How This $30 Faux Gate Saved Us From Installing a New Fence

16 Sep


See this lovely gate? It’s a fake. It doesn’t actually open. But this faux gate is much more than just a pretty face.

Last summer we woke up nearly every morning to large and numerous holes throughout our entire yard. Shrubs and flowers were dug up and cast aside. Dangerous dips in our yard became rampant.

We were unsettled every night at bedtime, and even more so each morning as we surveyed new damage. We had no idea what was causing it.

Until early one morning, around 6 am, I saw an armadillo enter into a large gap in the fence line at the back of our yard. Ah-ha!


Hotel Armadillo entrance.

Our back fence line was comprised of two fences of our back neighbors.

Where the fences “meet” in the middle, there is a large corridor roughly 18 inches wide and 30 feet long, with openings on both ends: one to our property, and one to the property line of the two neighbors behind us.

We soon learned that this dark and damp sanctuary served as a literal breeding ground for armadillos!

We also discovered several raccoons and an opossum, but it was the band of armadillos that was wreaking havoc in our yard. Did you know that armadillos carry diseases that can be transferred to humans? 

We hired a wildlife expert who captured two of the critters, and he surmised that there was likely a large den somewhere nearby. Great. 

He suggested that we install a new fence and install steel caps of ~18 inches in height all along the bottom of the fence line. We interviewed several fence companies and the average bid of this little project was $4,000!

As we stewed over what to do, my husband saw a neighbor removing and replacing old fence boards. They were happy to give him the old boards and he showed up at home with a bundle of them.

Hubs planned to stuff chicken wire into the entrance of the corridor and then seal it off with the fence boards, attaching them to the existing fences.

While he worked on the functional aspect of the wooden seal, I got busy with aesthetics. After a quick trip to Lowe’s, I showed up with gate hardware, which the Hubs was happy to install.


Then I bought some stepping stones and dug out a little curved pathway leading to the gate:


I ran into a snag when installing the pathway. There’s always a snag.

I encountered this old, decomposing tree stump which took me over an hour to remove with a steel javelin. That was a workout!


After successfully installing the curved path, I planted a few new shrubs and flowers.


Lastly, I found a metal sign and painted and stenciled it with this Cafe d’Amici logo. I’m not sure if there is a literal translation, but to me, it means, “cafe of friendship”.


The gate is not operational, but it is highly functional. We have not seen evidence of a single critter doing damage to our yard since it was installed.

The total cost was ~$30 for the gate hardware, metal sign, paint, stencils, and stepping stones.

I love looking out my bedroom window in the morning and imagining that I’m preparing to step into the cafe for some morning java.

It’s also a definite conversation piece whenever we entertain guests. Visitors often exclaim: “Wow, you must have a great relationship with your neighbors if you have a gate to their house!”


Thanks for stopping by Around My Home today,


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