Many moons ago when we moved into this house there was a dog pen in the backyard. It was just a 10‘ x 10‘ area with concrete and then a 4 foot, black, chain-link fence around the edge with a gate. The previous owners must have had a dog that spent some time there.

I think one year we stored firewood in it. But for the most part for like nine or 10 years or whatever it remained unused.

Now last year my wife had a garden on our porch with pretty good success. Truth be told she actually had a number of green peppers, jalapeños, and tomatoes that were amazing. The downside is that we also have a male German Shepherd that lives with us. Suffice it to say the porch garden wasn’t going to work this year.

While working on other projects in the garage, I reached back into my childhood days and conceived of a way to wrap the outside of the pen in Visqueen. In my day this was the brand name of what today is generically called plastic sheeting.

This was a family project, a garden to get us through the summer. My wife and youngest daughter were helping with construction in the garage.

First, we folded each piece of visqueen in half. Then I cut several 4 foot 2x4s which we laid at each end. After rolling the 2×4 into the visqueen until we got to about a foot. I grabbed some leftover molding and nailed it down the 2×4 through the visqueen. This technique keeps firmer hold and prevents the nails from just ripping holes down the plastic. Then we did the same thing to the other side. Thus making a complete plastic wrap for one side.

Handing them a bag of heavy duty zip ties, they went out the back door and attached it to the first side of the pen.

The next two sides were just a repeat of the first. Then the gate side was completed the same way with different lengths and we were done.

Or were we?

Last year during super heavy rains, the porch garden was just moved plant by plant under the awning. My wife was also concerned about the sun being too hot during high summer. “Could we put some sort of a tarp over it?”

Well, that is really not far from an actual greenhouse. But she really didn’t want to go quite that far and wanted the versatility to remove it for most of the time.

So, remember this is just a small fence around a concrete square and now wrapped in visqueen.

A functional, but not permanent design was constructed.

For each end support I used a 2x4x8’ and a 2x4x3’, between them I sandwiched the fencing by screwing large carriage bolts through it all. Actually a weird mixture of bolts that were like carriage bolts.

I worked on the top back in the garage by starting with a 2x4x10’ and two more visqueen rolls. I spread them out overlapping the end of each one on top of the 2×4 and attached them the same way I did before.

Then it was time to bring out the whole thing and with the help of my wife nail it to the top of the vertical 2x4s. We unrolled the plastic sheeting diagonally over the side of the fence and attached 2x2s with old gardening stakes because I ran out of molding some time ago. This allowed them to be rolled up at will and hung up and rope straps at the steeple.