The Fence, Part I

Brooke here.

A few weeks ago, we received notification from the city that our Crazy Poet Disasterhouse had been reappraised at much more than we had paid for it.  I floated on a cloud for about three days, thinking our hard work had finally paid off (hey, I don’t know how the government does this stuff), then I read the article where realtors and taxpayers were up in arms about the underhanded way that Greensboro was increasing its tax revenue via property overvaluation.

Okay, well, we haven’t caught a break since last September so this didn’t really surprise us.  However, we are planning to get the house reappraised for purposes of Interest Rate Magic, so all of our projects have been evaluated on the basis of a return on our investment.

The fence is one project that will add substantial value to the house as a decorative feature, a dog containment unit, and a barrier to keep uninvited yahoos from falling in the pool.  Sadly, it has been an ongoing major project for almost a year.  I think we poured the concrete for the posts the last Fourth of July, but budget and other chores sucked up our resources.  Weekends since February have been a series of rainstorms and family events, but we are finally making some solid progress.

fence sections design
Two sections of the fence. Posts (light brown, vertical), rails (light brown, horizontal) and slats (dark brown, vertical) are in place. Once the main sections are done, a series of smaller support rails will be added along the bottom third of the slats as a design element and to keep the slats from warping.

The fence has been a task of the sort that requires a Greek hero to fetch a river.  Last June, I nearly lost a toe and crippled our friend Steve when a two-man auger threw me a dozen feet.  We hurled the rented auger back at Home Depot and dared them to give us something with more housepower, and they double-dog-dared us to rent a skid loader.

We then triple-dog-dared Home Depot to rent it to us for free, but they chickened out and said they'd rather kiss Cindy Lee Kurpupple, cooties and all.

We then drilled some holes for the posts.

And we found the Pacific Ocean and thereafter could list the house as beachfront property.

I used a Sherman Williams Solid Color stain on the posts before we did anything with them.  I have a serious tool crush on this stain (a tool crush is when you fall passionately in love with a product and nobody can tell you there’s a better alternative out there because you know this is REAL, man, it’s FOREVER, and you are so going to the Prom with this Husqvarna chainsaw and you will be married and he will get a job as a doctor and you can stay home and lose fingers changing diapers and oh God maybe you’d be better off adopting because, well, involuntary caesarean and this analogy ran the heck away from me, didn’t it?).  Anyhow, it’s… really good stain.  It’s so opaque it might as well be paint.

We used eleven eight-foot 4″x6″ timbers for the posts, and two twelve-foot 6″x6″ timbers as the main gate supports.  The smaller timbers were cemented at a 20″ depth, and the gate supports were cemented at a 32″ depth.  After the fence is up and the gate is in place, we’ll run a small decorative pergola across the top.  The pergola will sit approximately eight feet off of the ground, which sounds atypically high but we carefully reverse-engineered its height a bare 6″ from the top of the head of our tallest friend.  Poor Drew has too many concussions as it is.

We drymounted (SHUT UP IT IS A TERM!) the poles before setting them in concrete to make sure the depth of each hole was sufficient for long-term structural support.


Then we poured a 6″ bed of gravel for drainage at the bottom of each hole, taped wax paper around the wood to keep it from getting stained by the concrete, and poured the concrete while using a post leveler to seat the posts.

Paper, rock... no scissors? We need to go back and dome some of the holes to keep water from pooling against the wood.

And then we had the makings of a fence!  And then we couldn’t finish it, so I strung up some orange construction mesh and we were loathed by our neighbors for nine months.  But that’s okay because you could barely see the orange from under the ivy and they don’t like us anyway because we bring down their property values.  Or we would, if the city wasn’t being weird.

Next blog entry, prepping and seating the body of the fence!

3 thoughts on “The Fence, Part I

  1. Didn’t realize you were going to do a pergola along with everything elsel. That’s on my list of things to do, after single-handedly clearing out a Brazilian pepper-encrusted acre of swampland for a butterfly garden, penning a blockbuster film script, and finding a literary agent with an attention span longer greater than three syllables in length.

    One thing I can’t decide on, for the pergola that is, is whether to sink the supporting posts first or pour the concrete foundation and just drill into it and attach the posts above ground using steel anchors. I’d also been wondering if I should include a brick perimeter around waist height to help separate it from the rest of the yard. Aesthetically, it might be pleasing, but it would catch errant leaves and such and I’d have to worry about people not looking where they’re going and tumbling over it.

    How are you liking that chainsaw? I’ve never used Husqvarna before. I’ve got a Poulan Wild Thing 40cc, which was an absolute pain to get started until I found a gas company that sells gas without ethanol (and replaced the fuel line the ethanol had eaten through). But now that it’s getting close to 20 hours of use a week, it’s starting to fall apart on me. Had to strip down the carburetor and tweak it simply because the idle speed and running speed settings changed for absolutely no reason whatsoever. I’m anticipating having to buy a new saw soon, and had heard Echo was an excellent brand to go with because of their safety features, warranty, and part quality. Any familiarity with it?

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