Enclosing your patio is an excellent way to utilise existing structures to create a space to spend time with your cat outdoors. You could use cat net to enclose all or part of the space and add a simple L shape zipper or a swinging door.
It is important to consider whether you require any permissions before you enclose your patio:
Before you affix anything to a boundary fence or wall, it is important to gain support from your neighbours. We have created a template letter for you to download and edit to suit your needs. Click on the link to the right.
Rental Property Owners
If you are in a rental, you will need approval from the property owner. Some cat owners have had success attaching cat net without needing to drill holes, for example using bulldog clips or tucking the net under fence capping, however it is more secure to fix the cat net using drill holes. Drill holes in masonry walls or wood can be plugged with putty when the netting has been removed.
Enclosing your existing patio with open weave cat net does not require council approval. Affixing cat net to your boundary fence (without structural framework) does not require council approval in the Greater Bunbury Region as long as you have support from your neighbour. You could affix the cat net to your boundary fence using tensioned wire rope and eyelets or steel rods and panel clips. These fixture options do not require structural framework to hold the cat net in place. See other sections below for council approval for other additions to your enclosure.
A swinging gate, such as the one shown on the side, is exempt from the requirement for approval under the Planning and Development (Local Planning Schemes) Regulations 2015 (state wide) so long as your property is not a Heritage Protected Place. This exemption applies to most urban dwellings. The gate needs to be contained within the property, including when it is open.
Structures on the boundary
If you are wanting to build enclosure framework on the boundary which is attached to your dwelling, an open structure not exceeding 2.4m high and not exceeding 20m2 floor area is exempt from requiring a building permit under the Building Regulations 2012 (state wide). This is the definition of a pergola. The pergola may have a covering of open weave permeable material such as cat net. The framework should be independent of the fence.
For free standing structures to be exempt from requiring a permit; the floor area should not exceed 10m2, the height should not exceed 2.4m and the covering should be open weave material. The framework should be independent of the fence.
It is recommended to check with your local council when you have a design to ensure your plans fit within the exemption requirements.
You may want to consider enclosing your existing patio with open weld mesh as shown on the side. It is best to check with your local council first.
Waterproofing part or all of the area
If you are considering installing a polycarbonate roof down the side of your house, you will need a set back from your boundary fence and appropriate measures to contain stormwater on your property. Check with your local council’s Building and Planning departments before commencing any works. The framework should be independent of the fence.
Angled fence brackets
Check with your local council before affixing these to your boundary fence. This option is best if the total height including the brackets will be 1.8m. Just a caution, cats have been known to find a way of escaping if the entire space of the enclosed area is not covered with cat net for example.
We have received lots of feedback about cats finding a way to escape using fence rollers. There have also been concerns about other cats being able to get into the backyard. If you would like to proceed with this option, it is best to check with your council first. Offsetting the fence rollers so they are on the inside of your fence like the image on the right will allow for the safe passage of threatened western ringtail possums along the top of your fence all while your cat is safe inside the property. A win win!
A zip access is a simple and cheap option to gain access into your enclosure. Our recommendation is to purchase a zip already sewn into the cat net panel; the easiest option when it comes to installation.
Shade cloth or bird netting
Cat’s claws can become stuck in these materials and leave your cat in distress. The weaker material compared with cat net means they have the ability to chew through and make an escape route.
Impact on the streetscape
If you are looking to enclose a section at the front of your house, please phone your local council to check the set back, height and visual permeability requirements. Screening vegetation is encouraged to be used to reduce the view of enclosures from street, wherever possible.
Contractors, Suppliers and Resources
Other Enclosure Options
The information on this page should be considered as advice only. Cat owners are encouraged to send an enclosure plan to their local council, neighbours and property owners prior to commencing installation. A suggestion might be to use photos from this website and others to email into council, neighbours and property owners to assist in seeking support. In no event shall the South West Catchments Council be liable for any incident or consequential damages resulting from the use of the material.