Construction and maintenance

In the pictures you can see that a fence is placed at the back of the garden. It is made of concrete poles of about three meters long. Two meters protrude above ground and over a meter is in the ground. These poles have slits on both sides in which concrete slabs and wooden planks are slid.

At the spot where this fence was put up, a ditch had to be dug first of one meter deep and 13 meters long, the width of the garden. The top parts of the fence are replaced with glass panels instead of wood, in order to prevent animals from escaping. As a final touch a top beam is placed along the whole length to make the construction sturdy.

I then placed four centimetre thick Styrofoam sheets up to about one meter high on the inside of the lower concrete parts, as isolation, to prevent it from freezing from the backside (northeast). The fact is, I chose to have raised beds, up till about one meter high, against the fence, which also function as hibernation spot (see: ‘Hibernating’).

On the right side the fence connects with the outer wall of the house and on the left side with a stone wall. Glass panels were placed at the top of these walls. So far this construction has been satisfactory. I used wired glass, because it doesn’t collapse when the glass breaks. Of course, any other smooth material is suitable, such as plastic sheeting for ponds, plastic corrugated sheets or PVC.

The fence doesn’t have to be two meters high, half this height is enough. A low wall will also do (see: ‘Escaping’). On top of the fence and wall I have tied electric wire against cats. It is very effective (see: ‘Predators’).

You can still keep maintaining the garden, although be extra careful when mowing the lawn and spraying poison. It is very important to keep the places in the garden where the animals regularly sunbathe free from vegetation. Keep into account that once in a while the fences need to be checked, so make paths along the fence or walls. Also, regularly trim the bushes to prevent creating escape routes. I also have lots of native plants in the garden and maintain a compost heap and in this way provide for an ample food supply for my garden dwellers (see: ‘Food’).

A few years ago I built a shed and the animals can walk in and out of it freely. This makes it necessary to seal off this building with smooth materials to prevent animals from escaping.

Important tip: place buckets and pots in the shed upside down, to prevent animals from jumping in and get dehydrated (I lost an Ocellated lizard this way!). Make sure there are enough places where they can sunbathe and hide at all times of the day (see: ‘Position to the sun’). Most lizards (and tortoises) lay their eggs in sunny spots in which they can easily dig (see: ‘Breeding’).