Garden Dog House Part 2: The Design

Continued from Garden Dog House Part 1: The Idea

We had the idea for how the dog house was going to fit into the garden and the wonderful ways that it would benefit both the dogs and the garden, so the next step was to design it. When I am creating anything (from recipes, crocheting patterns, to almost anything), my first instinct is to search the web for designs, ideas, and guidelines. While I got a lot of ideas from the dog house designs other people had made (dog house design at Lowes and Open air dog house design), I knew that our special house would need its own plan. We knew we wanted there to be a lot of air circulation (like the open air dog house) for the benefit of both the dogs and the plants that would be growing next to it. So having slats or rails like the open air dog house design seemed reasonable – close enough together so the dogs heads couldn’t fit between them and eat the plants (which they tend to do if bored), but far enough apart that they could catch a nice breeze. We also wanted there to be enough room for both of the dogs inside or outside of the house when they are on their leashes, so there was not need for a door.

At first, we weren’t sure what material to make the roof out of. Using the design by Lowes we started thinking of using a sheet of plywood siding and put it at a slight angle so that rainwater would drain off of it. As I was looking at what sort of materials to make the slats on the side of the dog house, I stumbled upon a sheet of lattice that would be the perfect size for topping the doghouse. While the dogs won’t get too much protection from the rain, the hope is that they will stay even cooler with even more air circulation and enough shade from the lattice and plants that will be growing on top of it. Not to mention it fits a bit better in the budget. We were trying to design something that wasn’t incredibly expensive, but for some reason I decided the dog house needed to be quite large (4’x6′) so the costs definitely added up (and of course went over budget like most projects).

After looking online for different types of lumber and materials that we could potentially use for the dog house, I wanted to put the plan down on paper to really see how the pieces were going to fit together. My drawing skills are pretty good, so I started out making 3D sketches by hand. I was tempted to get out my ruler and to really be precise, but then I realized to get a really good idea of the design, I would have to draw it from several angles. This seemed like a fairly time-intensive task, so I started to assess other options. Being a computer scientist, I find it very easy to learn new software and whenever I am looking for design tools, I like to check out what sort of free software is available. I took a graphics course last semester, and have spent enough time gaming to be familiar with navigating 3D space, so when I started using the SketchUp software, it didn’t take me too long to catch on. It was very cool to be able to find and load in different objects like the 4ft x 6ft lattice and dynamic 2×4 objects. Before long (and really I spent more time on it that I should have), I had come up with this design:


The estimated lumber::

4  –   .25″ x 1.25″ x 8′ Pressure Treated Fill-It-Strips (Use for repairing old lattice) cut into 12 – 32″ pieces

3  –  2″ x 4″ x 12′ Pressure Treated Lumber  – cut into 2 – 6′ pieces and 3 – 4′ pieces

1 – 2″ x 4″ x 16′ Pressure Treated Lumber – cut into 1 – 4′ piece and 4 – 32″ pieces

1 – .25″ x 4′ x 8′ Pressure Treated Wooden Lattice

I knew we would need screws of some sort, but we ended up deciding that we would just have to look around at the store and see what would fit best. My goal was to stick to around $50. Even now, it kind of makes me laugh a little that we spent so much for the dogs to be comfy at the garden, when I probably didn’t spend more than that on all of my other gardening stuff combined. Oh well. I reasoned with myself that the money would come from the concert tickets that I really wanted to buy, but “sacrificed” for the dogs and the garden. Not to mention, it will last for all other seasons at the garden, and then afterwards we can deconstruct it and make something else out of it or try and sell the lumber off when we move. (This is all positive thinking really, we will probably be moving in a couple years and will leave it next to the trash for others to find and make something useful out of – something I do all the time).

The plans changed slightly at the store. Instead of the 4ft x 6ft lattice, we purchased two 2ft x 6ft pieces and added the beam on the top. This made it a lot more sturdy (better to hold the squash up with), and also allowed it to fit into the back of Andrew’s Subaru Impreza. We had the lumber cut by home depot in the store, which made it all pretty easy to put together. Here was our final lumber list:

4   –  .25″ x 1.25″ x 8′ Pressure Treated Fill-It-Strips (Use for repairing old lattice) cut into 12 – 32″ pieces

1   –  2″ x 4″ x 8′ Pressure Treated Lumber  – uncut

2   –  2″ x 4″ x 12′ Pressure Treated Lumber  – cut into 2 – 6′ pieces, 3 – 4′ pieces

2   –  2″ x 4″ x 16′ Pressure Treated Lumber – cut into  2 – 8′ pieces, 1 – 4′ piece and 4 – 32″ pieces (the leftover piece turned out to be very handy to have during the construction.)

2   –  .25″ x 2′ x 8′ Pressure Treated Wooden Lattice

We used 2 1/2″ Exterior Screws to fasten together the 2x4s (we bought a pound, but only used half the box) and then 1″ construction screws for screwing the lattice into the lumber (a box of 40 was enough).

Below was our finalized plan:

Screen Shot 2014-05-06 at 6.01.21 PMScreen Shot 2014-05-06 at 6.01.15 PM

It definitely cost us! $68.00 for our multipurpose doghouse trellis, but with all the time we spend at the garden, it has and will be priceless to be able to keep those puppies cool!

Next: Garden Dog House Part 3: The Build


2 responses to “Garden Dog House Part 2: The Design

  1. Pingback: Garden Dog House Part 1: The Idea | Bark, Eat, Grow·

  2. Pingback: Garden Dog House Part 3: The Build | Bark, Eat, Grow·

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