That’s not all we’re doing over here! We’re doing a happy dance and celebrating the fence being done and that we finished it in record time!
With the help of a friend, we were able to get the back done in only two days, but we knew the East side would be a different story. It’s a lot longer and there were a lot of factors with the side fence that made things quite a bit more tricky.
Although we had the skid-steer to drill the holes it was still really difficult to drive it alongside the neighbors garage and drill straight down and right on target. Davin’s Dad (skid-steer operator extraordinaire) couldn’t lift the bit high enough to get it centered perfectly and angled just right for three of the post holes because we would have ended up taking the overhang of the neighbors garage right off, and we didn’t think they’d like that too much. Then we put him to the test again when we said that he was only allowed to drive forwards and backwards because if he turned the tires on the lawn it would tear it to bits and Davin and I would have a panic attack. He did a pretty alright job though and all the grass is still in tact. Two points for you, Tato!
Despite all of our best efforts though, the three post holes that were right along the garage weren’t perfectly straight so Davin and I had to use the patent-pending method of using an ice scraper and sledge hammer that him and Jordan invented while building the back. It sounds absurd, but it actually worked ridiculously well at cutting through the clay on whatever side of the hole that wasn’t straight. I’d also recommend it as an excellent trust-building exercise for couples…the one holding the ice scraper trusting that the one with the sledge hammer won’t swing, miss and kill her.
The slope at which the yard varies from the front to the back was another tricky part. It meant that when we were setting the posts in the holes some were in the ground 6-8″ or so more than others. So we didn’t worry about placing a string line to line up the tops of them because the varying depth of the post holes would dictate how high they sat. We just made sure that a minimum of 5′ was above ground then cut the tops so they were all level. Ryan thought it looked like fun so he offered to help with the last three posts (sucker!). Just kidding, we love you for helping, Ryan.
Because of the slope there was a difference of at least 12″ so by the time we got to the front there was a pretty hefty space between the ground and the bottom of the fence boards. It wasn’t the end of the world to us because next year’s deck will cover all of it, but we decide to fasten another bottom plate to keep debris from running from our yard onto the neighbors driveway since ours is a lot higher than theirs, and to keep Marles from sneaking out. We also did it this way because it would take a whole lot of black dirt to build up the grade level there which wouldn’t stay put anyways…the first rainfall it would all melt onto their driveway. So adding a third 2 x 10 made more sense. As for the middle sections where the gap isn’t nearly as bad but is still noticeable, we have plans on extending the landscape edging along the fence to where the deck will be. We’ll fill that space with black dirt and bulk bark chips which will cover the gap and prevent us from having to weed whack along the whole length of the fence.
We have such a love-hate relationship with our back gate and it’s embarrassing how much it got the best of us. It looks like it would be fairly simple and straight-forward, but we were running low on energy and had completely different ideas on what was square and level. I swear I almost made the executive decision to use a sheet of plywood to cover the opening if it meant we didn’t have to build the square frame anymore. It took us a short three hours to build the blasted thing so we obviously called it a day after that travesty. Lucky for us Tato took over the next day and helped Davin hang it so it fit perfectly and all the hardware lined up. Why is it that the easy stuff becomes the hard stuff after a big project? I swear saving the “easy stuff” for last doesn’t always work!
After the gate was finished I cut a square out of the existing landscaping to make a little “doorway” to it. I removed all of the bark chips, cut the landscape fabric, added edging on either side to separate the bark chips from the new rock, placed the landscape fabric back down then covered it with the same rock we used in the perennial garden.
Next in line to sitting back and enjoying the new fence (obviously our favorite part), we both agree that the best part to fence building is hanging the fence boards. It’s easy so they go up pretty darn fast and especially since it’s the last step and shows the most results, it was our favorite part. We set a goal for ourselves to have all of the boards on the side fence done in three hours, and four hours later it was done! (We didn’t really factor in the fancy work we had to do around the tree in the corner, the section we had to fasten to the house, or the insane heat that day which meant frequent sprinkler and drink breaks.)
I picked up two boxes of these dragon fly ornaments two years ago from a little shop in Saskatchewan knowing I’d have the perfect place for them eventually.
I’m sure some people are thinking that we built the fence “backwards” because the 2 x 10’s are on the inside of our yard. Most of the time people build it so that the top and bottom plate are on the outside of the fence and all you can see from the inside is the fence boards. But we actually chose to do it this way because I love this side so much more. I think it has way more character and I’ve always thought the “finished” side looks like a great big wall, especially when it’s a 6′ fence. It was easy to negotiate with the neighbors because they got the “finished” side from front to back, and neither of us wanted to alternate sections (where the finished side alternates every 8 feet).
Davin’s Mom, Edie, helped out by weeding the flowerbed. Marles was also as helpful as ever.
(Actually he was a huge distraction and kept sneaking out of the yard sans fence. Baaaaad Marles!)
Voila! This year’s overall backyard transformation! We still have the West fence to do, but we’re going to take a little break and tackle that this fall.