Introduction: Self Watering Garden Enclosure
Every year the deer and rabbits have harvested our garden after all of our hard work all summer so this is the year to finally solve this. The project is a Self Watering Enclosed Garden. This first instructable is primarily concerned with the garden walls and fencing. The self watering aspect is added as a bonus section. The garden walls are under 10"s tall and the fence is 6.5' tall. The garden is 16' x 24' and the total cost is under $300.00 including all the timber and hardware.
I am using reclaimed wood for the rain barrel structure.
I am using a ground water rain gauge for the water timer to turn it off while rising or when the ground is saturated.
I hope you enjoy this since it is my first one.
Step 1: Garden Timbers
We prepared to build the wall and fence by purchasing 80 Garden Timbers when they were on sale for under $2.00 a piece. They are roughly 3" x 4" x 8'.
We also purchased 1/2" x 8' rebar to be used as stakes to hold the garden wall in place on the ground.
Step 2: Level Garden Perimeter
The garden is on a slight slope so the first step is to level the perimeter to prepare for the timber wall.
Step 3: Build the Wall
The wall is built using alternating layers of timber log cabin style. Our garden is in a 2 by 3 layout ratio. The short sides are 16' and the long sides are 24'. This allowed us to have 2 8' boards on the short sides and 3 8' boards on the long sides.
Step 4: Designing the Fence
I experimented using different approaches to the issue of joining the fence rails and stiles. I started off with the idea of using mortises and tenons but realized with these timbers that would not be the best approach and instead decided on lap joints. I created a sample set to test the lap joints.
Step 5: Building the Fence
Using lap joints the fence is then bolted and screwed together using outdoor lag bolts and screws.
Step 6: Building the Gateway
The gateway adds support for the heavy gate and to the long side of the fence rails.
A was made from a piece of old galvanized corrugated sheeting.
A side shelf is both useful and adds serious support to the gateway structure.
Step 7: Attaching the Fencing
The last step was to add the 6' high fencing which has 2" x 3" openings that are stapled to the fence rails and posts. This should deter most deer from wandering inside the garden. Chicken wire was then added to the bottom 2' of the fence to keep rabbits out and was attached with both staples and twist ties from the wire that held the chicken wire together.
Step 8: Building the Gate
The gate is made using the same timbers and is very heavy so I needed to buy heavy duty hinges. The fencing and chicken wire are attached and a latch is installed.
A simple backstop to help keep the gate closed is added. The chicken wire is extended past the bottom to close off the area under the gate.
Step 9: Extra Supports and Shelves
Supports are added to the corners that double as shelves for both hanging planters and pots.
And of course a swinging owl can't hurt.
This is my first instructable and was a great project to build. But it's not over. The bonus part is a self water system to water the garden.
Step 10: Beaver Dam
Redirecting a waterway is governed by local ordinances so check with your local governing bodies before trying this next part.
I am using an 'existing' beaver dam to capture enough water for the rain barrels that then feed the garden. These are the steps I took.
Step 11: Downhill Slope
The garden is 6 feet below the water dam and about 150 feet away. This slop is necessary in using gravity to fill the rain barrels.
Step 12: Water Capture and Transport
This could be done many ways but I used some recycled pvc pipes and a used garden hose.
I wrapped chicken wire around the end of the 6" pipe and connected each section to the next smaller piece. Lastly I added a hose bib to attach the garden hose to. I ran the garden hose down the spring run to the garden area and have a low pressure source of water at the garden.
Step 13: The Rain Barrels
I collect the water in 3 recycled 55 gallon rain barrels. 165 gallons of water ready for the garden. The overflow from the last barrel runs back into the spring run. The system is always flowing and keeps the barrels full while and after using the water.
I created a 3/4" pvc manifold to gather the water into a garden hose that runs to the garden.
Step 14: The Timer and Drip Hoses
The last part is to use a low flow timer and a manifold with low flow drip hoses attached. I set the timer for twice a day for two hours each. Then weave the drip hoses through the garden for a fully automatic self watering garden.
The timer has a manual port for water needs outside of the timed intervals.
I am attaching a rain water sensor that will bypass the timer when it is raining or when the ground is saturated.
I plan on adding a sensor in the rain barrels to be able to tell when they are full and how long it takes to fill them.
That's it. I hope you enjoyed both the garden and self watering projects.