Tutorial: Outdoor Cat Litter Box

How to build a simple, DIY, outdoor cat litter box that I like to call "The Zen Garden"It's been a few years since the real chilly dog, my blog's namesake, passed away and we have been pet free ever since. We've always enjoyed having pets - dogs, cats and even a few gerbils - but haven't been in a real hurry to invite a new furry friend into our home.

In early January, our pet status changed when Dobby the cat chose to move into our backyard. She also happily comes inside when the weather is less than hospitable.

I like cats. They're soft and cozy and nice to snuggle with. What I don't like, is changing the litter box. Maybe that's why I wasn't actively looking for a pet in the first place. Lucky for me, Tucson has fantastic weather most of the year and Dobby likes being outside. So, I am able to minimize the indoor litter box activity and contain the activity outside by building an outdoor litter box that I like to call "The Zen Garden."

The Zen Garden still needs to be cleaned out every once in awhile, but it's an inexpensive way to keep the house smelling fresh and the yard free from surprises.


  • 8 - 16 inch long edging stones
  • 100 lbs of non-clumping cat litter
  • rake
  • level (optional)


When you go to the store to get the cat litter for this project, make sure you buy the cheap, non-clumping kind or you will have a gigantic ball of clay when the first rainstorm hits.

Also, be prepared for some interesting questions at the cash register or even from other customers when you are walking around with 100 lbs of cat litter in your cart. (My husband was ready to say that we just adopted a tiger cub.)

Location, location, location. Find a spot in your yard to place your litter box. I chose a spot by the wall that's surrounded by trees and bushes so the litter box will be mostly hidden and away from our patio table and fire pit.
Next, clear an area about 3 feet square and 3 inches deep. For me it was just a matter of raking some rocks out of the way, but it may take a little more elbow grease depending on where you live.
Place your edging stones in a square with two edgers on each side. If you are a perfectionist, go ahead and make sure the edgers are level, too.
Carefully remove any nosy cats then fill the area with litter.

Finally, let your cat add some feng shui to the zen garden.

Please remember that even though it's outside, you will need to remove the solid waste from time to time. You will also need to add more litter occasionally.

How to build a simple, DIY, outdoor cat litter box that I like to call "The Zen Garden"


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The Chilly Dog: Tutorial: Outdoor Cat Litter Box
Tutorial: Outdoor Cat Litter Box
How to build a simple, DIY, outdoor cat litter box that I like to call "The Zen Garden"
The Chilly Dog
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