I now have lovely hurdles, made from ash and hazel which was sourced free from trees in a friend’s garden. It was time for the trees to be coppiced anyway so they got a helping hand and the wood was brought back to make hurdles to keep the dog off the vegetable garden! Hurdles usually cost between £30 and £60 per panel and I have four. However, apart from a bit of time to put them together, mine were free! I got the idea from visiting the Weald and Downland museum. They were pretty easy to make, and although they are not perfect, they do the job very well!
How to make hurdles
Gather enough lengths of green wood (green wood is freshly cut and is quite bendy) for the horizontals and some good sturdy pieces for the vertical posts. We only wanted our hurdles to be about 3 feet high as a deterrent to the dog. I didn’t want them to be too solid as I still want the sun to come through and shine on the veg that will grow there.
Using a hatchet carefully trim the a point on the posts and bash them into the ground. We used five uprights per panel. You’ll probably only want to make the panels quite small, otherwise I think they could be too unwieldy, and its harder to get lots of longer straight pieces.
Alternate a couple of nice thick lengths and some thinner length and thread them in and out of the uprights. Push them down so that your hurdle grows from the bottom up. The more horizontal pieces you use, the sturdier the hurdle will become.
You can stop when your hurdle is sturdy enough, or you just like the look of it, and trim any extra height off the upright posts if you need to.
As the wood dries out it will become much stiffer, which will make your hurdle even stronger. From time to time I’m guessing we may need to replace some of the thinner pieces but we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it.
One of the hurdles had to be movable, like a gate, so I can get in and out of the veg patch. As this one obviously wasn’t going to be held on the ground we decided to square lash the four corners to make a rigid rectangle shape. By the way, I learnt square lashing quite some years ago, when I was in the Girl Guides and I never forgot how to do it – its so easy and a handy skill to have. We then carried on as above, except by this point we were running out of wood so this one is a lot more ‘see-through’. It’s ok – as long as the dog can’t squeeze through I don’t mind. I quite like that rustic look anyway.
I now have a dog-proof vegetable patch (but still need to remove the buddleia and the conifer….)
£0! And to be honest, I don’t think it took much more time than it would have taken to drive to a DIY place, choose and buy the fences and then erect it and tie it together. Plus it was a lot of fun, very satisfying, and I love the look of it. No modern fences for me if I have a choice!
Next thing on my list is to make a dog poo composter. Watch this space!