Above Ground

Above Ground Installation (No Dig Method)

It is not necessary to bury the boundary wire.  An effective boundary can be created in minutes by simply laying the wire along the ground and fastening it in place with lawn staples (also known as sod staples, landscaping staples or grass staples).  The boundary cable is surprisingly resilient and can stand up to light traffic, and even vehicular traffic.  Even professionals will often not bury the wire when the installation is for a very large area, particularly a wooded area where it is difficult to operate a mechanical trencher. Over time, (three to five years) the cable will bury itself as the lawn grows and leaves fall.

The advantage of the no dig method is the time required for installation.  However, the wire is visible so it is less attractive than buried wire.  On the surface the wire is also more susceptible to breaks especially due to lawn mowers and edgers. Critters such as squirrels may also pose an issue as they are know to chew on the wire.  Of course, being on the surface, the boundary wire is also easier to repair.

To install the cable with the no dig method, lay out the boundary cable just as you would for a normal installation.  If you use boundary cable that is green for grassy areas and black for wooded areas it will be less noticeable.

Now use lawn staples (pictured right) to affix the cable to the ground at 3-5 yard intervals.  In heavily trafficked areas, reduce the space between staples.  Similarly, in areas where the wire changes direction often, increase the staple frequency. Staples can usually be driven into the ground by hand or by standing on the staple. In harder soils, a mallet or hammer can be used to gently drive the staples.  Do not hammer the staples over zealously otherwise you may damage the boundary wire.

To get across driveways and pavement, you can cut across the cement and bury the wire.  Alternatively, you can just lay the cable across the driveway, preferably in an expansion joint where it will be protected. See this link for more information on getting the dog fence wire across a driveway.

You can buy lawn staples in our online store, and at most landscaping and home improvement stores. They are inexpensive, typically costing around $15 per 100.

115 Comments

  1. Steven Dotson says:

    We have two, 2 yr-old 100-lb labs that have roamed the 80 acres we are on.
    We want to cut them down to about 3 acres, and we want to suspend the wire from T-posts with insulators.
    Can you recommend the best brand for this job, and also recommend how to handle gates for this type of installation?
    Thank you!

    ADMIN – Hi Steven,

    I would suggest the Yardmax or The SportsDog. You can refer to our installation tutorial to explore some of the options for gates.

  2. Sue says:

    I did my second install above ground (because if one of my woodland critters chews it it’s really hard to find the break when the ground is frozen) and used lawn staples but was told that they interfere with the signal sooooo…….I went around and pulled them all out. Not sure if that was my actual problem or if it was a splice that I redid but it fixed my problem. Does anyone know if the staples do have an effect of the signal?

    Also, after a few breaks I found a great way to strengthen the wire – and it’s also great across the driveway. I encase it in Gorilla tape and the only time it got damaged was when I thoughtlessly went over it with the lawn mower forgetting that it would get sucked up. It’s not cheap and I’m doing it in sections but I think that it’s going to be worth it in the end….the results have been impressive, so far. I tried running the wire through several different types of tubing….hoses included…..and it’s really time consuming, expensive and frustrating. The tape is quick and strong.

    ADMIN – Hi Sue. We have never heard of any problems with the lawn staples. Our suspicion would be that the splice may have been the issue. However, every situation is different. We are glad to hear that it is working for you now. Also, thank you for the Gorilla Tape suggestion! We learn just as much from our customers as they learn from us!

  3. Theresa Ross says:

    Hi. We are going to run an electric wire at the top of our chain link fence in order to keep our shepherd from jumping & climbing. Will it be ok to do so when my houses’ water pipes are only 20 ft. away from fence. It’s brick home. The gas meter is appx. 15 ft. Away also. Now, our plants are appx. 6 to 30 ft away. Ty, Troubled in Mississippi.

    ADMIN – Hi Theresa. With jumpers, escape artists, or diggers, we usually recommend laying the wire a foot or so inside the fence so that they do not even get to the fence to escape. Then you will want to set a wide boundary width for notification.
    The Boundary Wire should be installed 5-10 feet away from metal and/or electromagnetic interference (e.g., metal siding, aluminum siding, metal roof, metal fencing, HVAC equipment, etc) to avoid amplification problems and unintended corrections to the dog’s collar.
    With existing fences, we recommend laying the wire on top of the ground in the location you think you want it and testing the collar to make sure it beeps and corrects at the right location on the perimeter loop. This way, if you need to move the wire closer to or further away from the fence, you can do so easily. Once the correct location has been determined, then you can bury your wire 1″ – 3″ in the ground or tack it to the surface of the ground using lawn staples to hold it in place.
    Keep in mind that your dog will not receive a correction until s/he actually crosses the boundary wire.

  4. Garrett O says:

    Hi I’m new to this site and to the electric fence idea… but I’m not sure what to buy for my dog we live on 1.5 acres (.5 is heavily wooded) and the house is aluminum sided. I’m looking for a system that includes a hand remote and won’t be useless with aluminum siding. Are there any systems out there that are wireless, portable, with a training remote that fit this criteria. Wires are not preferred but I would like the best suggestion. Thank you in advance

    ADMIN – Hi Garrett. The best option for you based on what your stated needs are would be the SportDog SDF-CT: https://www.dogfencediy.com/reviews/sportdog-contain-train/
    SportDog SDF-CT Dog Fence is the only system that offers Containment and a Remote Trainer on the same collar. You can have up to 3 dogs on the system and still use the remote feature. This collar is rechargeable and is appropriate for dogs 10 pounds and up but is bulky. This collar is also waterproof to 5 feet. If you do not need the training function on the collar, this system is also cross collar compatible and works with MOST PetSafe collars but DOES NOT WORK WITH THE YARDMAX COLLAR. This system would allow you to use the PetSafe Deluxe Collar (Standard correction levels, good for dogs between 5 and 90 pounds, $69.95), Stubborn (for large dogs or dogs that need more corrective power that are over 40 pounds, $79.95), PetSafe Rechargeable In-Ground Fence Receiver (A rechargeable collar with 4 correction levels ($119.95), Elite Little Dog (for dogs under 10 pounds, $99.95), Cat or standard SportDog collar ($99.95) collars. These collars would work for containment only and WOULD NOT offer the remote function. This system only operates in traditional mode. This is a good, reliable system that will work well in most configurations. The transmitter will power up to 100 acres of containment boundary wire. This system comes with 1000 feet of 20 gauge wire.

  5. lynn Zoske says:

    I live in Arizona and we have “washes” which are places where a LOT of water will run when it rains at the house or “upriver”. At my place it is like sheet flow over and around the dirt driveway. Can the wire be used at ground level when it will be getting wet, even slightly underwater for a short time?

    ADMIN – Hi Lynn. Yes, the wire can be run directly into water and should be fine. We would recommend running the section that will be in the wash through something like an old garden hose with the ends cut off. This will give your wire some protection from rocks and other debris that may damage the wire when the water is flowing.

  6. lynn Zoske says:

    I have metal fencing so per your advice I would be running the wire 5 ft inside the fence. My problem is that the fence runs off the end of the house so the wire would end up going in front of my door and porch door, so the dog couldn’t go out these doors without getting a correction. What can I do about this?

    ADMIN – Hi Lynn. With existing fences, we recommend laying the wire on top of the ground in the location you think you want it and testing the collar to make sure it beeps and corrects at the right location on the perimeter loop. This way, if you need to move the wire closer to or further away from the fence, you can do so easily. Once the correct location has been determined, then you can bury your wire 1″ – 3″ in the ground or tack it to the surface of the ground using lawn staples to hold it in place.

    Keep in mind that your dog will not receive a correction until s/he actually crosses the boundary wire.

  7. C. Card says:

    We have a complicated property, with lawn, trees and two streams to pass over and some marshy wet areas. Can we use an above ground method like with peg type in the wet areas and over the water? if so, do we need to coat it? wont the sun damage the plastic coating?

    ADMIN – HI C. The wire we sell is UV rated and should withstand sun damage for longer than other wires. We use a high density polyethylene coating that can be run directly in the ground, through water, or left exposed to the elements. If you want to add an extra layer of protection, we recommend using something like irrigation tubing as it is flexible and will move with the wire. Hard PVC can crack, developing sharp edges that may damage the wire.

  8. Dennis Connolly says:

    Hi. I have a couple of acres to contain. Will the standard system be powerful enough for my medium size dog? Thanks Dennis

    ADMIN – Hi Dennis. All of our systems will support 10 acres or more of wire. What you may want to look at is more the temperament of your dog as to which system may be best. I would recommend looking at a couple of different systems to see what may fit your dog’s temperament better. You can find details on acreage supported and level of correction by visiting our Dog Fence DIY Reviews page.

  9. Alex says:

    When installing, can I do a mix of buried and above ground? I have a unique set up of high traffic area. neighbors yard, fence and a driveway so ideally I would like to bury in the high traffic area, and lay above ground on the drive way and near the fence?

    ADMIN – Hi Alex. Absolutely you can mix and match. In the areas you decide NOT to bury the wire, you will want to tack the wire to the ground using lawn staples to hold the wire to the ground and help to keep your boundary line consistent.

  10. Brenda says:

    Can I wrap the wire around an existing fence instead of burying the wires?

    ADMIN – Hi Brenda. You technically can wrap the wire around an existing fence. However, we usually do not recommend it as the dogs do not receive a correction until they cross the wire. This would mean that your dog would be out of the fenced in area before they actually receive the correction that is meant to encourage them to stay inside the fence. With jumpers, escape artists, or diggers, we usually recommend laying the wire a foot or so inside the fence so that they do not even get to the fence to escape. Then you will want to set a wide boundary width for notification.
    The Boundary Wire should be installed 5-10 feet away from metal and/or electromagnetic interference (e.g., metal siding, aluminum siding, metal roof, metal fencing, HVAC equipment, etc) to avoid amplification problems and unintended corrections to the dog’s collar.
    With existing fences, we recommend laying the wire on top of the ground in the location you think you want it and testing the collar to make sure it beeps and corrects at the right location on the perimeter loop. This way, if you need to move the wire closer to or further away from the fence, you can do so easily. Once the correct location has been determined, then you can bury your wire 1″ – 3″ in the ground or tack it to the surface of the ground using lawn staples to hold it in place.
    Keep in mind that your dog will not receive a correction until s/he actually crosses the boundary wire.

  11. Lorrie Wolf says:

    Hi, I’m really considering getting your electric wired dog fence but, you say at least five feet from metal. How do I do that if the outside of my mobile home is metal? Please help

    ADMIN – Hi Lorrie. You would want to plan your boundary to be at least 5 feet from the side of your home. Metal can amplify the signal or interrupt the signal, making the system ineffective. If your case, you would want to get the system and lay the wire out. Then you would want to hook the system up and test the wire placement before you bury it or attach it to the ground. This way, you can play with the placement and adjust as needed.

  12. L Taylor says:

    The previous residents had an in-ground invisible fence for their dog. The old boundary wire is no longer working and it’s not connected to any receiver or power source. Will this affect the new boundary wire?

    ADMIN – Hi L Taylor. The only way to truly know if the old wire will affect your new system would be to test it. We recommend laying the wire where you think you want it on top of the ground and testing the collar to make sure it beeps and corrects at the right location on the perimeter loop. This way, if it need to be moved due to interference, you can still move it before it is buried. Once the correct location has been determined, then you can bury your wire no more than 1″ – 3″ in the ground or you can tack it to the ground using lawn staples.

  13. Joe says:

    You mentioned ‘cheap irrigation hose’ a few times. Can you provide more specifics about what sort of product you are referring to? I believe this would be a good way to go for the very wooded portion of my yard.

    ADMIN – Hi Joe. Think of something similar to an old garden hose (without the metal ends). You want something that will move with the wire but something that is thick enough to give some protection. Most home improvement stores will offer flexible plastic tubing for not too much money. You just want something that is thick enough to withstand anything that might puncture it with a glancing blow.

  14. Stephanie says:

    I’m planning on installing the PetSafe Stubborn Dog Fence (PetZIG00-14658)

    We have 10 acres (660×660) and would like to fence the entire circumference.

    The whole property is currently fenced in with 3 strand, high tensile wire on wood posts with plastic insulators. Can I run my dog wire along one of the already present lines, using the current insulators? If not can I add another set of insulators designated for the dog fencing only in between the current fence lines?

    ADMIN – Hi Stephanie. You would not be able to place the dog fence wire so close to your current wire. The Boundary Wire should be installed 5-10 feet away from metal and/or electromagnetic interference (e.g., metal siding, aluminum siding, metal roof, metal or wire fencing, HVAC equipment, other electric fencing, underground utilities, etc) to avoid amplification problems, unintended corrections to the dog’s collar or signal interference.
    We recommend laying the wire where you think you want it on top of the ground and testing the collar to make sure it beeps and corrects at the right location on the perimeter loop. Once the correct location has been determined, then you can bury your wire no more than 1″ – 3″ in the ground or you can tack it to the ground using lawn staples.

  15. Traci says:

    I have 2 acres of electric horse fence I bought the invisible fence to help contain a goat what happens if I lay the invisible fence under the electric fence

    ADMIN – Hi Traci. The Boundary Wire should be installed 5-10 feet away from metal and/or electromagnetic interference (e.g., metal siding, aluminum siding, metal roof, metal or wire fencing, HVAC equipment, other electric fencing, underground utilities, etc) to avoid amplification problems, unintended corrections to the dog’s collar or signal interference.

    We recommend laying the wire where you think you want it on top of the ground and testing the collar to make sure it beeps and corrects at the right location on the perimeter loop. Once the correct location has been determined, then you can bury your wire no more than 1″ – 3″ in the ground or you can tack it to the ground using lawn staples.

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