Aug 30, 2010

A Little Bit of Privacy Fence

We finally put up the stockade fence between the back and side yard over the weekend. Of course I thought this project would only take an afternoon (a day at most) - which means of course it took almost 2 days.  To start we measured and lined up the fence to be flush with the back of the house and the fencing in the neighbor's yard.  While 14 ft of fence only requires 3 posts for 2 panels of fencing, we wanted a gate for side yard access so we had to dig 4 holes for 4 posts.  Since it was only 4 holes for 2 people, we skipped the renting or borrowing of a post hole digger or an auger.  Digging deep narrow holes wasn't the easiest thing we've ever done, but we managed fine.  It just took longer.

The holes required some tweaking with the shovel to get all the fence posts to be the same height in each hole, and even more tweaking to make sure that each post faced the exact same way along the line.  We mixed cement in our trusty wheel barrow (note: do NOT run the wheel barrow wheel over your toe while filled with cement) and shoveled it into the holes, leaving 3-4 inches at the top for dirt and sod to be filled back in. Each fence post required tiny adjustments to make sure that it was standing straight up in the cement, which we checked and rechecked with a level.

Once the cement set (and I was done icing my foot), we filled in the holes the rest of the way with dirt and sod and attached the fence pieces (cut to the correct lengths) to the posts with finishing nails.  This was Georgia's favorite part - she had a complete barking fit with each stroke of the hammer.  Then it got dark so we had to start the gate the following morning.

We had purchased an "adjust-a-gate" kit from Home Depot that is supposed to prevent sagging over time with its sturdy metal frame.  It wasn't hard to install, just time consuming.  For example drilling 1/2" pilot holes 3" into a post took a lot longer than I imagined.  It also produced a lot more wood smoke and burning than I imagined (note: do NOT touch the drill bit when it comes out of the smoking hole, it is hot and it will burn you and it is causing real wood smoke).  We put the metal gate brace together, iced my finger, installed the latch, added 2 pieces of 2x4s for nailing and then attached the remaining fence pieces (trimmed 1 inch at the bottom so the gate swings easily).  Done!

We are glad for the additional privacy in the backyard now and one less area Georgia can escape from. Our neighbors on this side want to put up privacy fencing in their backyard this spring - so hopefully the chain link will be gone over here in a matter of months. Right now the wood to chain link looks a bit jarring, but we're planning for the future. When we put the driveway gate up on the other side with stockade fencing, it will look better against the cedar fence our neighbors have.

Now we just have to decide how to finish it. We definitely agree we want to make it as easy and low maintenance as possible - but is that putting on a clear-coat of polyurethane or using a 2-in-1 stain and sealant?  And if we choose a stain, what color?


  1. Why put either a stain or varnish on? Let it weather. You may eventually realize how wonderful chain link fence is, especially when covered with green vinyl. I hope so !!!

  2. Bushes and shrubs can be arranged as tasteful decorations. A green giant tree offers more privacy and shade than any fence.