The first thing to fencing is pounding stakes into the ground, pulling mason string from one side to the other, then deciding where your posts will be (no more than 5’11” apart), marking them with a spray paint dot, and then digging the holes. I just love digging holes!
Remember for fencing, you really do want to check your local building codes so that you don’t put in a ton of work and either have to remove it or alter it to satisfy your city. There are also considerable fines that some cities will impose just for not consulting them first.
Since we have so many post holes to add for our fence, we rented a post hole digger from Home Depot once all of them were marked with spray paint. This sped up the process exponentially.
After my post holes were drilled, then the loose dirt removed, I am starting to set the posts in. My method for setting a post is to place it in the ground, make sure that it is deep enough for code, adding 2-3″ of pea gravel to the hole, set the post in, and place some braces on the post so it will stay in place until the cement is added and dries.
This is how I chose to brace the posts. I have pounded one stake into the ground and shot a framing nail into it with my nail gun, and then…
…while holding my post level, I move and shift the post until it is level on both sides and against my mason string. When those metrics are in place, I shoot another framing nail through the second brace to hold it in the right place. This post is now ready for cement with the pea gravel in place and being level and square with my line.
Now all of my posts are in place all the way around and cemented in. Since it has been 24 hours since I poured the cement, I added the braces where we wanted them to be. On this stretch of fencing, we are blocking out any visibility and have to step it down as it comes closer to the sidewalk. This will be done differently from the rest of the fence, which sounds wrong for a design, but I think it will turn out quite nicely.
After today I am fully done with the first side.
Here’s another shot of where we are so far after cleaning up my cut pieces. and sawdust. Please note the terribly ugly cement porch here also. That will be changing soon too!
After several more days, we are now here with the fence. The steps I took for this picture are:
- Pulled another mason string down the line of posts at the height we wanted, made sure it was level, then marked on the posts where the line crossed
- Cut all of the posts down to the marked line
- Added the outer cross beams on top and bottom of the fence panels
- Put the vertical lattice pieces in place with a finish nail gun
- Put the horizontal lattice pieces in place with a finish nail gun
- Added the inner cross beams on top and bottom of the fence panels
- Added a rail cap on top
These tasks took about a week or so to complete after working my regular job for 40 hours. It was especially long because each of the pieces of the lattice were cut from pressure treated 2X4’s to the specification I wanted to use. There was a lot of table-sawing happening in the past week! Does anyone want a mountain of sawdust for anything?
Here is another photo from the driveway. It’s looking good so far! If you are interested in more information about how I built the pergola, please see the fourth installment of our “Curb Appeal Facelift” posts HERE about how the pergola over the porch was done. I explain the how-to there in much better detail.
I added these two gates before we continue to stain. The lattice gate was made to look about like one of the panels when it is closed because it won’t be used a lot aside from rolling a lawn mower through it, etc.
The next step is staining everything. These are the first few panels. I injured my neck yesterday, so Tera is stepping in with the spray gun and getting it done like a champ!
Here she is blasting away. I am just sitting on the porch watching her with my hurt neck. I feel like a real gent when the neighbors are walking by looking at me sitting and drinking coffee and her sweating and spraying our fence with timber oil.
Now that everything is stained and the fence is completed, we also decided to add a new cement walkway. Some of the pavers were cracking on us, and some grass was growing through the pavers. This was undoubtedly because I tamped the pavers down too hard. Lesson learned there, through the loss of work and wasted money! We did really like the pavers though, so we outlined our walkway with the pavers that made it with no cracks.
We stained the cement with a penetrating cement stain, and it looks fabulous! I left a lot of the irregularities in the cement on purpose to give it more of an aged look, rather than a brand new look. The pavers edging the walkway also have polymeric sand in them now. Polymeric sand, if you aren’t familiar, is sort of the latest cool thing for pavers. You brush the sand into the spacing like you would with regular sand, then wet it down and it becomes hard and flexible in 24 hours. It’s like outdoor grout for your pavers, and I fully suggest using this when setting pavers. You can find it at Lowe’s, Home Depot, or any other home improvement store.
This is where we end this phase of the facelift. We are getting so close to being done, but two more large projects remain; the porch and the pergola. Please read the next “Curb Appeal Facelift” installment to see what else we came up with!
Click here to read “Curb Appeal Facelift Part 3: Covering the Porch in Pine”