Wrought-iron fences are often quaint and attractive. The fences are also attractive to smaller or midsized dogs, because they can walk between the bars of the fence. Larger dogs, having an unobstructed view between the bars, may try to walk through the gaps and get stuck. It's not the best fence for a family with a dog, but removing and replacing it is very costly. If you can't change the fence, you can add to it so that your dog is protected.
What You'll Need
- Tape measure
- Plastic or wire fencing roll
- Zip ties
- Wire cutter
- Spray paint
Measure the length and height of the wrought-iron fence. Buy at least that length of wire mesh fencing of a suitable height. Measure the height of the wrought-iron fence, from the topmost horizontal bar to the ground, to get the height for your mesh fencing. Determine the best fencing to use for your dog. You may be able to use chicken wire for a small, sedate dog. For a particularly rambunctious dog, use chain-link fencing, although it's harder to work with.
Attach the mesh fencing to the wrought-iron fence, a small section at a time, with your assistant helping to hold the mesh in place tightly. Use the horizontal bars on the fence when attaching your zip ties, so the mesh doesn't sag or fall down. Place the zip tie at the top of the topmost horizontal bar and wrap it around the horizontal bar and a vertical bar. Continue using zip ties to attach the mesh fencing to the topmost horizontal bar.
Stretch the mesh fencing as taut as possible, and zip tie it to the bottommost horizontal bar, just as you did with the topmost bar.
Place zip ties as tightly as possible in two or three places between the top and bottom ties, again, as tightly as possible. If there are horizontal bars in the middle, zip tie the mesh to those. If not, just make the ties as tight as possible on the vertical bars.
Tug at the mesh fencing in many different places, checking that it's as tight as possible. There should be no give at all. Pull all tie straps tightly and cut the extra length as short as possible.
Spray paint wrought iron, mesh and zip ties all the same color, using a paint made for outdoor use. If they are all the same color, the extra fencing will not be as noticeable.
- If possible, just reinforce the back yard fence, to avoid ruining the look of the front of your house.
- If your wrought-iron fence is short enough that your dog can get over it, you will need plastic or wood lattice or sturdy-gauge chain link of the proper height. In most cases, these materials will be sturdy enough not to fall or sag. If not, place U-channel metal stakes at intervals of four feet, as close to the wrought iron as possible, and strap the top of the mesh to the stakes.
- Place the mesh on the outside of the wrought iron (the side opposite where your dog will be), if your dog pulls, paws and chews to get out. If your dog tries to push its way out, then you'll need the reinforcement on the inside of the wrought iron.
- Planting a very thick hedgerow will beautify the makeshift fencing, and provide added protection and privacy.
- Bamboo shades could be used as an alternative material for a small dog if you strap them tightly to the wrought-iron.
- If the wrought-iron fence doesn't reach all the way to the ground, make sure the mesh fencing does, and reinforce it with a plywood panel or lattice on the bottom six inches or a foot.
- An electric (invisible) dog fence is an option, however, it doesn't prevent other dogs and animals coming into your yard and some dogs will run through it if there is enough temptation outside the fence. It also requires training time before you can use it. If you try it, place the invisible fence about a foot or more inside the wrought-iron fence, so children aren't shocked by touching the fence.
For Further Reading
- Dogs Deserve Better; A Humane Answer for Dogs that Climb Over Fences; Clova Abrahamson [http://www.dogsdeservebetter.org/clova.html]
- Puppy Bumpers: Keep Your Dogs on the Safe Side of the Fence [http://www.puppybumpers.net/small_dog_safety_testimonials.htm]
- Hoover Fence Company: FAQs [http://www.hooverfence.com/howto/faqindex.htm]
- Dog Owner's Guide: Please Fence Me In [http://www.canismajor.com/dog/fences.html]