What’s Your Outdoor ‘Way of Life’ Style?  Pavilion, Pergola or Gazebo?

The trending popularity of adding an outdoor living structure to the patio, garden or backyard is born from the sincere benefits of adding a pavilion, pergola or gazebo can provide to any lifestyle.

When it comes to making a choice between a pavilion, pergola or gazebo, the amazing variety of options makes it a truly mind-boggling decision. You can choose to party hearty with an elaborate pavilion that offers flexibility in the size of the gathering and a solid ‘ceiling’ of protection from adverse weather; opt for a garden destination retreat that offers privacy from the prying eyes of neighbors with a graceful gazebo that reflects the peace and quiet of a bygone era; or channel your inner gardener and lounge in a scented wisteria or honeysuckle vined pergola.

 

 

Boundless options come with the pergola and pavilion, as size and height can be adjusted to match a roof eave to truly extend indoor/outdoor living, or simply stand alone in a solitary setting to provide an architectural focal point. The gazebo necessarily provides more privacy and the ultimate in shelter from wind, rain showers and glaring sun.

If you prefer a quieter lifestyle and would enjoy a spot to gaze at your garden, converse away from others or seek a spot to retreat to reflect on the day, then the gazebo might be your best choice. The space can easily be screened to remedy any pesky buzzing insects from upsetting your tranquil environment, and it can also be large enough to enclose the perfect dining location.

Size does matter when it comes to seating and set up of a dining space. Ideally any side of the dining table selected would be 36 inches from the side of the structure to allow for people to get up and down from the table and for folks to pass behind them to serve or pass by. Seating wise the rectangular table offers the most seating space, so if choosing a gazebo as a dining location consider how a rectangular shape will fit into the design. Figure that family seating might be comfortable at 20-24 inches apart but for formal occasions a large distance might be better. Oval tables, round tables and the most limited, square tables, are also dining space options.

 

 

Obviously with a pergola or pavilion the lack of exterior walls is blessing when it comes to sizing the seating arrangements. But it is prudent to allow enough floor space of the same floor covering that is laid under the structure to surround the table for 36 inches or more all around, to mitigate the likelihood of people tripping up or taking a bad step and falling when coming and going to the space.

While gazebos can be purchased with or without floors, (the latter requiring a 4” concrete pad be poured as a base rather than the usual simple compaction of a gravel surface that is level), the pergola or pavilion will require some sort of stone, gravel, tile, concrete other surface be laid in the interior space, rather than left as grass which will quickly become dusty at best and muddy at worst during high traffic use.

All 3 structures can be purchased as kits and assembled by a handy do-it-yourselfer or bought as kits and delivered and assembled by the manufacturer’s crew. Be careful of companies that employ 3rd parties for delivery and assembly as they may not be experienced and familiar enough with the product to do a good job of construction on site.

Smaller gazebos offer the opportunity to be shipped assembled and trucked over the road. Utilizing a company that offers its own nationwide delivery and assembly option is a great idea.

 

 

You may love to host large family and friend gatherings. Your lifestyle may include a love of cooking and an outdoor kitchen and dining space may be your dream outside living space. The addition of BBQ’s, full outdoor kitchens, hot tubs, swing sets, are all possibilities when you construct a pavilion structure. You can add shade/sun curtains and blinds for the sides, or even metal shutters to secure the space from inclement weather when not in use.

The flexibility of a pavilion means there is shelter from rain showers and the heat of the sun from above, and the area can be set up in advance with buffet style or formal dining that can accommodate larger numbers and variant numbers of people. This makes a pavilion the perfect choice for hosting family events such as weddings, graduations, birthdays and wedding anniversaries as well as holiday get togethers with neighbors and friends.

The Money Factor

The main factor in the decision of which of the 3 options to choose is the matter of cost. As you might expect, in general terms the most budget friendly is the simplest to build, the pergola. Followed by the gazebo with the pavilion option generally being the most expensive. However, there are so many options to choose from in size, style and materials (traditional wood or maintenance free vinyl, shingle or metal roofs) plus add-ons such as cupolas and weathervanes, it is easy to manipulate the price point between the three options to favor the individual’s budget.

A major consideration in the decision-making process should be the planned use of the structure. Remember to consider both your present and possible future lifestyle needs and preferences when making your selection.

Here is a quick look at the pros and cons of each structure:

Gazebo Pros 

  • Reasonably budget friendly (when ordered with floor minimal site preparation required)
  • Portable (especially useful for varietal placement within a competition jumping area)
  • Aesthetic appeal of traditional design
  • Full shade and shelter from rain
  • Can be screened to provide bug-free environment
  • Offers privacy
  • Less distraction to horses from the movements from occupants
  • Optimal 360-degree view
  • Enclosed space secures safe space for children and pets

Gazebo Cons

  • Size restriction of the enclosed space limits size of gatherings
  • Permanent concrete pad required if ordered without floor
  • Hard to keep clean of dust and dirt
  • Site must be level and well drained

Pergola Pros

  • Cost effective
  • Myriad of options regarding size and shape
  • Can be built adjacent to existing structures for ease of access
  • Offers benefit of ‘green’ living with climbing vines and scented plants
  • Can be easily combined with pavilion to extend covered space
  • Easy to keep clean
  • Minimal site preparation needed

Pergola Cons

  • Offers some shade but no protection from rain
  • Limited options on roof style
  • EZ Shade or some other blind or shade curtain may be needed to defray sun glare on sides
  • No protection from pesky bugs – may encourage nesting of wasps/hornets or other unwanted visitors
  • No protection from wind
  • Must be permanently sited
  • Lack of privacy

Pavilion Pros

  • Large choice of styles, sizes and roof shapes available
  • Superior protection from rain and sun, but not from wind.
  • Easy to add cooking fixtures/TVs/hot tubs under cover and easy to clean
  • Sides can be sealed with overhead style doors for all season weather protection and security of contents
  • Supports multiple size gatherings and pergolas can easily be added to each side for more space
  • Effective extension of living space when placed adjacent to existing building’s entry points

Pavilion Cons

  • Requires permanent siting
  • May require shades or blinds to protect interior from sun glare or driving rain
  • No protection from flying bugs or nesting insects
  • Generally considered a more expensive option than its counterparts
  • Requires careful choice of location in areas where high winds are common and/or additional engineered securing of rafters/roof to supporting members.
  • Lack of privacy

Ask A Professional

There are so many variables in the world of outdoor living structures that affect the price. It is wise to resource a professional company that offers a complete selection of all types of structures in a myriad of materials. Don’t be tempted to just buy something you see down the road. It pays dividends to explore all your options and if buying multiple structures a discount is often available.

Here are some of the important factors that Horizon Structures offers:

  • High quality builds that utilize first class materials and offer a huge variety of options
  • Clear ‘to the penny‘ written quote (not estimate), that includes set up (if not a kit) and delivery
  • Clearly written, easy to understand contracts with reasonable deposit requirements
  • A specific timeline for delivery
  • Informative website that is interactive and quickly provides options
  • Friendly customer service that addresses your concerns and offers solutions
  • No 3rd party delivery services/set up. Work with a professional entity that has ‘hands-on’ product knowledge and will both deliver and assemble on site.
  • 5 year manufacturer’s warranty
  • Good references and unedited/tamed reviews
  • Financing options

Remember it is not always the cheapest initial price you find that should dictate the decision-making process. A good quality product that is properly installed will offer better longevity, lower maintenance expenses and more enjoyment than a poorly constructed or conceived structure.

 

 

Make It Magnificent ~ Horse Barn Interior Design Tips

Interior design is not just for your outdoor living home extension or new kitchen. A horse barn can be constructed at the outset (or renovated at a later date) to offer aesthetic appeal as well as be designed for easy care and daily use.

 

 

Are the plans for your new horse barn the magnificent creation you envisioned? Did you choose to dress up the interior design of your horse barn with a hard look at hardware options for stall fronts, stable doors and dividers?

Design is about more than creating curved lines and inviting aisleways in light and airy barns. The choice of materials and their construction must be carefully weighed against budget constraints and safety issues and the ergonomics of the space must be front and center in the decision making process.

For example, selection of the right gauge high quality cold rolled steel provides the best option for both safety (due to its innate strength) and clean finish when paint or powder applications are added. The downside is its expense.

The longevity of the beautiful initial appearance should be considered when choosing the materials to be incorporated into the building. Metals should be powder coated/galvanized or otherwise protected from rust. There are choices of pre-galvanized or hot-dip galvanizing methods, powder coating and paint. Know the difference and know what you are buying.

While standard features such as grilled sliding stall doors and kick-boarded walls may come without upgrade fees, the addition of some personal design touches can make your new horse barn a true reflection of your taste and give it a unique feel.

It is a fallacy that modular and prefabricated horse barn manufacturers don’t offer all the high-end style stall fronts, metal work and full customization options that on site construction companies may offer.

Leading modular construction companies encompass a litany of customization options in hardware design and the purchaser can still enjoy the sincere advantage of a ‘to the penny’ quoted bottom line that includes both delivery and set up on a pre-ordained timeline.

In reality the majority of clientele of leading modular horse barn producers opt in for customization of some sort. Metalwork and hardware are key components when it comes to creation of a visually appealing and highly functional horse barn.

 

 

While functional and simple designs offer a ‘plain Jane’ option that is affordable, the addition of customization features can truly make the barn unique. Colors, curves and design styles that mix wood and metal can all be blended to create a special feel that individualizes the horse barn.

More Than Just A Pretty Face

Savvy shopping for horse stalls and their design requires diligent research. Stall walls and all barn doors both interior and exterior, take a lot of punishment over the years. For safety’s sake be careful that the materials and construction methods chosen for any aspect of barn building are up to the task, including the weakest points such as latches, hinges and rails.

It is also prudent to look for seamless welds including on all connection points on crosshatch and grilled framework. It is essential that wherever metal is welded together it is compatible. For example, spot welding an aluminum mesh grill or crosshatch sheet to an iron frame on a door will easily break at the weld points if a horse lands a kick on its surface. Such accidents can cause severe injury to the horse.

Stall doors in particular are prone to damage and need to do more than just present a pretty face or façade to the horse barn. Certain styles of mesh and metal materials are not suited to the abuse a 1500 pound animal can bestow upon them.

 

 

Mesh, grill or crosshatch gates designed for goats and sheep might suffice as a visual barrier but may not be of a low enough gauge metal or good enough construction method to stand up to an errant kick from a horse as noted above. Styles such as low cut front stall walls may invite equine occupants to lean, rear up over the top of attempt to jump out of the stall.

The bars on all grillwork should be safely distanced to eliminate the possibility of hooves being caught between the space and horses’ not being able to bite or nip each other through the bars. Injuries may otherwise occur such as one horse biting another horse’s tongue or a foal’s tiny hooves becoming hung between bars.

Industry standard is for bars to placed 3” on-center. This allows for a 2 ¼” gap between bars for ¾-inch grills, and 2” gap between bars for 1” grills.

 

 

Here are some custom features to consider when designing your new horse barn:

Freestanding Stalls

The self-supporting nature of a freestanding stall makes the design perfect for large width span buildings with multiple aisles or corner stalls at the ends of stall lines.

Many stall designs require the support of the posts and pillars that provide the integral strength to the framework of the building as these components offer substantial capacity to withstand undue force and bear the weight of the doors and walls.

Semi-freestanding stall designs are also available that rely on minimal structural support from framing members.

Front Wall Stall Design Options

Custom arched tops to the front stall wall can lend a European polish to the style of a freestanding stall and can include brass finials, V-Yoke doors, fold up blanket bars all made from heavy tubing.

 

 

Low cut stall fronts add even more opportunity for horses to interact with activities in the barn and facilitate great views of the stabled horses for the visitor or caregivers. Be aware that as mentioned above, these front stall walls can allow stabled equine inhabitants too much access to the aisleway in times of excitement or unruly behavior.

Front Stall Door Designs

Sliding stall doors are a popular choice for center aisle barns for good reason. Many manufacturers offer a variety of styles that can feature a wooden “X’ design, a metal “X” design and grilled front stall doors can have a v-yoke option.

V-yoke stall doors with a drop yoke invite the horse to interact more fully with his surroundings. The barn posts may be used to support the modular stall construction. The front stall wall is technically not freestanding in this case as it does require the barn posts to hold it together.

Consider adding feed corner cut-outs in the stall front grille for easy feeding that saves the time required to open and close front stall doors.

 

 

All doors should have stops and guides both top and bottom to ensure horses are not able to kick out the door and that sliding doors cannot be run off their tracks.

Substituting hinged doors for sliding doors is also an option, and may be required if you opt for a low cut front stall wall design. Ensure that the quality of the hardware and support structure used for the hinged doors have the capacity to support the weight of the door, especially if the doors are made of wood.

Dividing Walls 

The more mesh/crosshatch or grilled surfaces between horses the better the ventilation and the greater the opportunity for contact both physical and visual for the stabled horses on each side of the wall.

It is wise to consider future use of the barn may include visiting horses, sale horses or horses that simply don’t get along and intimidate each other.

 

 

To avoid mealtime stress always place feed rations on the same side of each stall to ensure maximum distance between horses when they are eating.

Quick-take down systems for dividing walls that facilitate doubling up a stall space for use for rehabilitation of a horse, for foaling out mares and for use with mares with foals at foot are also an option.

Other types of partitions such as swinging dividing walls are also sometimes available, but consider carefully how these will operate on a daily basis and how safe they will be for use around horses. If the barn is being utilized as multi-purpose for horses and livestock such as cows, goats or sheep the swinging door option can be very useful for corralling the herd when a caregiver is working alone.

Dividing walls may require additional bracing to prevent warping or damage due to leaning or rubbing on their surfaces by the equine occupant.

Exterior Door Options

Plain wood works well for both stall Dutch doors and barn entry doors but wood by its very nature can be heavy and it requires strong hardware to both hang the doors and support the swing or slide of the doors when opened. There are other options that are more user friendly.

Pressure-treated plywood coated with a panel of galvanized metal that is painted to a color preference is a budget friendly way to introduce color to the barn design.

Doors can also be made of more than one panel and have a tongue and groove beaded aluminum panel that can be made of solid wood rather than a laminate like plywood. A variety of wood choices including exotic woods from a sustainable resource are available.

 

 

The use of aluminum alloy can provide a strength equal to steel that requires no maintenance and is a lightweight option that makes the doors easy to operate.

Aluminum doors can be made in any color and offer rust and rot protection. Special hardware is required and should be included with the pre-hung doors.

Many features within the barn can be changed from the ‘usual’ specifications. Always ask if there is a cost saving involved. Changes to barn design do not necessarily cost more money. In fact, some can actually save you money. For example, removing Dutch doors from the exterior stall walls or building an entry door of wood versus having a mullioned glass window incorporated.

If your dream barn build is coming in over budget, don’t be shy to ask where you can save costs.

Door Shape Counts

Door shapes run the gamut from fancy arched entry doors to one-piece sliding entry doors and customizable window designs and panel sizing.

The addition of windows with or without mullions to entry doors provides a great deal of natural light.

Spin The Color Wheel

Most manufacturers will offer a vast array of color options but custom paint and stain choices are also often available.

Don’t be shy to add color to the interior as well as the exterior of a horse barn. Color choices made with the aid of a color wheel help mitigate the chances of making a blunder in the color choice that might be regretted later.

Look for durable finishes for all surfaces that are UV and weather resistant.

Finishing Touches ~ Details Count

Interior designers know that small details that show the property owner’s personality can add much to the enjoyment and appeal of a space.

The addition of hand-polished or lacquered brass finials to the top of posts can provide a beautiful classic touch to the horse stall.

Door latches with extra style such as horseshoe shaped handles can add a neat detail to a line of stall doors. Special twist latches and ‘Houdini’ defeating latches are also something to consider especially if the horse inhabitant of the stall will have access to the stall door latch.

Don’t forget to add a metal chew guard to any wood surface a horse may be able to reach. Gnawed wood is not only unsightly, wood can be ingested by an equine and cause colic or other health issues. Chewable wood corners also invite bad habits such as windsucking and cribbing when a stabled horse becomes stressed or bored. Most modular barn building companies include chew guard with their standard barn designs or charge a small upgrade fee to cover its installation. It is well worth having!

Bridle/halter hooks, tie hooks, fold down blanket bars, saddle racks and hay racks can all be added to improve functionality.

 

 

Take Home Message

Don’t be shy to be adventurous when it comes to color palettes and changing up stall styles when it comes to the interior design of a horse barn. Always make your selection based on safety with ergonomic design in mind as a priority.

Design the space with a keen eye to your own preferences but also to the possibility of resale of the property too.

Remember, a barn can quickly become obsolete to service the horse housing needs if some forethought doesn’t go into the design. For example, kids will outgrow ponies and suddenly a 10’ x 10’ stall with no grills and half walls may not be sufficient to safely house a full-size horse.

The stronger the color palette chosen for the barn the higher the likelihood you may tire of the color. Light and dark colors affect the light, feeling of space and atmosphere within the barn significantly. It is well worth reading up on the topic for both interior and exterior color selection.

 

 

Your Horse Deserves a Room with A View

No horse owner wants to enter a dark and dreary horse barn to visit their equine partner and work around their beloved beast. Horses are often reluctant to walk into a dark barn too. They become suspicious of what they cannot see and are reliant on their sense of smell to detect danger in the form of predators. Our four-footed friends’ instincts used to preserve their lives in the wild.

 

 

Did you know horses eyesight is poor when it comes to transitioning between bright light and poor light? Unlike our eyes their vision takes a long time to adjust to significant changes in light. It can take as long as 30 minutes to an hour for the horse to regain his full vision when moving from light to dark environments. This equine visual impediment is why event horses galloping into a shaded forest area to jump an obstacle will have trouble determining distances to the fence or its height. Mounted hunter/jumper riders in the know, collect inside indoor facilities when riding in from outside to compete rather than wait outside if possible, to facilitate their horses having time to adjust to the change in light and see the fences.

In the domesticated horse’s modern lifestyle, a light airy barn makes much sense. The addition of a window to each stall in a horse barn offers your equine partner a room with a view. The benefits of including windows in horse barn design go beyond keeping your horse mentally occupied with the opportunity to see what is going on outside the barn.

Windows provide natural light that can save on lighting costs and kill harmful bacteria within the stall. They also offer a valuable resource for passive airflow that can keep horses cooler in hot temperatures and dish up plenty of fresh air to improve the air quality for the horse’s respiratory health.

Fresh air everywhere, can of course be provided by specific horse barn designs such as shedrow barns, a style favored for advanced level performance horses by their astute competitive riders.

Dutch doors that open to the exterior of the horse barn can also improve the quality of life for the stabled horse for some of the same reasons a window offers. Run-in sheds can also incorporate windows in the back wall to improve ventilation and increase light within the interior.

Windows Are a Vital Component of Building Design

Windows also add an aesthetic appeal to the view of the exterior of the horse barn. They can be decorated with window boxes for added color and personal style. Certain herbs can even be planted in window boxes to deter insect activity and provide desirable scents/smells during late evening and early morning hours.

In high profile barns where a loft space is added, windows can be architecturally significant. For example, Palladian style windows (3 segmented arched windows often called a Venetian or Serlian window) placed at the second story level in the gable ends of the structure, can enhance the appearance of the building in addition to providing a valuable light and air resource.

 

 

The practice of decorating buildings with windows dates back many centuries. The relief provided from an open space in a wall is shown in drawings as far back in time as in the reliefs in Assyria, Egypt.

Today either translucent plastic or glass, the latter often in 2/3 layers for extra insulation is most common as a cover to the open window space, but in times gone by matting, mica and paper was used.

Windows have long been recognized as an important component of construction for the health of a structure’s occupants. The 1746 British glass tax was a hefty 300% excise tax placed on the value of the glass based on how it was then sold, by its weight. This meant only the wealthy could afford glass windows. Theoretically, the more glass a building displayed the wealthier its owners were deemed to be so large windows quickly established themselves as a ‘must have’ in houses commissioned for construction by the populace in the upper echelons of society. Hence the inclusion of glass conservatories and greenhouses in house construction was prestigious in architectural design during the Victorian era.

Sadly, until the tax was abolished in 1845, the use of glass in cities for low-income housing was limited. The British medical journal The Lancet, even noted the absence of glass in city housing had a deleterious effect on the populations’ health.

The deficiency of light in town habitations, in a great measure caused by the enormous cost of glass, is universally admitted to be one of the principal causes of the unhealthiness of cities.”

Thankfully glass tax is not a current issue so window size can be designed for horse barns without consideration for excessive taxation.

The inclusion of a window in each stall is standard when purchasing a modular or prefabricated horse barn, but special window styles or sizing may require an upgrade. On site pole and stick built construction firms may charge extra for each window so be certain to ascertain these extra costs before retaining a construction company for a horse barn build.

What Window Style Works Best in Horse Barns?

Common window styles such as single or double hung windows are not well designed for horse barns. These styles are difficult to open when located behind a grill and are better left to house design rather than horse barn design.

The ideal horse barn window will be easy to open and to clean.

For this reason, picture windows or transom style windows are not favored for use within a stall. Their benefits are that both styles offer a lot of light. Transom windows in particular can provide a lot of natural light when placed along exterior walls of the barn 10’ or more above the height of the stalls in high sided buildings.

However, like any window transoms can quickly become unsightly if not regularly cleaned. If placed high in a building the use of a ladder or long pole window-cleaning product will be required for the task. As vacuums are often used to clean stall windows before glass cleaning begins, high window options should be carefully evaluated.

Skylights above a stall can provide an exceptional quantity of light to the interior of the barn. These must be carefully installed to prevent leaks. Certain manufacturers offer ‘no clean’ glass treatments and provision to open the skylights. The closing and opening of skylights can be an onerous chore.

 

 

Within the stall a simple slider window design is a good option. It offers excellent access and is easy to clean with its large area surfaces unimpeded by metal or mullions. The disadvantage is that this style of window must be carefully managed to prevent drafts during winter months, or wind, water and snow entering the stall space during stormy weather.

The jalousie style window offers good ventilation. Airflow can be easily adjusted, and they can be left open during wet weather without the worry of water entering the stall. Additionally, the jalousie style window can also block direct sunlight from entering in the interior space.

However, jalousies offer poor security. The large glass slats are easily removed from the exterior side and are laborious to clean.

Another factor to consider in the choice of window is that of the effects of wind. Casement and awning style windows that open to the exterior of the building with a latch system are prone to damage from high winds and are generally not suitable for horse barn stalls. These styles of windows can also extrude from the exterior wall of the building and pose a hazard to passing equipment, horses and humans.

The Humble Window

The humble window offers a secure method for providing fresh air when the barn is closed for the night especially during cold weather. Grills or bars should obviously be fixed to the interior side of stall windows to protect the glass from damage/breakage occurring as a result of a horse’s antics. Ideally grills or bars should be placed 4” or more from the surface of the glass to safeguard its integrity.

 

 

Grills should be substantially constructed and if made of a type of metal prone to moisture damage it should be treated to prevent deterioration from rust.

Remember to consider how windows will be cleaned from the inside when the bars or grills are installed. While it is essential the grills are secure it is also important that they can be easily removed to facilitate cleaning of the glass and removal of the inevitable detritus of dead flies/cobwebs that will accumulate. A spring action lever that allows the entire grill to be dropped down works well. Don’t forget to screen the windows to help prevent the ingress of pesky flies and biting insects.

The interior framing in which a window is installed offers the perfect dining-in option for a bored horse with their 90-degree angle surfaces. The best option to prevent unsightly and possible harmful repercussions to the horse from chewing of the wood or plastic framework of the window is to install metal edging.

Keep Size and Style Selection in Perspective

The size of the stall window must be viewed from both the interior and exterior perspective. Proportionate size windows are essential to the aesthetic of the horse barn.

The windows should generally not be so large to present as a window wall due to the dangers this might present to a 1500-pound horse stabled inside the stall domain. Specially engineered window walled stalls do exist in high-end designer barns and are occasionally constructed in elite yards. The practicality of large glass windows in horse barn construction is generally beyond the budget of most horse owners even if it was desired.

 

 

Whatever size window is chosen, the window should be large enough for horse to enjoy the view. Tiny windows will not only look silly they will also serve little purpose.

Window placement at the eye height of the intended equine inhabitant when standing is common practice. Specially designed ‘diddy’ barns for minis, mules, donkeys, goats or other smaller livestock can similarly be constructed with windows at anticipated eye level for the animals housed within the confines of the structure.

Don’t forget at whatever height the windows are installed cleaning them will be a regular ritual. It is also useful though not essential, for the human caregiver to also be able to see out of the window when working in the stall to assess activity outside the barn.

How to Safely Rodent-Proof Your Dog’s Outdoor Kennel

Image from Pixabay

Whether you have an outdoor kennel for your dog, are managing a boarding or training facility or just have an outdoor area for your pet, when you have animals outside—rodents tend to be an issue. While many people think of mice and rats as a problem for dirty on unkempt spaces only, rodents can actually be a problem in any outdoor space, even clean and safe ones.

Simply put, when you have pets, animal feces and food outdoors, it is going to attract rodents. While your pets may not be particularly phased by these critters or may even try to catch the rodents they find wandering around your property, it doesn’t mean they are safe.

Plus, pests like this can carry a number of diseases that aren’t good for dogs and may cause some serious health issues. Mice and rats also cause an estimated $20 billion in property and agricultural damages every year. They can not only cause disease and consume food, but they can chew through and destroy property as well.

Mice in particular are also great multipliers; these critters can survive and reproduce in temperatures as low as 24 degrees if they have a nesting space and food. Plus, a single mouse couple can create more than 15,000 offspring. This means, even if you think you only see a mouse or two in your outdoor kennels, it won’t take long for those two mice to turn into a serious problem.

Why Do Outdoor Dog Kennels Attract Rodents?

Image from Pixabay

Dog food is the primary reasons hungry rodents find their way into dog kennels. Rats specifically known for devouring dog food when you aren’t looking. The average rat can eat up to 61 pounds of dog food per year. That not only takes away from your canine companion but can result in a lot of wasted money every year.

In addition to food, dog droppings are also a big attractant for these pests. Add this to the fact that kennels provide warmth and protection from the elements, and it is easy to see why many outdoor kennels can be a living (and breeding) hub for mice and rats.

At the end of the day, your dog’s outdoor kennel can seem like a free luxury resort for mice and rats and they won’t take kindly to getting the boot. This is why you need a safe and effective plan to get your unwanted rodents to leave your dog’s kennel in a way that is bad for the rodents but won’t harm your dog. And unfortunately, this can be easier said than done.

This is why we have complied a list of some of the best tips to keeping your dog’s outdoor kennel safe, healthy and rodent-free.

How To Keep Your Dog’s Kennel Rodent-Free

Whether you suspect you have a rodent problem or know for sure that you are trying to evacuate your dog’s kennel from unwanted mice and rats—having a plan is paramount. Here are some of the best ways to safeguard your dog’s kennel shed from harmful rats.

1. Keep An Eye On Popular Nesting Areas

Image from Pixabay

When rats and mice infiltrate your dog’s kennel area, they are looking for two things: food and a place to nest. Rodents will move on when food runs out, but nesting space is what gets them to stay and multiply.

You should always be on the lookout for areas that serve as nesting spots for rodents, and thoroughly check your outdoor kennel for holes, covered, warm dark places, crawl spaces and other areas where rodents can nest and stay protected. Holes and large cracks should be fixed and filled, and the kennel should be thoroughly clean and inspected regularly.

Meters and electric panels are also popular nesting sites for rodents, so if you have any outdoors or nearby your dog’s kennel, make sure they are thoroughly investigated for possible rodent infestations.

2. Pay Close Attention to Utility Lines

Did you know that utility lines are actually a popular way for rodents to get from place to place? You may have sealed off all of the ground entrances to your dog’s kennel, but rodents are great climbers and have sharp claws that allow them to run along ropes, poles and electric wires.

When sealing your dog’s kennel or treating possible points of entry, do not forget to look up to the sky and see if your rodents may be coming in from the roof.

3. Keep The Kennel Clean

Cleaning your dog’s kennel regularly is one of the best methods for preventing rodent issues. Dog feces are a huge draw for rats and mice and is seen as a food source for them. So, keeping your dog’s droppings cleaned up is a great place to start.

Also keeping any spilled food or treats will help keep things clean and give rodents fewer reasons to burrow their way into your dog’s space.

4. Protect Your Pet’s Food

Image from Pixabay

Your dog’s food is typically the number one reason that rats and mice find their way into your dog’s kennel in the first place. If you store your dog’s food outside, make sure that it is in an airtight container. Do not leave your dog’s food out for open feeding. Feed your dog at a certain time of day and then remove the food when you are done.

Make sure to quickly clean up your dog’s feeding area when they are done as well. Less food means less temptation for unwanted rodents.

5. Try Dog-Safe Rodent Treatments

When it comes to keeping kennels rodent-free, prevention is only half the battle. This is especially true if you’ve seen active rodents scurrying around your dog’s kennel. You never want to use any type of rat poison around your dog’s kennel as it can lead to secondary pet poisoning.

Rodenticides are some of the most common reasons for dog poisoning cases. Your dog may not only ingest the pesticide itself, but it can get in the grass around the area, or your dog may eat the deceased rodent and ingest the pesticide in that way.

The best solution is to use an outdoor bait and trap rat trap. These non-toxic traps will lure rodents in via a small hole that is too small for a dog, and trap them inside. This type of “live trap” is safer than sticky or snap traps when you are using it outdoors or around pets.

6. Invest in the Right Kennel

Mice and rats are going to do everything that they can to get into a warm and well-protected kennel. However, if you have the right quality kennel to begin with, the chances of you having a rodent problem will become significantly lower.

A high-quality outdoor shed made with premium materials and that isn’t filled with holes, cracks or crevices that welcome rodents in, is one of the best ways for you to keep your dog safe and keep rodents out of the way.

Here at Horizon Structures, we know that your first and best line of defense when it comes to unwanted pests is a quality structure that will safely and naturally keep rodents out. This is why we put so much attention to detail into our kennels and outdoor sheds so that you and your canine companions can stay as safe as possible under our watch.