Building a Turtle Home in Your Garden


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January 14, 2016

finished enclosureNot long ago, my sister-in-law called me in a panic. She was on the other side of the island when a turtle started to cross the road. Luckily she saw the turtle in time to stop her car. She ran out and picked up the poor turtle and put it in her car. Afterwards, she called me in a panic to drive to the other side of the island and take the turtle. She understands that I love animals and would take care of the turtle. She has several big dogs in her yard and had no idea how to care for a turtle.


The turtle was a land turtle and needed an enclosure that provided it with enough sun, a small pool of water to sit in, and a lot of nice dried grass to lie in. For the first few days I kept the turtle in a plastic rabbit cage my sister-in-law gave to me. However, I could see the turtle didn't like this home and needed something more.

I knew I needed to build an enclosure for the turtle to live in. I had no idea what type of an enclosure would be the best. I had to go online and search for a turtle enclosure that would work for me. I saw a lot of designs and beautiful ideas. Each one of these took a lot of material we don't have on the islands. I needed to come up with a solution and quickly.

Being very creative and loving to design and create I build my own version of a turtle enclosure. Here is what I used:

  • rocks
  • dried grass
  • 3 recycled pallets
  • recycled chicken cage wire
  • bamboo bowls
  • dirt
  • potted plants
  • bamboo curtains or window curtains

I first cleaned an area in my yard that would give the turtle plenty of morning sunlight. I decided how large I wanted the cage. Afterwards, I gathered the rocks from the riverbed that runs in front of my home.


My neighbor had just finished cutting his yard and had plenty of dried grass. He gave me 4 large sacks of dry grass to use in my cage.

I had some pallets in the yard and tore them apart. I removed all the nails from the pallets. Afterwards, I found some 2x2 wood in the yard and cut the wood for the enclosure.

I lined the bottom of the enclosure with rocks and spread dry grass on top of the rocks. I split the enclosure in half. In half of the enclosure I left the dried grass and the other side I added dirt. Here I put in a small bamboo bowl that I could add water to.Building a Turtle Home in Your Garden - addition of chicken wire to keep turtle inside

Building a Turtle Home in Your Garden - divided enclosure with rocks on one half and dirt on the other

I put the bamboo curtains around the back of the enclosure to make it look nice. I then built the 3 sides of the cage with the wood I had cut from the pallets. I added more rocks to the front and two sides of the enclosure so the turtle couldn't escape. I then added in some plants the turtle could eat. I needed to check online to make sure these plants were safe for the turtle before I added them to his enclosure.


I was now ready to put my turtle in his new home. He loved his home because there were plants, dirt, grass, rocks, and water for him. But what I didn't realize at the time is that the turtle could still get out of his enclosure.

I heard my dog barking and standing over something in the yard. When I went out to see what was wrong, I saw my turtle walking around my garden. I put the turtle back in his new enclosure and found some chicken wire. I added the chicken wire to the top of the enclosure. However, I noticed this would't work well. I couldn't feed the turtle.
Building a Turtle Home in Your Garden - chicken wire


I found a few pieces of flat wood in the yard. I cut the top of the chicken wire and attached the wood to the two sides. This way I could open the chicken wire and give the turtle water and food.Building a Turtle Home in Your Garden - adding wooden sides to chicken wire so that it can be opened

My turtle loves his enclosure and is so happy here. I made the enclosure to fit with the décor of my yard. When people visit they love the enclosure I made for my turtle.


It is easy to find material around your home to make many different projects for your garden. You just need to be creative and have an idea of what you want. The internet is a wonderful source of information to give you ideas. I used the internet to see what type of an enclosure would best for my turtle to live in.

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