Vitor Fontes

Crossing Driveways and Sidewalks on Your Electric Dog Fence Installation

Most of the time, you will need to cross a driveway, sidewalk or pathway when you install an electric dog fence. There are 5 different ways that this can be done. It is a good time to spend a bit more time on these areas. This is because these areas are susceptible to a lot of foot and vehicle traffic. This means that the wire installed there will be the most susceptible to being broken or worn. When using temporary methods in the Northern states, snow plows and snow shovels scrape the driveway surface. This can cause maintenance issues for temporary installation methods. It is a better idea to use one of the more permanent installation methods when you cross a driveway or pathway.

Permanently Cutting Through a Driveway

Tools & Materials

  • Cut off saw or circular saw with a concrete blade that can rent for under $30 for ½ a day
  • Chalk Line Marker or chalk and a long straight edge
  • Outdoor Caulk
  • Hand Shovel
  • Flathead Screwdriver
  • Stiff Broom, Vacuum or Leaf Blower
  • Ground Staples

Cutting Through a Driveway

  1. Begin by marking your sidewalk with a piece of chalk or a chalk line. If you already have an existing expansion line, you can skip this step.
  2. Make an initial pass over your chalk line, letting your saw just scratch the surface. 
  3. Follow the line again with your saw, this time putting a bit more pressure on the blade. Push down and make the groove around 1-3 inches deep.
  4. Go to each of the edges of your groove where the driveway meets the grass. Apply more pressure to the blade and make a 6-8 inch groove. You are doing this so that you are able to bury your wire deeper at that point to protect it against weed wackers or lawn edgers. You can secure the wire on either side of the driveway with a ground staple.
  5. Using a hand shovel, dig a 10-12 inch hole on each end of the groove where the driveway meets the grass. This is very important to make sure that your dog fence wire will not become damaged by an edger or a snow plow. 
  6. Take a flathead screwdriver and run it through the groove, removing all excess dust and debris.
  7. Take a leaf blower, broom or vacuum and get rid of all excess dust and debris from the groove.
  8. Push your dog fence wire into the bottom of the groove. Make sure that no dog fence wire is exposed and if you need to, repeat steps 6-8. 
  9. The dog fence wire should then be pushed deep into the hole on both ends of the groove. Secure the wire to the bottom of both holes using dog fence staples to secure the wire tightly in the ground. 
  10. Put the dirt back into the hole and pack it down on top of the wire on both ends of the driveway. The wire should than be taut across the groove of your driveway or sidewalk. 
  11. Using a caulking gun, make a nice neat line to fill in the driveway groove. Black asphalt caulk can be used for black driveways and concrete caulk for concrete driveways. Both can be purchased at your local hardware store.
  12. Using a flathead screwdriver, lightly pass over the bead of caulk and level it off so that it is flush with the driveway or sidewalk. Doing this prevents snow plows, shovels or foot traffic from removing the bead of caulk out of the groove.

If You Already Have an Existing Expansion Seam or Crack

In some cases, an existing crack will be in the exact spot where you need to cross the sidewalk or driveway. By using this seam, you can save yourself some trouble. 

  1. Begin by scraping out the crack with a flathead screwdriver. Use a stiff broom, vacuum or leaf blower to remove dirt and debris. 
  2. If you need to, use a household circular saw with a masonry blade to clean out the crack.
  3. Push the dog fence wire into the open groove. Make sure that the dog fence wire is laying at the bottom of the groove and that none of it is sticking out.
  4. Using a hand shovel, dig a 10-12 inch hole on each end of the groove where the driveway meets the grass.
  5. On both ends of the pathway, push the dog fence wire down into the holes. Secure the wire to the bottom of both holes using dog fence staples. This will allow the wire to stay tight in the ground on both sides of the path. 
  6. Take dirt and pack down the wire on both ends. The wire should be taut, but not so tight that it stretches. This will make it susceptible to breaking.
  7. Using a caulking gun, make a nice, neat line across the driveway groove. Black asphalt caulk works for black driveways and concrete caulk can be used for concrete driveways. Both can be purchased at your local hardware store
  8. Using a flathead screwdriver, lightly pass over the bead of caulk and level it off. You want to make sure it is flush with the driveway or sidewalk. This will prevent snow plows, shovels or foot traffic from pulling it out of the groove. 

Crossing Pathways

The wire should be buried with a shovel or pick axe where there are any high-traffic foot paths like gate openings, walkways or stone driveways. You just need to dig a 5-8 inch deep trench across the pathways, put the wire inside of the trench and bury it.

You will need to use a pick axe to dig a 5-10 inch trench for stone or gravel driveways. Next, run your dog fence wire through the trench. For areas that are heavily traveled, it is a good idea to run the wire through a common PVC pipe and then follow the steps to bury it. This gives you extra protection in areas that are heavily traveled.

If you have a stone or concrete driveways, refer to the above sections. 

Permanently Boring or Tunneling Under the Driveway

Perhaps you do not wish cut a driveway or a sidewalk. If this is the case, there is another option. You may choose to tunnel underneath it instead. While doing this takes a bit more time, it is the most professional and permanent solution for getting to the other side. To do this, you need to rent a machine called a Bullet Mole. You may also choose to use a sharpened piece of 2-inch PVC pope to burrow underneath the driveway. Some tool rental companies have entire packages that are designed to have everything in them that you need for your dog fence installation. 

  1. Using the bullet mole, dig a 10-inch hole that is 4 feet long on each side of the driveway or sidewalk. Place your bullet mole spike in one of the holes you have created. 
  2. By using a sledgehammer, drive the shaft of the bullet mole underneath the driveway. You will then need to connect additional extension shafts as you drive.
  3. When you have reached the other side of your driveway or sidewalk, pull the bullet mole and extension shafts all the way through and remove them. 
  4. Take a piece of 2-inch PVC pipe and put it through the hole.
  5. Thread the dog fence wire through your PVC pipe. Consine your loop or splice it together with the already laid loop wire by using a waterproof wire splice connector.
  6. Take the soil and tap it back down with the back of a shovel.

Using PVC Pipe

  1. Take a piece of PVC pipe and cut it the length of the driveway or sidewalk. Sharpen it to a 45 degree angle.
  2. On each side of the driveway or sidewalk, dig a 10-inch wide and 4 feet long hole.
  3. Fill this hole with water. This is going to loosen the dirt as you are pushing the PVC under the sidewalk, which makes the job much easier.
  4. Several feet at a time, push and twist the PVC pipe through the soil under the driveway. You should continue to fill the hole with water, loosening the soil as you are boring it. Once the PVC pipe has been placed under the driveway or sidewalk, thread the wire through it. Continue your loop or slice the end to the already laid loop wire using a waterproof wire splice connector. 

Temporarily Laying the Wire on the Driveway or Pathway Surface

Perhaps you don’t have time, you are moving soon or you just don’t want to bury the wire. This is just fine. You will just need to perform the stake-down method. 

Begin by running your wire across the driveway, sidewalk or pathway. Using dog fence wire staples, secure it tightly on both ends. The wire should be held flat against the driveway surface. Should the wire be loose on the driveway or pathway, this can create a trip hazard. The dog fence wire can also be buried on both ends of the driveway in order to secure the wire tightly to the surface. Using a thicker, professional grade wire is recommended in these situations. 

Using an Existing PVC Pipe

Some homes that are older and most homes that are newly constructed have a section of PVC pipe that is running under the driveway in several places. This makes it easy to thread your dog fence wire through the existing pipe. 

You may find that both ends of the PVC pipe will be covered in screening, top stop them from becoming filled with soil or debris. You can ask your builder or refer to your home’s blueprint to find out about the existence of these pipes. If you happen to be in the process of building your home, you can have the builder install a 1-2 inch piece of conduit under your driveway.

Using an Existing Invisible Fence Installation Wire

For homes that have already had an invisible fence system installed, there may already be a line going across the driveway. Sometimes the main loop wire is not operational but the wire underneath the driveway is in great shape and can be used. Begin by locating the line that runs underneath the driveway. You may be able to tell it is there by looking for a discolored line that runs the width of the driveway. You will need to use this as a starting point when you design your layout to design your perimeter loop.

  1. Find both ends of the dog fence wire and dig large enough of a hole so that you can work in at either end.
  2. If the wire is still connected to a perimeter loop, cut the wire in order to create enough slack so you can work with it easily.
  3. Next, strip about 1 inch of plastic coating from the wire. Splice it to your main loop. 
  4. Test your loop to make sure that the wire running underneath the driveway is working. If it isn’t, you will need to run new wire.

Photo by Vitor Fontes on Unsplash