Gardenhouse Keeps Pest Animals Out

When Janet Willie and her husband moved into rural Texas, they wanted to have a garden but didn't want it to become a wildlife salad bar. That's when they came up with the idea for a "gardenhouse."

The idea is surprisingly simple. Take a greenhouse frame, cover it with bird netting, and add doors. That's it.

The netting lets in the rain, sun and bees while keeping out birds, rabbits, deer and other pest animals.

One problem they discovered right away is that rabbits and other animals would chew through the nylon netting so they added a 3-ft. tall ring of metal chicken wire around the perimeter of the structure.

While they see a lot of wildlife around the gardenhouse, the Willies haven't had any problems. "We haven't seen any of them try to charge through it," says Janet.

Although the initial construction cost was somewhat high, there's no maintenance to the structure once built.

They used a 25 by 50-ft. secondhand greenhouse frame with metal pipes for added support. Two 50-ft. PVC pipes with sprinkler heads and automatic timers ensure regular waterings.

Knit black polyester game bird netting with 1-in. squares is attached to the frame with plastic cable ties.

Inside the gardenhouse, they arched 34-in. by 16-ft. hog panels across the middle pathway to act as trellises that increase the garden size dramatically for vining fruits and vegetables.

The paths around and between raised beds are covered with white cloth to keep out weeds.

Janet says they don't sell the fruits and vegetables from the gardenhouse. It's just a family garden.

She notes that any kind or size of frame could work for a gardenhouse. The main thing to remember is to keep it big enough to walk into.

"It's the best thing we've ever done," Janet says. Because of this, she's willing to offer assistance to those wanting to create their own gardenhouse.

Exerpted with permission from Countryside.