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Thursday, September 5, 2013

Fencey McFencerson

Let me put a disclaimer, these next couple posts are going to feel a little incomplete... we were working on quite a few projects that I want to talk about separately, but they were all going on at the same time. So I am going to delay some finished product photos til the end... and also being very involved in all of this stuff myself, I don't have a whole lot of process pictures or tutorials for you (I was busy workin' kid!) so the next few posts might leave you hangin' just a bit. But you'll see it all come together in the end, and it will be worth it. Yay.
There is a lot going on outside our window these days!

So we are putting in a fence.
I know fences aren't for everyone, but we wanted/needed one for a couple of reasons:
    While we have a nice size lot, we are still in a residential area/neighborhood. Our lot backs up to someone else's back yard, we have a neighbor's yard on one side and empty lots on the other, which will eventually have construction. We wanted a little bit of privacy from all that closeness. We like having neighbors, we like our neighbors... we just... needed a bit of back yard privacy.
    We have a dog and kiddos* (*will have plural kiddos in december, and don't know if we will be done with two... who knows???) and wanted a safe contained area for them to play unrestricted. Also we have utility boxes in the back corner of our lot, and didn't really want kiddos playing in that area.
So us, a fence `was the right choice. However, it's not only functional, but we just happen to think a nice cedar fence looks really pretty and raises your property value... and we needed to put in a yard, and so first, we needed to put in the fence.

Before you build a fence there are plenty of paperwork things you have to deal with-- drawing out plans, taking them to the city, getting a building permit, getting utilities marked, etc. Those are important code and safety issues, if you are DIYing your fence, make sure you do all your city requires first. You don't want any surprises or accidents later.

The project started by ripping out the neighbors fence. It was a 4 ft fence that was a little rickety and gross looking. We talked to our neighbor before starting, and actually ended up replacing not just the shared portion of the fence, but his entire fence as well. (He paid the boys for it... so it was a profit that we set aside for another project). They knocked out the panels and pulled the posts, and then we freecycled the fence parts... and it actually was claimed by some friends of our about a block away. Reuse, recycle, and giggle everytime you drive by and see that old fence on someone else's property, guys!

After getting that knocked over they rented a hole digger and started carefully digging around the perimeter. I say carefully because there were quite a few utility lines they were working around.

Oh, there are the utility boxes we were boxing out... heh
Once they had the holes dug, they started putting posts and the frame in place. Carefully, slowly pieceing it together, leveling, digging, leveling again... until it was all setting just so... and then they concreted the posts in and nailed the 2x4 frame to it. For the frame they used pressure treated posts and 2x4s.
Everyone say Hi to my dad!
My Brother in law and our friend James working hard!
Once the frame was solid, the boys got to work putting up the slats. These are cedar slats. They look pretty and smell awesome while you work-- just a nice bonus there. We decided to use a nail gun instead of screws for two reasons, cost and time! Even the the best way would probably be to screw every last slat on, the fencing screws do not come cheap. For the amount we needed, it was going to run us about $400. For screws. Crazy. The nails in the air pressure gun, however were about $50, and we were able to borrow the gun from a friend, and... boy is it fast! Pop! Pop! Pop! Pop! in each post and you are done, as opposed to four screws, even with a power drill we'd have been there for days.
So the boys threw up the slats... okay not so much threw as carefully placed and leveled, while my dad started assembling gates.
They worked from early early that morning, until late that night. You can see that it's getting dark in these pics... but my boys are hardcore, they were going to get it done!
Hey look, they are still smiling! Actually I think they are smiling because this is the last board in my husbands hands... and look what they let me do!
The golden spike! I got to nail in the very last board in the back corner that hooked the two sides of the fence together! Woot!
And... here's that part that I warned you about at the beginning. I'm going to leave you hanging. There were several projects going on at the same time here, and so I don't have a finished project pic of anything without giving away everything, and thats no fun. But we finished the fence that weekend... and it is really beautiful and there are more beautiful things to come! Are you excited? I'm excited.