Building 16’ of outdoor enclosures

snitz427

Chameleon Enthusiast
Getting started on another outdoor enclosure, but this time I am going to builder larger runs to subdivide, rather than individual setups. I gated in my veggie garden, and we are going to build 2 8x2x6’ (maybe 7’) enclosures along the left wall. They’ll be subdivided into 3 4’ wide enclosures and 2 2’ wide. You can see my individual one to the right, which is for Penelope who has suspected Papilloma Virus, as well other reoccurring health issues. So she gets her own a distance away from the others, and is living outside all summer long for natural uvb.

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Tomorrow we’ll start building the frame out of pressure treated 2x4s. We went back and forth on what size boards to use, but 2x4 framing should be fine. The chams wont likely be climbing the wood so I am not worried about pressure treated. My beds are untreated cedar, but cedar planks are expensive and hard to find right now. Cedar isnt great for an indoor or small enclosure but fine for outside. Its what I used on the free standing one. After a week or two outside the cedar ages and the oils and scent fade. With good trees and branches the chams dont really climb the walls.

Lowe’s had shade trees on sale for 75% off. I snagged 6 red oaks for $8.50 each! They will need regular pruning, which is no prob, and they are hardy to my zone 7… so no more bringing plants indoors on fall. Another perk is that the oaks will drop their leaves in fall, creating natural mulch and fertilizer for future years. Self sustaining!

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(Cut once measure twice, but who has the time? Just shove it in the trunk!)
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crosscutts

Avid Member
Very sweet , i’m getting ready myself to build some exterior enclosures . But we’ve been hitting well over 100 .. I can only leave them out for a few hours in the morning .. but I love the garden idea Maybe I’ll invade the wife’s garden and greenhouse .. or maybe not 🤣🤣🤣
 

jamest0o0

Chameleon Enthusiast
Looks awesome, can’t wait to see the finished product! How do you keep the birds and squirrels and everything else from feasting on your garden? You’ve seen mine and even totally screened in the chipmunks/squirrels get in 😭(one made the same mistake running into our house when we opened the door, but Lenny made short work of it)
 

snitz427

Chameleon Enthusiast
Looks awesome, can’t wait to see the finished product! How do you keep the birds and squirrels and everything else from feasting on your garden? You’ve seen mine and even totally screened in the chipmunks/squirrels get in 😭(one made the same mistake running into our house when we opened the door, but Lenny made short work of it)

The squirrels have ‘t been too bad this year, but I did put the garden in super late, so not much to harvest yet. Our biggest pest is ground hogs, which is why I fenced it in this year. They would mow down my plants before they had a chance to set fruit/veggies. *shakes fist*

Chipmonks are tough - they are smart little dudes!
 

jamest0o0

Chameleon Enthusiast
The squirrels have ‘t been too bad this year, but I did put the garden in super late, so not much to harvest yet. Our biggest pest is ground hogs, which is why I fenced it in this year. They would mow down my plants before they had a chance to set fruit/veggies. *shakes fist*

Chipmonks are tough - they are smart little dudes!
Luckily we haven’t had any groundhog problems, but the chipmunks are crazy here. They will run right up to my feet. The one would always come in the house when we opened the door(we didn’t purposely let it in lol), but that turned out to be his doom.
 

snitz427

Chameleon Enthusiast
The general plan… is to build two of these and but them against each other. For one, we will further subdivide one of the 4’ sections to create 2qty of 2x2’ sections for 2 of my girls. The other three 4x2’ sections will be dedicated to the boys, plus my female C.P. Cristifer, with the ability to expand or divide down the road.

The dimensions are estimates - once we got started we modified them a little to fit the exact space available. We plan to cap off the boxes with cedar fascia at some point, so we needed a little wiggle room on each end. Our actual dimensions are 7’10” x 24” by appx 7’ tall. Two mated together to make a (nearly) 16’ row.

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Don’t tell my old tech ed teacher how rough my technical drawing is!
 

snitz427

Chameleon Enthusiast
We started with building the top and bottom frames. We omitted the three braces and wrote them off as overkill. They’d also get in the way of planting the trees.

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Don’t tell John, but I don’t like the corners without braces - so I’ll be adding some basic L brackets when he isn’t looking!

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Cut twice and measure once. Something like that. I’m not allowed to use the saw. :unsure:

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One framed!

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Two (mostly) framed. Got rained out.

Tomorrow we may finish the framing and start on the doors. Gonna be hot, so maybe not. Tuesday the coated wire mesh arrives, so we can start screening it in! Looks amazing so far, very happy with our progress this afternoon.
 

snitz427

Chameleon Enthusiast
Unfortunately, I had to take a few weeks off between work, a sick Chamaeleon, and a heat wave. But we are back at it this weekend! Today we started screening one of the enclosures with quarter inch vinyl coated wire mesh. We still have to do the sides and doors tomorrow.

(I know my lawn is whack… Too much rain and a heat wave this week!)
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The staple gun is worth it’s weight in gold. The project went so much faster, and without hand cramps like the manual staplers! I bought it specifically for this project, but know that we will get plenty of use out of it around the house.
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It is still surprisingly difficult to find lumber. Today we headed back to the hardware store to get a few more two by fours, as well as treated two by twos. No 2x2x8 to be found so I had to buy deck banisters in odd lengths. A little more costly but its all we could find (for the doors). The wire mesh came from Amazon on a 100’ roll. Its add substantial weight to the enclosures… gonna be fun trying to hoist them back into place. o_O
 

snitz427

Chameleon Enthusiast
Interestingly… the 1/4” wire mesh cuts down about 2 UVI. Will have to do more testing to see what percentage in various conditions.

I was planning to hang shade cloth across the top, but now I think I will only cover 1/3rd. It will give additional shade but give them more of a choice to bask or retreat. This has worked well for Penne, who tends to go lower and deeper into the foliage for shade, and then wanders out onto the sunny branches in the cooler parts of the day (where UVI is lower, too.). Covering the whole top leaves a pretty limited window for direct sunlight, which is even more limited by my trees, neighboring cages, etc. Fall, Winter, and Spring also have less sun and at less direct angles. So I prefer the chams use their trees, primarily, for shade. The strip of shade cloth will just give additional cover.

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