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Build a basic garden box to keep the pests out

Raccoons are tough to keep out of a garden once they decide to raid it.If you don&rsquo;t have a dog, can&rsquo;t be bothered spraying your crops withsoapy water or cayenne pepper or are too grossed out to &ldquo;mark yourterritory,&rdquo; you might<br />want to try building a raccoon resistant garden box.

Raccoons are tough to keep out of a garden once they decide to raid it. If you don’t have a dog, can’t be bothered spraying your crops with soapy water or cayenne pepper or are too grossed out to “mark your territory,” you might

want to try building a raccoon resistant garden box.

Make sure to wear safety gear, check your local building codes and remember this design is not the work of an expert, just a reporter kind of making it up as he went along. Also keep in mind the project is fairly basic and you

can alter the dimensions to suit your needs.

You need to construct a garden box using wide 2x6 (or wider if you want) cedar planks. A 2x4 or a 4x4 cedar post in each corner secures the planks. Posts are expensive so I used 2x4s. I cut the 2x4’s to 8 inches leaving me 4 inches to secure the 2x2s that formed the upright parts of the cage frame that I put on top of the garden box. In retrospect it would be simpler to just use longer pieces of 2x4 and not bother with 2x2s. As gardening expert Ed Lawrence told me, “Raccons can get up to be about 50 pounds and they’re strong little buggers. It needs to be very well secured.”

I connected the upright 2x2s with more 2x2s along the top, covered three sides and the roof with mesh and then constructed wooden frame doors with mesh fronts with a latch at the top and the bottom. It sounds easy. It isn’t. It took me eight hours working by myself and it cost almost $217 in materials. The simplest way I can explain the doors is comparing it to stapling cage to a picture frame and then screwing another frame on top the

first. Check out the step by step photos... and if there’s a better way to do this let us know.

The tools you'll need.

Starting construction of the box. You can use a plank to help align your pieces.

You can easily modify the dimensions from the two feet by eight feet design I have here, you just need more wood.

I cut the 2x4s shorter to accommodate the 2x2 uprights that would form the skeleton of the cage.

This was the easy part. I used cedar because it weathers well.

Fastening the corners.

The 2x2 uprights.

The cage skeleton almost finished. After speaking with gardening expert Ed Lawrence about raccoons and how strong and heavy they are I decided to add another pair of 2x2 uprights to the middle to proved added strength. As it turns out a middle upright also helps brace the door. When I was this point I had initially planned to have a single lage door that would swing up. I abandoned that idea though later as too awkward and heavy and opted instead

for two doors that swing outwards.

Time to staple the mesh on. For added security you could cover the staple points with a thin strip of wood.

Three sides completed. Be careful cutting the wire. It can give you a nasty scratch.

The roof is now finished.

I used 1x4 pieces of wood for the tops and bottoms of the doors. I stapled the mesh on to those pieces and then attached 1x2s at each end at right angles.

Once the 1x2 pieces were attached, I had to flip the door over and staple the mesh to the 1x2s.

Then I measured the spaces left in between and cut more 1x2 strips to cover over the mesh and finish the frame/mesh/frame sandwich.

Installing hinges.

It almost seems finished, right? Don't forget the latch.

There’s a variety of ways to make one door brace the other shut. This isn’t the prettiest way, but it works.

This cross piece provides added stability to the cage and a place to put a latch.

A latch at the bottom needed a scrap piece of wood to attach to.

Almost done.

The finished product. I tried to build it to accommodate a number of tomato or bean plants. As a result it’s a bit top heavy and I would suggest tethering it so raccoons can’t tip it. Also make sure to trim the wire sticking out from corners! Now if I only had some raccoons to test it out.