25′ further away from the neighbors. They'll still be able to see them, but our neighbors will be less of a distraction when they are enjoying their property.
Mowing the Dog Yard – mowing the yard is my chore and I love it. We have a huge John Deere mower and I listen to audiobooks or podcasts as a fly around the property. It takes about three hours total to mow our entire property, including the current dog yard which is mowed with a push mower (the John Deere won't fit inside). With the new dog yard, we have a gated entrance that the John Deere will fit through easily. So I can move around and inside the dog yard quickly and easily. Something that would take me 45 minutes with a push more, will take 10 minutes with the John Deere.
Initial Challenges in Putting Up the Dog Yard
If things had gone as planned, this post would show you the installation of the dog fencing system from start to finish. Sadly, we just have the fence posts up due to the weather. However, we've already hit a few snags that I want to warn you about.
You Need Upper Body Strength
One thing that attracted us to the PetPlaygrounds dog fencing system was that we could put it up ourselves. We're a DIY household and, by that, I mean that Johan does everything around here. In the past ten years, I think we've had a repairman to the house twice and that was to show Johan how to do something so he could handle it in the future.
Because of the dogs, I'm an active person – walks, tossing balls and Puller rings, house cleaning, and the occasional workout. This weekend, I learned that I need to step up my exercise game because installing the sleeves and fence poles turned into a fantastic upper body workout and I loved it! So if you're are not physically fit, then hiring help may be a good idea – even someone to work with you can make the installation go faster and more smoothly. If you like to get a good workout, you'll LOVE the DIY option.
Prepping the Property Adds More Time
I didn't consider prep time for the property. We were delayed because of the weather (weeks of rain) and Johan broke the news last week that we needed to do some prep work too. It was better to take care of the land first instead of trying to work around the new dog yard later. I was disappointed, but I want our yard to look nice. We also need to take down the old fencing system. We can use the excavator to tear it out, but we still need to take it apart and dispose of the various fencing materials. More work, but half of it can be done after we finish the new yard.
Measure Twice, Cut Once
Okay, so we didn't cut anything but I can't stress enough the importance of measuring your new yard several times. Thank heavens we did this at Johan's insistence. If it were up to me, I would just start hammering sleeves in the ground. I learned that you cannot trust your eyes. What looks like a straight line can turn into a crooked line of fencing poles that are off by 5-6 inches each as they zig-zag across the yard. Depending on the size of the yard, you can finish it up in a weekend – however, don't rush to meet this deadline if it means that you're compromising the measurements. We measured several times which saved us a lot of work when we began installing the fence poles.
It's also a good idea to measure as you're adding each fence poll and use a level to make sure your polls are straight (we checked two sides of each poll). I can't stress this enough – take your time.
What Type of Soil Do You Have?
Our soil is rocky. I knew this, but it's not something I was concerned about when installing the fencing system. Thankfully, Johan was concerned and forced us to slow down. As we were hammering in the sleeves (which hold the fence poles) – this part was a ton of work given our soil type – we had a few areas that we hit a rock or the ground was too hard and couldn't go any further. It was the best work out and gave me a lot of respect for anyone who does this work regularly – my hand/eye coordination needs some work.
PetPlaygrounds suggests two options when you hit rock or hard soil:
1 – Move the sleeve over a few inches and try again with the goal of going to the left or right of the rock. There were a couple of spots where we had found a spot six inches away, which threw off our measurements. We learned that this isn't the end of the world. Everything continued to go as planned.
2 – You can hammer the sleeve as low into the ground as possible and then use a sawzall to cut the amount that is above ground. If you don't have a sawzall (I mean, how many people have one on hand?) you can hide the sleeve standing above ground with rocks. The only problem with the using rocks is that you'll have to dig the sleeve out if you choose to change the configuration of the yard.
Fence Posts Go PARTIALLY Into the Sleeves
This wasn't a challenge for us because when Johan saw the divots on the sleeves, he know that they were there to prevent the fence posts from going all the way to the bottom. What was a challenge was the hardness of our soil (as shared above). If the sleeve doesn't go flush to the ground when hammering in, we can use a sawzall to cut the portion of the sleeve that is above ground. However, we quickly realized that it's best to use this step when most of the sleeve is in the ground (only 2-3 inches is above ground). If only half of the sleeve is in the ground, for example, then the fence pole may not be as secure.
Building on Uneven Surfaces / Rock Wall
And, finally, we have a rock wall that borders a portion of the existing dog yard and I thought it would be cool to incorporate that into the new yard. The problem with my plan is trying to figure out how to secure the fencing so that it looks even and nice. We're thinking of putting a fence poll against the rock wall and a second gate (to be ordered) on the upper section. Johan has a few other ideas too. There is a tree near the rock wall that can be used as a fence pole, bending the two fence heights – so, we'll see.
The dog yard also slopes downwards and that presented a challenge too in getting the polls standing straight up instead of leaning to one side – using a level was and important step here.
Our Next Steps
The weekend is over and we work during the week. Next weekend, we will be taking down part of the old yard and adding the final fence polls. Then we can do the corners and start adding the fencing material. Our goal is to wrap up our project next weekend (or the weekend following) depending on if we have any hiccups along the way.
We're going to be using our house as one side of the yard as well as a couple of trees as fence posts. The dogs will gain access to their new yard through an existing dog door that leads from the garage into the yard.
My First Impressions of PetPlaygrounds
Or is this my second impression? Either way, after spending a day framing our yard, I realized one thing. If I were single, I would hire someone to install this system. On my own, I'm way out of my element and would have completely messed it up. But going through the installation with someone who is handy, I'm learning a lot and I'm excited about the finished product.
My first impressions of the PetPlaygrounds dog fencing system are:
- If you want to do it right and have a nice yard, this is not a quick and easy project if you're going for a big yard the way we are and I'm thankful that I realize that and that I have help.
- The company obviously wants us to succeed in building a secure dog yard because they sent us nearly everything we needed. We have a garaged full of tools so, with the exception of the twine, stakes, and yard flags, we have everything we need.
- I'm excited about the dog yard. It's going to look nice and the dogs are going to enjoy the extra space.
Catch Up on Posts About PetPlaygrounds
- 3 DIY Home Projects Inspired By Our Dogs
- How to Keep My Dog from Escaping the Yard
- 5 Reasons My Dogs Need Their Own Yard
- How Much Does it Cost to Build a Dog Yard?
Read More About Raising Dogs
- Building a Secure Dog Yard with PetPlaygrounds
- How Much Does it Cost to Build a Dog Yard?
- 10 Tips for Pet Parents Living with a Blind Dog
- Living with a Deaf Dog
- 3 of the Best Beds for Our Five Dogs
This is a sponsored post. I received a discount off of a 250′ PetPlaygrounds dog fencing system in exchange for sharing my honest thoughts on the system through a series of blog posts and social media updates. All thoughts shared on KeepTheTailWagging.com and related social media channels are true and reflect my experience with my dogs and the PetPlaygrounds system.