We love our pets and outdoor areas, but the two don’t often mix.
Unsupervised pets may dig, roll, trample or chew, damaging your flowers, vegies and landscaping. They can also disturb the native wildlife and gnaw and scratch fences and furniture.
When left to their own devices in the yard, our animal friends can also be at risk of being poisoned by toxic plants or pesticides, getting injured on sharp objects, or taking off and getting lost or worse.
There are also the pests that slither, scurry or jump into your yard unwanted, putting both your garden and critters at risk.
Luckily, there’s a simple DIY solution: pet mesh enclosures and mesh fencing.
Picking the right mesh product
Pet mesh and fencing are a budget-friendly and simple way to keep your pets safe and your garden intact.
They come in a wide range of sizes, strengths and finishes to suit your outdoor space and species—from ready-to-set-up enclosures with gaps small enough to keep pocket pets to tall fencing strong enough to block big dogs.
Whatever type of furry or feathered friends you have, Jack’s here to make it easy to pick and install the right mesh product. Just pick your critter below.
Enclosures for smaller animals, birds and pocket pets
Cats: Nature’s hunter and roamer
While we may love our feline companions, their natural instincts can wreak havoc outdoors. From killing native birds to pooping in your vegie patch and digging up or lying in your garden beds, they’re often up to mischief.
Cats also like to wander off (often to hunt or for a second dinner at a neighbour’s house!). This can lead to sleepless nights for you and the risk of them running into a car on the road.
These are some of the main reasons many people keep their cats indoors. But, with an outdoor mesh cat enclosure, also known as catios (cat patio), you can allow them some worry-free fresh air.
Making an outdoor cat mesh enclosure (catios)
What you’ll need: Jack Cage Mesh, wood or PVC pipe, screws, nails or ties, tools including wire cutters
Design your catios – Work out what shape and size based on the space and your cat’s needs. We recommend at least 2 metres square and 2.5 metres tall.
Build the frame – Cut the wood or PVC pipe to create a frame structure.
Attach the mesh – Snip the cage mesh to the right size with wire cutters to cover the frame and fix it with screws or ties.
Install the extras – Add a latch door, shelves, platforms, shaded areas and enrichment features like scratching posts and hanging toys.
Secure it in place – Install your catios in a secure area, ensuring it’s stable and can’t easily tip over.
Birds: Our fly (or strut) - away friends
While caging our feathered friends, whether budgies, parrots, quails or chooks, isn’t what nature intended, creating a secure environment to protect them from flying or strutting off into harm’s way is essential.
Keeping them in aviary or cage mesh also protects them from all sorts of predators, from eagles and cats to snakes, possums and other birds. Plus, it can keep them safe from diseases and the natural elements.
Birds and chickens can also make a lot of mess in your yard, roosting in unwanted spots, pecking at lawns, gardens and vegies and leaving a trail of dirty droppings wherever they go. Goodbye, loving your outdoors!
Making an outdoor aviary or chicken coop
What you’ll need: Aviary or Cage Mesh, wood or metal, screws or nails, tools, including wire cutters
Design your enclosure – Consider how many birds you’ll be housing and base your measurements on their needs. Google for specific species.
Build the frame – Cut the wood or metal to size and fix it together. Don’t forget the roof!
Attach the mesh – Unroll the aviary or cage mesh and attach it to the frame with screws, nails or ties. Make sure you pull the mesh taut and secure it on all sides.
Install the extras – Add a hinged door, perches, branches and other hiding spots. Chickens also need a house or shelter.
Secure it in place – Ensure the aviary or coop is securely anchored to the ground and check for gaps or loose edges.
Rabbits and guinea pigs: Little garden gobblers
Yards can be a scary place for pet rabbits and guinea pigs for many reasons, from predators, including birds, foxes and cats, to toxic plants, pesticides, sharp objects and getting stuck in small spaces.
From a garden lover’s perspective, rabbits and guinea pigs are natural grazers and may nibble on plants, flowers, and vegies. Rabbits, in particular, also love to dig and burrow. Plus, they enjoy a good nibble on fences and furniture.
Then there’s their toileting habits! While rabbit and guinea pig droppings can act as natural fertilisers, too many pellets can imbalance soil nutrients. Plus, guinea pig wee is very high in ammonia and can hurt some plants if not diluted.
Making an outdoor pocket pet run
What you’ll need: Mouse Mesh, wood or PVC pipe, screws, nails or ties, tools, including wire cutters
Design your pet home – Think about how much space your pets need. As a guide, a single small rabbit needs a minimum of 1.5 square meters, while a pair of guinea pigs needs a minimum of 1 square metre. But the more space, the better.
Build the frame – Cut the wood or PVC piping to size and fix it together. A triangle or rectangle shape works well.
Attach the mesh – Unroll the mouse mesh and cut it to fit the frame using wire cutters, then attach it to the frame using screws, nails or ties.
Add any extras – Add a hinged door, a shaded area for sun and weather protection, plus toys, tunnels and hiding spots.
Don’t leave them alone – Keep an eye on them when they’re in their pen for safety.
Fencing and boundaries for dogs and pests
Dogs: our playful furry companions
Dogs love the outdoors, and the yard is their playground. From chasing balls and butterflies to playing fetch and having the evening zoomies, they’re often full of energy and mischief, especially when they’re puppies.
But while we don’t want to stop the fun, these canine escapades can trash your lawns, garden beds and vegie gardens. If your dog’s a digger, you can end up with dirt and holes everywhere. If they’re a chewer, your furniture could be in trouble. Then, of course, there are the landmines they leave dotted around!
And, like the other pets, the garden can also be a risky place, with toxic plants, sharp objects and the possibility of escape. Luckily, dog boundary fencing is a great way to keep your furry friend safe and out of trouble.
Making a dog-proof mesh fence
What you’ll need: Steel posts, tools, including wire cutters, wire clips, spirit level
Get planning – Think about where you want to put your mesh dog fence. Work out the dimensions and how much mesh you’ll need.
Add corner posts – Put posts at the ends of corners of the area you want to fence, then bash and secure them into the ground.
Add more posts – Place posts along the straight section of the fence at intervals of approx. 2-3 metres and bash into the ground. Use a level to check they’re straight.
Attach the mesh – Unroll the mesh along the inside of the posts and cut to size. Then, use wire clips to attach the mesh to the top and bottom of the posts, keeping it taut.
Trim and tidy up – Trim any excess mesh using wire cutters and inspect your fence to ensure it’s free of sharp edges.
Pests: Keeping rats, rabbits and more out
As well as keeping your pets safe and contained, you can also use mesh fencing to keep unwanted garden pests out. From mice to rats, rabbits, possums and even deer and kangaroo, many species can damage your outdoors.
Rabbits will gnaw on your plants, possums will eat your fruit, flowers and young shoots, and mice and rats can not only eat your plants and vegies but can spread disease, chew through your hoses and pipes and tunnel and nest, causing chaos.
There are also pests that can cause harm to you and your pets, including snakes and foxes. While larger animal pests can be kept out with a standard cage and dog mesh, the smaller ones, will need something more specialist.
Pest-proofing your outdoor areas
What you’ll need: tools, including wire cutters, wire clips or screws
Identity pest risks – Look around your yard and identify areas that might attract pests. Examples include vegie gardens, the base of young trees and plants, compost bins, fruit trees, sheds and greenhouses, chicken coops and aviaries.
Add your mesh – How you use your mesh will depend on what you’re protecting. Small gaps and openings can be covered, coops and aviaries can be fitted with a small mesh base, while a tree or garden bed could require a mouse mesh fence.
Time to get in the garden and get meshy
When it comes to protecting your critters and gardens, meshing, including dog mesh, cat mesh and everything in between, is effective, versatile and budget-friendly.
One final handy Jack tip: We highly recommend you treat all wire before installing it to protect your pets. This means shaving off any zinc spikes with a utility knife, scrubbing with a mild vinegar solution, and rinsing with clean water.
Ready to get meshy? Simply head to your nearest local supplier or hardware retailer to pick up your meshing and other supplies and get your pet or pest project started.
Made an amazing pet mesh enclosure or fence for your yard? Why not share it on socials and tag @meetdiyjack?
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