Building a dog kennel doesn't have to be either difficult or expensive.
Dogs need room to run and play, exercise and relax. Many dogs utilize the entire back yard for all of these activities. However, (to put it bluntly) there is little more disturbing than trying to bar-b-que amidst dog mess or running through a dog pile while catching a football.
It is not necessary to give up the entire square footage of your yard for the exclusive use of the dog if he will have a reasonable amount of time to play fetch or run outside of his kennel. In fact, if you have room for a longer kennel, he doesn't even need regular running outside of the dog run.
For exercise, it is often more important to have length than width. If you have a choice between a 10' x 10' run or a 5' x 20' run, the 20' run is better for the dog. It give him considerably more getting-up-to-speed room. It also allows him to eliminate in an end far away from his housing and feeding station.
Putting the gate on the dog house end makes it hard to clean the kennel and also makes it hard to get past the house to make your entry and exit.
If you want to confine him to the dog house end while you clean the far end, the middle gate should be able to swing all of the way open to the inside to fasten ACROSS the run, cutting off escape AND separating him from your cleaning efforts.
Hint: You can't have too many doors. Two is minimum. Put one on the end where you will have to scoop the poop and the other in the middle of the side run of panels. Come and go, feed, and fetch him through the nice clean side gate. Scoop and clean the run through the end gate.
Hint: Consider a Doggie Dooley Dog Septic system. Install it in the end of the run or just outside the end door. Scoop the run and deposit the "deposits" directly into the in-ground septic container and never think about it again.
Hint: Most dogs will run the grass down over time and you will find your dog kenneled in dirt or mud. Your run will be easier to clean if it is set on a concrete pad or floored with pea gravel throughout. (Concrete is not good for young dog's feet. While dogs boarding on a temporary basis or dogs that leave the run for hunting or training can be housed on concrete very nicely, puppies should not be raised on concrete, which can cause splayed feet or dropped pasterns.)
A concrete pad is a necessity for a professional boarding kennel. However, if concrete is undesirable or impractical for your backyard kennel and solid pea gravel is not desirable for some reason, put pea gravel in the last 4 feet of the elimination end. Dig the soil out about 8 inches deep. Put a layer of lime on top of the dirt (to neutralize the odor of urine), then spread a nice deep layer of pea gravel on top. It will be good for your dog's feet to keep them tough and strong. It will be easy for you to clean.
For optimum hosing of a concrete run, dig a moat around the run for water to wash into. Dig it 6-8" deep and about 6" wide, line with lime, top with pea gravel. When the water washes the urine off of the concrete, it will flow into the lime-lined pit to be neutralized and absorbed.
We highly recommend a shade top.
Professional boarding kennels have some unique needs that we can satisfy.
Dogs will remain quieter if they cannot see the dog in the adjoining kennel. They will also do less running back and forth (sometimes creating a mess if the run is not perfectly clean when they sail down the fence line). For that purpose, we sell panels with solid bottoms so the dogs are visually separated from each other. The visual barrier also acts as a physical barrier to keep male dogs from urinating into the adjoining run. That keeps the "target" dog and his run cleaner.
Outdoor boarding kennels should be built on concrete pads with an outer perimeter of gravel (discussed above) for catching water run-off. Gravel runs cannot be adequately disinfected between visitors to ensure that dogs don't pass parasites or viruses. Concrete is much easier to disinfect with a bleach solution or other disinfecting product.
Modular kennels have optional food and water bowl inserts that let you raise the bowls off of the ground - a good idea to deter ants. Some even let you service the bowls from the outside of the run for convenience. This is an especially attractive option when you are dressed for work and need to make sure the dog is well-fed before you leave.
If the kennels will be placed in an un-enclosed space, we strongly urge you to put a perimeter fence around the kennels. That way you can enter the perimeter area, close the door, and then open and work with individual runs. The dogs are never exposed to actual unfenced areas.
To order for the perimeter: after you have ordered the number of runs needed, measure the linear feet of the perimeter. divide by the width of each panel to find how many panels are represented in that measurement. Purchase another "kennel" that contains enough panels to line the perimeter (you'll receive two gates with each "kennel" package). If you need still more panels, order them separately up to 30 units on a pallet. (We can help with sizing the pallets for large needs such as these. Call 1-888-738-3976)
Backyard kennels should be topped over the dog house if the house has a flat roof that can serve as a stair step to heavenly freedom over the top of the run. Professional kennels should always be topped. Even the smallest dogs who are confirmed and skilful climbers can escape an un-topped run. Purchase "predator panels" for the tops.