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Fire Drill Fence Building

September 20, 2011

There were so many things we could have never known or anticipated about our house—and even if we had known, we would have probably still bought it anyway.  Examples?  The water pipes blowing up in the front yard two weeks after we moved in.  The fact that the entire house is tiled in 19” imported tile that can’t be found ANYWHERE should we want to remodel at all.  The fact that the furnace had a gas leak.  Oh yeah. And that the houses on both sides of us have renters.

Yup.  Lucky us.  We don’t have anything against renters (we were there ourselves), and there are definitely good ones—like sweet old Alma and Alfredo (seriously…how adorable!) who used to live next door and were the kindest, gentlest little couple.  Or the next door neighbors next to us now who have the cutest little family.  Renters who take care of their property.  Renters who pull their own weeds, who might actually chip in some of their own money to water the grass a little extra so that it stays alive.  Those kind of renters we like.  The ones with domestic disturbance calls, who park their leaking trucks in front of your house, park their car so that it hangs over INTO your driveway, and who may, or may not have shot a gun into their television set and then left it sitting in the street for over a week (okay, they did)–those kind of renters?  We can do without them!!!!  So, when the latest renters moved out, we did what I call “FIRE DRILL FENCE BUILDING!”

What does it mean?  It means that the rental next door is empty, we don’t know when the next people are moving in, and we DESPERATELY need some privacy, so we better build a fence and fast!  Here’s why:

Yeah, that’s me standing in our next door neighbor’s backyard, looking down into our own backyard.  Beyond the fact that we really wanted to be able to sit naked in the backyard during our nightly barbeques (just kidding, guys!), the fact that they could see directly into our master bedroom sitting was also a drawback.

Yup, that was our view from the master bedroom.  They had a clear shot looking into our master bedroom, so we constantly left the curtains closed, and that resulted in a gloomy feel in our master sitting room.

Okay, so maybe building the fence has a whole lot less to do with having weird neighbors than us actually just desiring privacy, but I now that I typed that whole thing, I’m not deleting it.

Anyway, the existing fence was about 3 feet tall, and we decided to add three feet of solid fence to the top to create a little more privacy.  The only problem?  The existing stone wall was falling apart.

So we started by rebuilding the fence (I’m quite the stone mason), and by knocking off those stone caps that were holding the lattice in.  Of course, those stone caps were filled with concrete and rebar, and knocking them off may have incidentally resulted in us breaking some stones underneath.  Off to the store we went.  3.5 hours later, the stone fence was entirely repaired, and ready for us to begin mounting the fence to the stone wall.

I won’t bore you with all the details and the how-to’s, but let me tell you that we can build a mean fence.  After three and a half hours of repairing the fence, we were slightly short on patience when it came to drilling through concrete stones to sink in 7” butterfly bolts to secure the metal post bases.  I am not exaggerating (read: only slightly exaggerating) when I say it took 20 minutes to drill each hole.

There were 7.  We each took turns, but it was beyond exhausting.  And by the end of the first day, we finally had the stone wall repaired, and the metal post bases mounted.  It was about an 8 hour day, and we were d.o.n.e.

Day 2 brought us securing the posts to the metal bases, and building the structure to support the fence.  Please note that my look of extreme concentration in the picture below is a result of the fact that I am such a pro with the drill that I hold the next screw in my mouth so that I’m ready.  Yep, it was about two minutes after this picture that I was quoted as saying I need my own drill.  That way we could work faster, because we could both work at the same time!

After we had all the supports secured, we had something that looked like this: (Side note–poor, sad Homer and Bertha…I just don’t know where we went wrong).

To give you a frame of reference for the height of the new fence:

Then, finally, came the fun part!  I’m not even kidding.  Once the support structure was built, the rest of this probably took about two hours.  I suppose at this point I should also point out that the fence runs 42 FEET LONG on the side of the house.  This is no small fence.  It’s more like the Great Wall of China now.

I was responsible for cutting the boards, while Chris screwed them all to the fence structure.  (Shout out to my sister and bro-in-law who gave me my SMOKIN’ hot pink safety glasses for Christmas last year.  Love those babies!)  I should also point out that we determined the height of the fence by figuring out how we could cut the fence boards directly in half to save money.  So, rather than needing to buy 87 fence slats, we only bought 44.  I am so brilliant clever.

And by the end of day 2, we had this:

We still need to attach a lattice to the top so that it matches the rest of the fence in the backyard, and then we’ll need to paint it white. (Well, technically we’ve already built the lattice…I just need to tell you about it!).

For now?  I’m totally walking around naked in the backyard.  Bahahahahaha.  Just kidding.  But I am enjoying keeping the curtains open in the master bedroom!

7 Comments leave one →
  1. Vicki permalink
    September 20, 2011 9:41 pm

    You guys are amazing! It looks great be sure to post the finished pics with the lattice

  2. Mom permalink
    September 21, 2011 5:28 am

    THAT was quite a project! It looks wonderful, and I’m sure the added privacy makes it well worth the effort!

  3. Mandi permalink
    September 21, 2011 6:54 am

    That looks awesome! Great job! And yay for keeping curtains open. I hate having to shut curtains!

    By the way, I have a few palm trees out front if you want them. We already got rid of the bigger ones (as in 10+’ tall) but I have three smaller ones that you are welcome to take. We plan on getting rid of them eventually anyway, because I hate palm trees in my own yard. (I don’t mind palm trees elsewhere, just not in my yard.)

  4. Jen permalink
    September 21, 2011 7:05 am

    Awesome job guys! It looks great!

  5. Barbara Pond permalink
    September 21, 2011 9:05 pm

    Wow, you guys amaze me with all your talents! The fence looks so professional and certainly adds ambiance to the back yard–I’m sad about Homer and Bertha–gee could it be they are still trying to root–ha!
    Way to go: Katie I love your writing style–I get the giggles reading it!


  6. September 28, 2011 1:54 pm

    You both crack me up and I love reading what you’ve done! It’s so great that you’ve spent so much time working on a home TOGETHER. And documenting it is SO smart. Your kids, should you choose to have them!, will look back some day and LOVE seeing what they’re parents did and poke fun at all the prices and tools you’re using. I sometimes wish I’d blogged all our repairs too, but kudos to you. xo

    P.S. As for Homer and Bertha…did you plant them? Are they wet? Dry? So Sad. Too bad you don’t know a tree person. 😉

  7. Mom permalink
    June 29, 2012 4:44 am

    It would appear that no new projects have occurred at your home for quite some time. I miss reading your posts! We never saw pictures of the finished fence, Nor have we heard the lattice story…..

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