Saturday, May 12, 2012

Cattle Panel Creations

Cattle Panel Arbor
Over the years, we have come to realize that the term "Cattle Panel" was far to narrow of a description for the welded metal wonders most often used for fencing.  When we first acquired our cattle panels, we naively used them for their intended purpose - fencing panels.  They proved much tougher than run-of-the-mill field fencing and corralled even the orneriest milk cow.  With years of use, they became bent but maintained their usefulness.  We found that they could be used as support for pole beans, as a sturdy enclosure for our sun room and as a make-shift, movable grazing pen.  But that was just the beginning.....

Last spring, Maid Elizabeth and I fashioned a cattle panel arbor in front of our door, creating the perfect muse for our Virginia Creeper.  Then, my folks built a "Conestoga Wagon" from a trailer topped with domed cattle panels covered in tarps (NOT the blue ones!) to create a movable firewood trailer.  It was perfect.  They towed their trailer to the spot they were cutting wood, filled the trailer and moved it to the next location, stacking wood as they went.  When the trailer was full, they backed it next to their porch and had a handy wood supply all winter.

This year, Sir Knight and I decided that we wanted to keep our shed (attached to our Shouse) free from wood so that we had plenty of room to store generators, chargers and our rolling stock (4-wheeler, motorcycle, bikes and lawn mower).  Because we needed another place to store firewood, we put our thinking caps on and came up with a variation of my parents "Conestoga Wagon" idea.  Once again, cattle panels to the rescue.

We made our "Wood Hut" out of three cattle panels.  First, Sir Knight and Master Hand Grenade pulled three, beat up cattle panels from our stash and laid them side-by-side in the field where we wanted the hut.  Next, they lay two 2x6 end to end (spliced with another section of 2x6) and put the end of the cattle panel  on top.  After placing two 2x4's on top of the cattle panel, Miss Serenity proceeded to run screws into them about every four inches, securing the cattle panels between the 2x4's and 2x6's.  After securing both ends of the panels in this fashion, Master Hand Grenade and Sir Knight rolled the panels into a domed, upright position.  Once upright, Sir Knight screwed a 2x4 onto the back and the front of the hut, stabilizing the structure considerably.  After it was all together, we picked it up and moved it into position and started filling it with firewood.
Miss Serenity and Master Calvin
Master Calvin assisting Sir Knight
Sir Knight and Miss Serenity working together
(securing the panels with tie wraps)
Putting the finishing touches on the front of the hut
Princess Dragon Snack handing wood to Sir Knight
(notice her pink, lace hat!)
Right now, our "Wood Hut" is little more than a wire cage filled with firewood.  We have tarps on order (pretty green ones!) and will cover the hut, and secure it with re-bar once they arrive.  I'll keep you posted on our progress, and let you know if our experiment is a success or a failure.  Wind is a huge concern where we live, so the quality of the tarps may well be the difference between a great wood storage system and a winter of burning wet wood.

We have found cattle panels to be so versatile that I cannot imagine any homestead complete without them.  We love our Cattle Panel Creations!


  1. Enola, Great creation and family project for storing wood. You could do the same with a green house. Instead of using tarps use plastic.

  2. What a great idea, it is better than a wooden lean-to which will rot eventually and not as portable either. I love Sandy's idea too for a green house using the cattle panels also. It is quite versatile.

  3. Anchor it well. If you have winds like here in South Dakota, That needs a few cement blocks around it.

  4. ..Sandy beat me to it. There's a video out on YouTube of someone doing the exact same thing and making a greenhouse. If I can get a hold of some cattle fencing I'm all over it.

  5. Yup, I was thinking greenhouse too. Plus it is mobile enough to place over an existing veggie bed at the end of the season to squeeze out a few more weeks of growing.
    Southern Gal

    1. I would like to incorporate a chicken coops arch into my vegetable garden. I am just afraid it would create too much shade for the surrounding plants. There are lots of things you can do with cattle panel if you are creative

  6. use plastic PVC 2 inch if any of ya'll are going to make a greenhouse...smoother...plastic...strong...wrap at bottom around the 4x4 and then tack the loose edge with a 2x4...kinda cool idea for wood storage with panels thoughh...

  7. I'm loving this post. I see so many uses for that simple structure. First thing that popped into my mind was some clear plastic and you have an easy built greenhouse.

  8. Another excellant idea Enola!!! I can use this "panel" for the top of an arbor my wife is wanting me to build for her wisteria vine. Definitely better and stronger than lattice. Another idea... construct it like Enola did her wood storage and let vines consume it. Perfect for a natural---secret garden. All you will need is a chair, book, and a tall glass of tea. Naturally concealed.

  9. We used them this year to ARCH between my raised beds so the cucumbers can climb up them. I can't wait until they are covered with green!

  10. Enola,
    Good Idea for wood storage.
    We live north of CDA and we made "chicken tractors" using 2 panels and 2x6. Instead of screws though, we bought hex head bolts that go all the way thru and put metal brackets on the corners. There is lots of tension on those things and it will increase when the snow is on them in the winter. On the chicken tractors, we put 3' chicken wire on the back panel and the opening front panels and 3' up the sides. We then cover it with a silver tarp so they have shade. Works great. Going on our third round of chickens in 5 years.
    We also made double raised beds, 18" tall, 14' long and 4' wide. We placed them 3' apart and put a 2x6 across the outer long sides and then we used fence staples to attach the panels to the inside of one bed and then arch the panels, one by one, over the beds. Three panels cover one double bed. We cover these with 10mil plastic in the early spring, after prepping the soil, and then when it is time to plant, it is warmer inside. On hot days we take up one end, then both as it gets hotter, but still too cool at night. Eventually, the plastic is removed for most of the season and then put on again around Labor Day when our nights start getting too cool again. Our goal is to build a double bed every year (not cheap if you have to buy everything). We have 2 plus an uncovered pair built from lumber given us by our contractor. Not sure how long the glue lams will hold together.

  11. I would like to incorporate a cattle panels arch into my vegetable garden. I am just afraid it would create too much shade for the surrounding plants. There are lots of things you can do with cattle panel if you are creative