New Fence, OMG OMG OMG.

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One thing that has been on my hit list since the very first time I saw my house was the old chain-link fence surrounding most of my lot. It was busted up, broken down, super hideous, provided no privacy, made the street look like a prison—it had to get GONE. I DIY’d a little over 30 feet of new wood fencing in the front yard last summer, and one of my major goals for this summer was to do the rest of the fence to match! I have to say, though—more than anything, building that section of fencing taught me that I really didn’t want to build the remaining 200-ish feet myself. Fences are one of those things that are deceptively difficult—the labor part of hauling and digging and pouring bags of concrete and all that is pretty hard, of course, but even if you’re up for that it’s difficult to get all the posts and pickets even and level, deal with whatever slope the land might have, build and hang gates…you get the idea. I think it could have easily taken me all summer, been intensely miserable, still expensive (the materials cost alone would have been in the $2,300 range)…all the while running the risk of ending up with a pretty amateurish result. This was one for the pros.

So, I hired some from an exotic land called Lowe’s! Lowe’s has a great installation service department for all sorts of things—from simple stuff like hanging blinds and installing a toilet to complex jobs like building decks, redoing roofing, installing HVAC systems…and fencing! The process goes like this: the representative from the local store comes out and takes measurements, evaluates the project, and provides a quote. I got my quote on the spot—just under $5,000, in case you’re curious. That’s actually a little less than I expected to spend here—it’s a ton of yard!

After deciding to move forward, I asked to meet with the contractor beforehand both times to go over everything step-by-step and make sure he understood my concerns, noted any particular challenges and custom requests. They were very accommodating—the Lowe’s rep came out with the contractor and they gave me lots of time to fret about stuff. Then they scheduled the job, delivered all the supplies the day before, and then the crew showed up early the next day with everything they needed to get to work!

I think there are a few major advantages to all of this. The quote turnaround is fast on this stuff—like, same day or the next day. Even more importantly, all of the pricing is regulated—for example, roofing has a fixed rate for each square of roofing (materials and labor), and fencing is calculated by linear foot. There isn’t any room for guesswork or some dude thinking you can afford a $10,000 fence because you’re wearing jeans that aren’t full of holes and covered in paint that day—it’s just a simple, standardized formula. Even if you don’t end up hiring them, I think getting a quote like that is really helpful just to give yourself a benchmark of around what you should expect to spend on a given project.

The contractors, by the way, aren’t exclusively Lowe’s contractors—instead, Lowe’s finds great local contractors to team up with, so the people performing the work have their own companies, years of experience, and do a mix of Lowe’s jobs and things they’ve been hired for privately outside of their arrangement with Lowe’s. I guess I always assumed doing a job like this through a big box store would get me a big-box contractor, which to me would seem like kind of a gamble, but that’s not the case. The advantage is that Lowe’s provides guarantees and warranties on the work and are very careful about installing to the manufacturer recommendations so that your warranty on materials doesn’t get voided. If they under-order supplies for whatever reason, there’s no charge for the extra supplies needed to finish the job, and if they over-order by accident, you get a refund for the excess materials and associated labor costs. Nice!

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ANYWAY, shall we recall the Asphalt & Chain-Link Special that was my backyard upon moving into the house? Man. I give myself a hard time about the backyard still looking pretty rough and not getting a ton of attention until now, but it’s actually come a long way! All the asphalt got hauled out last summer—which was a big, expensive project with lasting ramifications to the overall drainage and grading to the yard, which I’m now trying to correct—but I don’t regret it for a minute!

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When thinking about the backyard, the fence kind of seemed like it HAD to be the next step. The chain-link was unsightly, yes, but it was also a security issue for the dogs and knowing that it needed to be replaced ASAP kind of stalled much else from happening. I didn’t want to plant anything or try to put any real effort into the landscaping since I knew it would all get trampled and messed up with the fence replacement—anyway, just like getting the asphalt out, getting the new fence up would kind of complete the fundamental changes to the yard and allow the real progress to begin. It only took two years! Ha.

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Demo actually started with my neighbor Nancy’s old, rotted fence, which I agreed to just go ahead and do for her. If you’re doing a new fence, it’s definitely worth it to discuss your plans with any neighbors that you share a side with (especially if you might be able to split the cost!). Nancy and I agreed that it was stupid to have two separate fences (that little space between them was a mess of creepers and stuff and was impossible for either of us to maintain), and so we discussed exactly what both of us wanted out of the new fence and all that—she was so great and flexible and even told me I should have the “good” side facing my backyard instead of hers! So sweet. Doing that seemed kind of shitty but the offer was so kind!

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The Lowe’s contractor gave me the option of having the crew demo out the old fence, but I think demo was $5 per linear foot (I don’t know if prices vary on this stuff depending on where you are), so at 200 feet of fencing that would have tacked about $1,000 onto the price. The nice thing about the old fence was that demo was pretty easy—a few snips with some bolt cutters, rolling up the chain-link into manageable rolls, disassembling the gates and stuff…it took a couple days and three runs to the scrap yard and the fence was more or less gone! Only 4 of the many posts were actually held in with concrete, so that made things significantly easier. I think I made back all of about $150 in scrap metal, too, because I’m fancy like that.

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BOOM, there she is! Lowe’s delivered all the supplies the day before the install, as promised, which was so exciting! Delivery was super fast and painless—they just neatly left everything in the yard where I told them to.

By the way, the fence that I built was the same picket style (“dog-ear”), but mine is made of cedar and this is pressure-treated lumber. Cedar was an option, too, but PT was a bit less expensive and the Lowe’s salesperson said it would last longer. Since it’s all getting stained black anyway, I figured it didn’t matter much either way.

The other major difference is that my fence was made of pre-assembled panels, and this one was built all on-site! The panels have their pros and cons but ultimately the new fence seems sturdier and more custom than my attempt. The horizontal rails that the pickets get nailed into are 2x3s on the panels, but they used 2x4s on the new fence. Does anyone care about this level of minutia? The point is that the new fence is sturdier and will probably last longer than what I cobbled together, and makes me doubly glad I hired this one out.

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The night before the install, I had all manner of crazy nightmares. I dreamt that the crew thought they were supposed to demo all the fencing, so they hauled away my original cast iron fence in the front to the dump while I was distracted with something. I also dreamt that there was a misunderstanding and instead of a 6 foot fence, I got a 12-foot fence with barbed wire all along the top, which sort of defeated the purpose of trying to beautify the street a bit. You could say I have some trust and control issues.

I’m not really sure what I was expecting from the crew, but I kind of assumed they’d just move super fast, want to get in and get out, and maybe not be the most attentive to detail. I accepted that this was maybe the price of not DIY-ing, and that it was OK…at this point I just REALLY wanted a fence and as long as it looked OK and was sturdy and secure, I’d be fine with it.

WELL. I’m a jerk. The crew was so great. They let me change my mind about a couple of things after the install had started, which involved them having to pull and re-set a couple of posts, and they were just super friendly and accommodating throughout.

They made REALLY good time, too, but they were also so super attentive to detail that I kept having to stop myself from telling them to chill out! It was super weird that they seemed to care more about how my fence turned out than I did, but I’m pretty sure they did.

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Setting all of the posts took most of the first day. They made sure each one was level and square and all that. They used a manual post hole digger to dig all of the holes (I assumed they’d use one of those huge augers, but nope!) and finished each one off with an 80-pound bag of Quikrete.

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One thing that surprised me was that they didn’t use any water for the concrete—they said that after 20+ years of doing this, they could confidently assure me that the concrete would suck in moisture from the soil and rain and stuff and be totally solid in about a week. They offered to use water if it would make me feel better, but I figured they knew what they were doing and I should just back off and let them do their jobs. They were totally right, by the way…the fence had a little flex for the first few days but now it’s solid as a rock!

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Posts! Posts! Posts! I’m sure this is not that exciting for anyone except me, but look at those guys! Perfection.

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Oh hey, foxy fence guy. Don’t mind me.

After the posts were set, it was time to install the horizontal rails! These are pressure-treated 2x4s. Typically these get screwed to the front of the posts, but I think suspending them between posts looks so much nicer and more custom once the pickets are up. I was really worried that they wouldn’t be able/willing to accommodate this little detail, but the contractor didn’t bat an eye when I asked. Instead of using metal L-brackets like I did last summer, they just used long exterior decking screws driven in at an angle to affix the rails to the posts. Why didn’t I think of that? I feel stupid.

Things were looking a little wonky at this stage because they were very careful about following the overall slope of the yard—it looks kind of like a mistake but it isn’t. The horizontal rails won’t be level because of this, but you only see them from the inside of the yard and that’s kind of just how it is. The pickets all look level and awesome from the outside, so no complaints! I think the black stain will help sort of hide the unevenness from the inside, anyway. As the rails were going up, the posts got re-adjusted and checked again so everything was right. If some of the posts had to go down a little bit to get the angles right, the guys just gave them a few hard hits to the top with a small sledgehammer. Good job, dudes!

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Pickets! The crew pulled pickets for each section of fencing and leaned them against the rails to keep everything moving efficiently. I thought the pickets would go up really really fast, but they really took their time on these, too. Serious business.

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I’d say each individual picket took almost a minute to place. There was lots and lots of checking to make sure they were level and everything was just right.

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Then there was more checking…and more checking…

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After all the checking and double-checking and triple-checking, the pickets got nailed up! They used cordless nail guns for this. Pew, pew!

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Some pickets got scrapped for having large knots or even just little splits, which I guess would probably grow over time. I just can’t say enough how impressed I am with the level of detail. They left me the leftover pickets in case I wanted to use them for anything, which was pretty cool. They also offered to haul them away, for the record, but I figured I might need them for something.

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See that panel on the right, where there’s a skinny little piece missing? I thought that was pretty smart—instead of ending a section on a short piece, they ended on a full picket and then shaved one down for the second-to-last picket. Your eye doesn’t notice it nearly as much as if they’d ended on the run on a little picket! Clever, clever.

So day 2 ended and they didn’t quite finish, which they expected to. 200 feet of fencing including 2 walk gates and a 10-foot drive gate—totally understandable! This was a Friday so I assumed they’d come back Monday to finish the job, which wasn’t altogether ideal but totally normal and fine. Nope! Those dudes came back early Saturday morning, built and hung the gates and finished nailing up the remaining pickets.

The very last step was going around and sawing off the tops of all of the posts to be the same height. They did it with a big circular saw and just did such a nice job—this way, the fence appears totally level and all the post caps will sit at the same height and look uniform and perfect and stuff. By the way, the post caps aren’t included in the fence—there was an option to add them but they added to the labor cost, too, so I opted to just buy them myself and affix them after the fence is stained. That part is super easy so it didn’t seem worth paying for.

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CHECK. IT. OUT.

I MEAN SERIOUSLY, CHECK IT OUT. Ignore how insane the yard itself looks—I’m working on it. Let’s just focus on the fence. Here it is right after the dudes left.

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And here’s a wider shot from yesterday morning! I’ve been hard at work trying to level out the soil and figure out how much fill dirt I need to haul up in here, so that’s why the yard is basically a massive dustbowl. I’m so luck that my dogs couldn’t be less fussy and don’t care, but I can’t wait to get some landscaping happening because the amount of dirt and dust that gets tracked into the house is pretty appalling with the yard in this state.

ANYWAY!

I love my fence! My neighbors love my fence! I’m so excited about my fence. It changes EVERYTHING. Getting rid of all the chain link is such an immediate improvement, I can’t even really describe it. All of a sudden the house looks nice! I mean, as nice as it can given the various states of construction ad renovation and general craziness. Wait till you see the mudroom. (OH WAIT IT’S GONE)

Because the wood is pressure-treated, you’re supposed to let it dry out for a while before painting or staining, so that’s why it isn’t black yet. Did you think I wasn’t gonna do it? I’m totally going to do it. I’m planning to use the same Cabot brand opaque black stain that I used on my little section last year. Pressure-treated wood fades to a yucky green-ish grey over time, so doing something to it is sort of important, even if it looks kind of nice when it first goes up. I really recommend opaque stains over paints if you want a solid color look—paint will invariably peel and chip and look crappy after a few years and need a whole lot more maintenance.

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One area that feels particularly improved is the side of the garage that faces the street! I know that the wood in contrast with the black looks nice right now, but I think given how the wood will weather and in combo with the house, staining it is the best option long-term. One last minute (morning-of, really) decision was to set the whole fence back about 2 feet from the sidewalk, so the plan is to plant out the space between the fence and the sidewalk with all sorts of stuff to soften things a bit. The intention here is not to make the house look like a fortress, so I think getting some tall/climbing plants going will do a lot for making the whole thing feel friendly and pretty instead of big and overbearing and all that.

(And yes, the garage has exterior lights! I’ve been working a lot on the garage. They aren’t actually attached to power yet but that’s coming soon!)

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One thing to be aware of with pressure-treated lumber is that it takes several months for it to dry out. I didn’t want to post too quickly about the fence because I knew it would change a little as time went on and I wanted to reserve judgment until I felt like I had an accurate idea of how it would look long-term. These pickets were butted up right next to each other when the fence went up, but now that it’s been about six weeks, they’ve shrunk down somewhat and now there are little gaps between them. I’m TOTALLY fine with that—actually, I prefer it—but if you’re looking to have even more privacy, you probably want to let the wood dry out between delivery and install or use cedar, which will still expand and contract, but shouldn’t shrink permanently like this.

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The trash area behind the garage feels enormous, by the way. I need to figure out the best way to use it. The big gap under the gate is temporary—I’ll be bringing in some kind of paving solution so it’ll get built up with a few inches of paver base and then whatever’s on top. I have to start making decisions!

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Look, the new fence even makes Linus look fresh! Could that dog be any cuter? He’s such a little rascal.

Going from a 16′ drive gate down to a polite 10′ one is really a nice change, and the fact that it’s level and not broken all over the place is obviously a relief. Soil here also has to get built up somewhat to address the grading issues—I’m really happy that the guys understood this and installed the fence with the new soil level as a guide instead of how things are now. I have to move so much dirt, omg. Pls pray.

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The pickets of the new fence are slightly longer, weirdly, than the one that I did, so the guys even screwed an extra piece of 4×4 to the top of the last post to bring it up to the same height as the rest of the posts! I love that. Once it’s all stained, nobody will ever notice that little add-on, but it was so sweet that they did it.

So there it is! I’m thrilled with the fence and just so excited that I can move onto the next steps with the exterior of my house now. The dogs are loving their new-old yard—Mekko is so much more at ease without feeling like she has to patrol the perimeter all the time, and Linus can’t slip out anymore! I still never leave them in the yard unattended, but it’s still brought so much peace of mind. Everybody’s happy.

This post is sponsored by Lowe’s! None of this would have been possible without them, and I’m so beyond grateful. Thank you for supporting my sponsors! 

 


115 Comments

  1. Fantastic fence! I’m about to do the same thing at our place- the fence is just too epic for us to tackle alone, so I’m handing it over to the contractor. Will do everything to help of course (like sipping G&Ts in the shade while supervising!). I’m looking forward to seeing the black stain!

  2. Yay! Amazing! Such a good call to have the fence set back a couple feet. You’ll bring a lot of joy to people walking by with kids and dogs. That elbow room makes a big difference and you look a lot friendlier. Are you thinking of getting the garage ready to keep your car or are you just planning to stick with the gate?

    • I’m so glad we set the fence back!! I think it’ll make all the difference. I kind of wish I had set it back more (I just went with the width of the curb strip on the other side…), but at least it isn’t right up next to the sidewalk. Thank you!

      I actually just bought a small (small being relative…it seems huge!) trailer for the back of my car so I can haul debris/soil/lumber/whatever), so honestly that will probably live in the garage most of the time. In the winter I’ll probably have to move it out to the driveway and leave it open for the car, but I park on the street 99% of the time, honestly…there’s no shortage of street parking here and it’s easier than hopping out and opening the gate or lifting the garage door. Maybe someday I’ll get the garage door remote-controlled…and own a pick-up truck. :)

    • You will also welcome the fence setback when you have to shovel snow off the sidewalk in the winter. One of my neighbors has a 4 ft fence bordering their side of our shared driveway and i have to lift the snow over. That wouldn’t even be an option with a 6 ft fence so I guess your snow would go in the street (which municipalities hate).
      And in reply to your reply, since you already have a “modern” garage door, it won’t be much work or expense to add an automatic opener once you have power out there. I put one in my last house (1952 vintage) but my current garage has carriage doors.

      • That’s so true about the snow!

        It would be so fancy to install an automatic garage door! We’re roughing in electric now so I’ll look into what’s required for it and at least do a run of cable for now so that it’s ready to go. It would be so novel to park the car in the garage, ha!

  3. OMG love it! It looks amazing!!! I also had no idea PT wood would shrink that much, that’s good to know (although like you I actually like the little gaps).

  4. Looks great, Mister!

    A

  5. FENCE!!! FENCE!!! FENCE!!!

    It looks awesome, dude. Well done hiring this one out. (And I love how you did a before-and-after shot with Linus in both, hahaha. Picturing you plucking him and sticking in the same spot and telling him to stay while you took the photo…)

  6. Love, love, love it! I really wish pressure treated wood didn’t turn that gross green color over time because the natural wood looks so great next to the black garage. I love that section of black fence you did last summer though, so I’m sure it will all be wonderful in the end!

    • I know! It doesn’t always…sometimes it fades to a nice grey and looks fine, but I think here the stain will be good here. Even if it faded well I don’t think this is the place for it, ya know? I’m sure it’ll look a little…intense until I can get some plants going to soften it up, but sometimes I have to just be patient and remember what I’m working toward.

  7. to be honest – my European eyes have a bit of a problem to get used to the massivness and total closure of the wood wall – not something you would have or even be allowed in many places by building code. But it sures makes everything so much neater.

    I cracked up when seeing the second photo with the guy with the blue T-Shirt. Where did he get that from? It’s the working ware of people working at Swiss airports ;-))))) The world is a small place where even T-Shirts get to to travel on their own ;-)))))

    • That’s interesting! I guess Americans ARE really into big fences…this one is totally standard at 6 feet. It’s been sort of weird for my eyes to adjust to it, too—it does feel very tall and it’s odd not being able to see through it, but I think that’s also an effect of the whole yard being so barren. I’m getting used to it, though!

      I have no idea about the t-shirt! Too funny!

      • I love that it’s high, my garden (in France) has an 8 foot stone wall surrounding it, I love the fact that it isolates me totally, I need that kind of privacy.

    • I thought the same thing. For my eyes the height makes it a bit prison-like. In my country the fences are usually at waist-height or some houses have a dense hedge as a fence. ;))

      But otherwise it’s definitely a BIG improvement to the chainfence!

    • Heh. I thought the same, and noticed the t-shirt. But I also noticed the Volbeat tour t-shirt. It’s a danish band, and I didn’t even know they’d toured the USA :-)

      The gap between the planks are quite a nice feature, and I don’t think I’ve seen high, wooden fences without them here. They’re clever, because you can see people walking past, but they have to stop and stare to look in.

      Re drain; one of the neighbouring houses in my hamlet has had drainpipes installed in their garden. Makes a huge difference. No need to fret too much over the sloping of the top, if you’ve dug the proper depth for the pipes. It’s also beneficial for plants (and grass).

      Water table illustration: http://i.imgur.com/l1OI4cG.png

      • The height thing never really occurred to me! When the fence first went up I sort of wished I had done 5 feet instead of the standard 6, but I’m getting used to it. Anything much lower would be kind of an issue for Mekko since she can jump super high (she can hop the wrought iron fence out front easily, and that’s 39″ high), but I will say the 6 feet really does make the backyard feel private. I like my neighbors and my neighborhood but I’ll admit that I can get more done now that everyone can’t see me all the time! People love to stop and chat, which I LOVE about living here but can also get kind of distracting! :)

      • I’m 100 % on your side, Dan, but was just weighing in on the cultural differences between the continents. _“the standard 6 feet (1,83 m)”_ :-P

        As you know, I’ve bought a remote watermill in France, to get away from everyone. But because it’s a beautiful historical site (when I’m done), people love to lean across the fence. I moved here for privacy, so this really annoys me. So I have considered electrifying the fence, or grinding the top razor-shart (for fun), but I have never considered building a higher fence :-) It’s just not done. Maike used the word “prison”, which is very apt. Few private gardens have 6 feet fences, and they serve the same purpose as a signpost saying “illegal activities being conducted, please look away!”

        That said, it looks gorgeous in your garden, and I’d deffo done the same … if I was in Kingston ;-) On a slightly tangent node, I laughed when I read the last minute decision to “set the whole fence back about 2 feet from the sidewalk”. It’s sweet that you (pl.) are allowed to do that voluntarily. As other europeans here have pointed out, the position of our fences are regulated to within a few millimetres. Always backed from the pavement (tradition), and often a determined height, type and colour (by rules of the road community, public councils or other authorities).

        I’d love to drive you across our continent, and show you the architectural history, customs and practises.

  8. This is seriously so inspiring and such a relief to me. My fence is SO UGLY – you thought yours looked sketch, mine is wayyy worse. It’s a combination of old chain link rails and that roll-out metal stuff that’s used to keep deer out of gardens, and the gate is a chain link gate laid sideways and tied on with metal wire. I’d been worried that going with Lowe’s vs. a $$$ custom fence company in town would give me a crappy fence in the end, but this looks amazing!

    • Oh man…well, the worse the before, the more gratifying the after, right?! People do get awfully creative when it comes to fencing and barriers in general.

      And hey, it might end up being the same contractor! There aren’t many fence people in Kingston so I’m pretty sure Lowe’s only works with the one guy here, but he also does a lot of work outside of his set-up with Lowe’s. Obviously I can’t speak to ALL Lowe’s installation service contractors/fences, but I really did have a great experience with this one—everyone was friendly, super polite, professional…kind of everything you want, really. Ultimately you have to be comfortable with whoever’s doing work on your house—I wouldn’t have done this at all if I didn’t have a good feeling about the Lowe’s guy! I’m glad it paid off :)

  9. Love the fence! I’ve been wanting to kick our chain link fence to the curb also, but that’s looking like a project for next summer. Too much going on inside this year to think about the outside yet. Thankfully i’m only dealing with a small city lot – your yard looks HUGE!

    • Oh, I get it! This is summer #3 in the house and I didn’t even TOUCH the backyard, aside from some clean-up, until last summer. This is definitely the biggest thing that’s happened outside. You”ll get there!!

      My yard is pretty big, yeah! The entire lot is 75 x 100 feet, which is very large for Kingston. It’s one of the reasons I really wanted to buy this house—I love that I still live in a dense urban area but have enough yard to be thinking about where I’m going to plant stuff, where I can entertain, where I can grow vegetables, where the dogs can run around, blah blah blah. I really lucked out!

  10. AMAZING!!! PS you have converted me into a Lowe’s girl. I used to be a total Home Depot gal… no more! CONGRATS ON THE FENCE!!!

    • My evil plan is working! Ha! I really do love Lowe’s, though—I wouldn’t work with them otherwise! I’ve shopped a lot at both places in my life, and I feel very strongly that Lowe’s really excels not only in the range and quality of products offered, but also the helpfulness/friendliness of employees and just generally providing a better experience for consumers. When you end up going to a place several times a week (and sometimes several times a day!), that makes a huge difference!

      (and thank you!!!)

      • I agree about Lowe’s having a much better shopping experience and a better selection of stuff. I have a Home Depot a couple of miles from my house and a Lowe’s probably 10 miles from my house, and I’d much rather go to the Lowe’s if I need anything more than the most basic of materials.

  11. God that fence looks so good. I can’t wait to see it stained. The garage is already looking fantastic. I absolutely hate chain fencing amd still wonder why the person responsible for their popularity isn’t locked away somewhere being tortured. Hello, foxy fence guy.

  12. OMG. That garage shot almost made me cry. So gorgeous.
    But now I’m obsessing about the mud room. I can’t wait to hear about how that went!

  13. Woohoo! The garage looks like it could use some sort of contrast once the fence is black too, but I’m sure you’ve already got a plan for that.

    • I don’t really have a plan for it! Maybe I’ll hang a flag on it. I think it’ll make more sense when you can see the garage/fence/house all together (I didn’t post it here because of the mudroom and stuff…that’s definitely its own post…) in terms of how the garage and fence kinda disappear, which was the plan all along. It’ll probably be a few years before it starts to look really good (plants in the ground, major exterior work to the house, etc.), but it’s a start! I can always change stuff on the garage if it ends up falling flat…it’s only paint and lighting :)

  14. It looks incredible! I love the black and white exterior plan, it’s going to be just splendid.
    Out of curiosity, what’s your main concern with leaving the dogs out unattended? I never leave mine out alone, either, but it’s mostly because she’s remarkably loud for such a not-huge dog and my neighbors probably don’t appreciate her “protecting” the heck out of our yard at all hours, but once we have the barking under control, I wondered if it’s not kinder to let her play outside in our yard rather than cooping her up in a small area of our kitchen, because in our tiny house those are pretty much the only options. Is it mainly a concern for your dogs’ safety or for others? You clearly care so much for your sweet dogs so I’m totally not questioning your methods, I just want your sage advice!

    • I don’t have any dogs, but for their own safety, I would never leave them out unattended. I’ve seen too many sad stories of lost or injured dogs.

    • Yeah—it’s really about the dog’s safety. Linus is so small and he likes to find ways to sneak out…I have no idea where he thinks he’s going that he’ll get treated better than he does here! I think that issue will be eliminated when the soil level is where it should be and there aren’t gaps under the fence, but right now it makes me nervous. Mekko can’t slip out anywhere with the new fence, but mostly with her I worry about her getting stolen. That might sound crazy, but it’s a real issue with friendly pit bulls—people steal them to fight or bait their fighting dogs, which is kind of the most tragic thing I can think of. I know my yard looks big and upstate new york conjures more pastoral than urban imagery for most people, but this is a pretty dense urban area with its share of crime and stuff…better safe than sorry, you know?

      • OMG what a horrible thought!

      • You are so right Daniel to not let your dogs stay out by themselves. I have a little six pound guy and when we first got him I was constantly monitoring the sky for hawks. BTW, I can really relate to so many of your yard issues including the dirt pile (now filled in more with clover than grass thanks to the birds eating the seeds), the ugly garage that has since been painted but still has the original door and is not yet wired for electricity and of course the ubiquitous chain link fence! For now I am living vicariously with the addition of your new fence and can see your yard taking shape just as you envisioned it. Very exciting!

  15. Looks great Daniel!
    I am sure you got a sense of major progress when this was completed. It is such a dramatic shift in how your home looks and how you view your yard. Looking forward to seeing it stained.

    Lowe’s is opening up a new store on the Upper West Side (my hood) this coming week (as well as Chelsea soon), I am so looking forward to having an option other than HD for so many things.

    Oh, and fence guy…. Hot… :)

    • It did feel like such a huge step! Thank you, Devyn. :)

      Oh! The nice people at Lowe’s actually invited me to a media event thing to tour the new store in the UWS a couple weeks ago! It’s REALLY nice—very different than your typical big-box Lowe’s (or the Brooklyn location) and I think really nicely and thoughtfully conceived for the NYC consumer. Let me know what you think when you go! :)

  16. This post is timely. We recently moved to what we’ve promised ourselves is The Last House. New fence on one side of backyard; rotting and tilting mess on the others. Need to replace the decrepit sides before I can start dealing with the uninspired yard. Contact with recommended fence guy has been made. Once the new fence is in, the fun (and grubby work) can begin. I’m soooo ready. Also keen to see how you prettify your soon-to-be leveled yard. How are the plantings you put in front doing this summer?

    • They’re doing OK! I have to do an update post! Not everything made it through last summer/winter, but almost everything has been thriving this summer. It’s still not close to where I want it to be and know it can be, but that’s how gardens are! It’s still nice to see it fill in. :)

      Congrats on the new house! And good luck with your fence! You’ll feel so good when it’s checked off the list.

  17. 1. You are not a jerk
    2. You are really that fancy

    Done

    PS I do all my home shopping at Lowes already. I like it there!!

  18. The fence looks SO GREAT! I bet it is killing you to have to wait to stain it. It is going to look so great when you finally do. So happy to see your new posts (pun intended).

  19. Looks great! One of these I’mma have to bite the bullet and do something about my chain link fence. I will say in its defense, it does make my yard look bigger. Small consolation, I know.

    But dat “Toadly Wasted” shirt tho… I’m still enjoying it.

    • That’s true about the chain-link! Although I will say, the new wood fence somehow made my yard seem bigger and smaller at the same time. I know that doesn’t make any sense, but it was always sort of hard to visually separate my space from the surrounding area with the chain-link, and now it feels much more contained in a good way. Like I can really see the space I have and get a handle on how to deal with it!

  20. Your fence looks fabulous. Having put one in two years ago (and contracted it out also!) I know how wonderful it is to finally have your backyard privacy!! A wooden fence really lets your yard become an extension of your home.

    My yard is of similar dimensions and I have one walk gate and one 10-ft. drive gate. The walk gate has held up well but the drive gate is starting to sag–and my drive gate looks a lot like yours. I don’t have a rail that bisects the doors but the diagonal cross pieces on my doors (like yours) are not supporting the hinges at the TOP of the gate. A contractor who was working on my deck told me that’s why the door is failing after two years. The top hinge needs the crosspiece support, not the bottom hinge. That’s how my walk gate is configured and it isn’t sagging at all.

    I don’t know if the additional railing on the gate makes a difference in how much support it’s getting but I just thought I’d let you know that it could be a problem down the road.

    • That’s good to know, Dana, thank you! I’ll keep an eye on the gates. I’ve been wondering if I should add some of those No-Sag Easygate bracket things in place of the diagonal supports that are there now. One of the walk gates has kind of warped—still totally functional and looks fine, it’s just what happens with pressure-treated lumber a lot of times—and I wonder if that would bring it back to being more square and prevent sagging down the line. Hmmmmmm.

  21. YES!!!

    I am so happy you could knock that project off your to-do list. I can clearly picture how awesome it’s gonna be after painting and planting and I am super excited to see how it all turns out!

  22. Wow! That looks amazing and I am totally loving the direction you are going with the outside of the house! It’s so fun to watch progress at a normal rate! Good luck with the rest!

  23. It looks super, Daniel! This post (like so many of your others) is so useful to me because our old wood picket fence is currently held up with added-on 2 x 4s, and is rotten. Home Depot sent us the area’s most expensive fencing contractor and he quoted us $6500 just for the front yard, so we gave up on that idea. At least I know now that Lowe’s might be a better option.

    • Wow! That seems really spendy, unless I guess your front yard is huge! I don’t know how much the prices vary based on where you live with all of this stuff—I assume they must be a little different depending on location since labor prices vary so much around the country, but yeah—as with anything, it’s always worth it to get a few quotes!

  24. It looks amazing!! Good job, you!

  25. Love this post. I wish other bloggers would write about products, services and their experiences as well as this one. Makes me wish I had a lowes where I live. You did a wonderful job. Now I can’t wait to see the black. Cheers

    • Thank you so much, Lesley! I worry about writing posts like these because I think people have become so turned off by sponsored content, but I always tell sponsors that I’m going to be honest in my review—if that’s not OK, we don’t work together, period. I couldn’t have afforded to go this route with the fence on my own, so at least in my mind there’s value in being able to share this experience…but I always know there’s a risk with the reception just because it’s sponsored. All of that is to say that I appreciate the kind words about it!

  26. My Dad recently built me a fence and platform deck with the help of Lowes. I literally kissed it. It smelled so good!

    • Oh, nice! I love a platform deck! Such a good 1-2 day project that makes such an impact! I’ve been toying with putting one (or some version of one…) out here…

    • Platform deck & new fence are on my agenda for next year. Plans are to pull down the shitty metal enclosed porch and use the concrete base (currently covered in outdoor carpet; ugh!) for a simple wood deck with “matching” wood fence. Current fence; you guessed it-chain link. It seems that fences here are either low/decorative 2-3foot, chain-link 4 foot, or like-Daniel’s 6 foot. I want something neighbor-friendly, dog-impermeable, light permeable (for the current plantings) & HORIZONTAL (which is rarely seen here but all over Toronto). It might need to be custom, but fortunately my yard is much smaller. I have a thing for 4″ boards for the bulk of the fence thinning to 2″ boards for the top foot or so.
      Then again, this fence is fab, so something similar may win out.
      Thanks for the update!

  27. The fence looks great! OMG OMG OMG. I’ m glad you posted this – it will motivate me. We need a fence SO bad and I’ve been putting it off. We have two hyper dogs that need the space to run. I have to agree with you – we used Lowe’s (my fav place) for our attic insulation and it was a fixed price per sq ft. And they did a really good job. Because we have a big house we joke around we always get the ‘regular’ price and then the ‘mansion’ price. It’s kinda messed up cause a big house can make you go broke – but the assumption is we have more to spend. When we got prices for the bats in the attic, we had one for $25K and one that included more work for $8K. I mean, seriously? So I’m in love with companies that provide a fixed prices like Lowe’s. So when it was time to replace the insulation the bats completely RUINED, we used Lowe’s.

    Amazing fence. Amazing progress. Hugs from down south in Orange County.

    • That’s really good to hear about the insulation! Your house is quite a bit bigger than mine, but I get what you mean…I had quotes on my roof that were $35,000 (in comparison to the 10-12K quotes that the realtor got for us before closing, which was part of what made us think we could afford the house at all), and I really think the thinking was something like “two young guys + moved from brooklyn + big house that needs lots of work = they must be RICH!” Never mind that buying a house like this pretty much immediately makes you broke! Lowe’s was a life-saver then, too…if only I’d gotten that one sponsored! Ha!

  28. Love the way the fence ended up looking compared to the one pic on Instagram! I had no idea one could buy the supplies at Lowe’s then actually have them install the fence as well! Sure saves one from having the headache of searching for a reliable carpenter! Also love the garage painted black with the red door knob. I saved that pic from a previous posting for future reference…and cuz’ I just love it. Enjoy seeing all the wonderful progress. I dont think I’d have the guts (or talent) to do a renovation like you have!!

  29. Looks amazing! I have to say I am envious of the way your gates hang perfectly, especially the wide ones. We had a fence built and the quality is so bad it makes us cross whenever we look at it. I think a bunch of monkeys could have done a better job. Our side gate has been nothing but trouble – swelling in the rain, sagging, pulling the post over etc. Their latest ‘solution’ is to attach a wheel to it to stop it sagging. It looks so shit. I will look at your pretty fence and it will make me feel better.

    • Argh, I’m sorry to hear that, Jemma! Is the post held in with concrete? A regular gate really shouldn’t be able to pull the post over! If the rest of the fence is OK but that post/gate are an issue, it might be worth it to just replace the gate and hardware with something sturdier? How frustrating!

      • So today I saw a really hot guy building a fence on my street – think rippling tattooed biceps in the sunshine – and I thought to myself ‘mmm, oh yeah, must reply to Daniel!’. My description above of the post pulling over sounded more dramatic than what is actually happening. It’s more of a banana shaped post issue than the whole thing falling over. Sadly I have just had another visit from my fence monkeys to tighten the post back to the wall where it had come loose and they managed to crack one of the bricks. Muppets. Might have to see if the hot fence guy has time to come and take a look.
        OK, too many hot fence guy double-entendres in my head now.

      • hahaha! DEFINITELY get hot guy over for a consult. Even if he fixes nothing and does nothing, it’ll be worth it.

  30. Your fence looks awesome! I find painting/staining by hand tedious, so the last time we stained the fence, when rented an industrial paint sprayer. Great coverage, including between the boards, and FAST! You may need to cover up some stuff to avoid over-spray, but we did both sides of a fence around a large corner lot, twice, in 6 hours (it was hot, so the first coat dried quickly). You may use slightly more paint/stain, but the time savings is more than worth the extra cost. 4 years later, and the fence still looks great, the coverage is way more even than if we’d done it by hand, and the neighbours have all copied us with the sprayer idea.

    • So funny that you mention this! I actually started staining the fence yesterday and made it about 3 or 4 hours in before my neighbor/contractor Edwin got home and offered to let me use his sprayer. HOLY SHIT. I’ve actually never used one, and it was AMAZING. I honestly don’t even feel like it wasted that much stain, and I couldn’t believe how fast I was able to move with it! I was looking at the staining as a multi-week project and now I feel like I can bang it out in an evening or two. Crazy! I guess I always felt like every time I’ve looked into them, the reviews seem shoddy and the prep work seems long and tedious and the equipment is expensive, but I feel like I’ve seen the light! He said his sprayer was originally like $700, though, so I wonder how the ones that are more designed for the home DIY-er compare. Hopefully he’ll never move and I won’t have to find out, haha.

  31. so good! I know you said you like the gaps anyway, but I think you’ll be really pleased with the gaps long-term too. I think it can be really freaky when you’re outside and hear someone but can’t get a sense for who is out there. Those tiny gaps make a big difference! But maybe I’m just a paranoid freak.

    What about a potting table back there in the trash area? And it would be close enough that you can pull it in the garage if you want during the winter. Not sure how stinky it will be though next to the cans. in any case – congrats on the fence!

    • Totally! If there’s anything I actually DON’T like about the fence is just HOW private it is, haha! I genuinely like and enjoy my neighbors so it’s weird to feel more isolated from them. I can get more done since I’m not stopping to chat all the time, but I like that now I feel like I have more of a choice of who to talk to and when. Does that make me sound so bitchy? Haha.

      I love the idea of a potting table! That sounds so fancy, and would take some of the strain off the limited space in the garage. I think it would be fine nearby the trash—our trash gets taken weekly and it’s very rare that I notice or am bothered by an odor from it. Thank you for the suggestion!

  32. Looks gorgeous, and I love to see Linus. I had cut-outs made in my fence so my dog can look out and bark at everything going on out there. The neighbors love it… I guess?

    • Ha! So many people have suggested that to me, but honestly my dog is so nuts that creating a barrier between her yard and the world has been REALLY nice. She seems so much more at ease and able to really enjoy the space instead of patrolling the fence line for old people and kids on skateboards.

  33. I am really glad that this job is done. Looks great!

  34. FENCE!! wow… cant wait to see it all stained! it will be so gorgeous.
    So jealous of all that space – what a yard! and i agree about the side of the garage – i envisage a nice long potting bench with loads of storage – like a long top with bins underneath.
    and that yard !
    wow the opportunity to landscape that yard – what a dream! a blank slate is exciting and intimidating too… my wee garden was a mess of ivy and scrap trees and junk when i started my garden 9 years ago (yikes)… its evolved in so many unexpected ways (and some because i rent) but i love how its turned out… you have a nice long time to grow a great yard… take your time! Looking forward to seeing the progress!

    • Yes, it’s very intimidating! Very exciting, but yeah—it’s definitely going to be lots of work and I’m scared of making any big mistakes! You’re very right, though—it’ll evolve over many years and it’ll all be OK! Thank you!!

      • My advice (besides reading lots of garden design books and blogs)
        1 do a sunlight/shade analysis (follow the light over a week or two to see what gets shade and sun and when and for how long) this is the MOST important thing you can do !
        2 figure out what you want to do where (you have the patio design already – maybe a place for a hammock, lots of flowers to cut to bring in the house, kitchen garden for herbs, veggies, birdbath) etc.
        3 plan the Hardscaping (raised bed for kitchen garden, stone for paths, edging for beds etc) and Anchor plants (trees, shrubs, evergreens)

        The perennials and annuals will come later – the most money will be in the hardscaping and the anchor plants… but if you do a good master plan and then buy a few a year – or say – all the boxwood this year and all the trees next year or whatever – then you can fill in with annuals each year and slowly fill in the perennials..

        What i am going to say next is hard but … unless you have your big master plan drawn up in the next two months, i would wait to buy and plant until next spring… of course you may have a sense of how the yard works in terms of sun etc but that fence will change a bit of the light and shadow etc.

        ok. ill stop now – so excited about this space ! What fun you will have!

      • Thank you! I’ll definitely work on the sunlight/shade analysis. I feel like I have a decent sense of what areas of the yard are sunnier and shadier and for how long than others, but I’ve definitely lost a few plants by misjudging this (hello, fried astilbe!). The overall backyard landscaping plan is actually quite simple (I want to maintain a lot of boring grassy space for the doggies), but I’m DEFINITELY going to need quite a few trees and large shrubs, so I like your strategy! I’d like to have a better sense of things soon so that I don’t miss tree-planting time, but if it has to wait, it has to wait!

  35. You are so right, this makes a world of difference! It looks fantastic, and when it is all black will be awesome!

  36. LINUS. Stop it! (And nice fence!)

  37. Daniel, I’m so glad to see this financially acceptable, good contractors, just-what-you-wanted, successful execution of the fence project at your own house after the past few months of ongoing trauma at Olivebridge. You needed this in your life, and I’m so happy for you that it came to fruition! May the rest of your summer include similar good outcomes, whether it’s Olivebridge, Bluestone, or your own domicile.

    • Thank you so much, Suzy! That’s a very…perceptive comment, haha! It’s really been a doozy of a summer…between some (temporary, but still crappy) health things, Olivebridge being so crazy with so many things outside of my control (and a MUCH longer project than any of us initially thought), and enough personal crap to fill a book—YES, it feels huge to just have this DONE and done well and feel as though at least some things are really moving forward, even while others are still weighing heavily. I really appreciate the well-wishes!! <3

  38. Fantastic storytelling, as usual, and yes, I like the details! The fence came up really well, a real dramatic change. I love the look of your yard, such a blank canvas! Enjoy the process of reshaping the land, and let yourself get a bit lost in time… A garden does not require you be alert and efficient =) I am going to paint my espalier-columns this weekend, if I find the time. They are treated with that brown stuff, that is supposed to be more environmentally friendly than the green stuff. They have been up since june, I guess the recommendation is to wait a year, but with the linseed oil paint I think it will be ok, it does not stop evaporation and weathers so I think any brown stuff coming out will rain away.

    • Thank you, Louise! Good luck with your painting project! I decided to start staining my fence yesterday…it’s been about 6 weeks and you should really wait longer, but I figure with a stain it’ll still be able to breathe and it’s been VERY dry for several weeks so I think it’ll be fine. Fingers crossed, because there’s no going back now!

  39. First of all let me just say this. Thank you Daniel. I was just reading through your post and thinking – what a story teller, I’ve said it before but it takes talent to talk about mundane things such as 2×3 vs 2x4s and make your reader want to know MORE. Your posts always read like a good book and as I scroll down I am always dreading the end of the post, I could read you ALL day. Then I thought about how much time you put into setting up these posts; the pictures, the links back to previous adventures, commenting on many of the posts… and I thought – God with everything else you have to get done. And here am I enjoying every second of it for free! So thank you for this blog.
    So, on to the fence. Bea-u-ti-ful! I love the privacy of a fence. Can’t wait to see it stained and all fancy.
    I think you’ve pretty much scrapped the idea of pea gravel for your patio area in front of the garage on the yard side but I just happened upon this article in Gardenista and there are some really appealing photos of pea gravel in gardens, here’s the link if you haven’t already seen it http://www.gardenista.com/posts/hardscaping-101-pea-gravel
    That said, I was at a wedding at the weekend and after trying to balance on the stuff for hours in my narrow heels I would have happily castrated the guy who invented it (I’m assuming it was a guy, no heel-wearing female would have had such a ridiculous idea). Had there been a few pavers to stand on I would have been quite happy though as it did look great.
    I wait with bated beath for the next post.
    Merci!

    • Luna! You’re too kind. Thank you so much—you have no idea how nice this is to hear! Really, really. *hugs*

      I did sort of get over the idea of the pea gravel after so many comments about its downsides, but that link just fills me with envy! I love how it can look so classic and modern at the same time, and how it offsets with black wood and green foliage…ARGH. Just transport any of those gardens to my backyard, please!

      • I love your posts too. I am not one to comment but I felt compelled to reply on this one. Keep telling your stories no matter how mundane they seem to you!

        I even started going back to read your old ones to see the process of where you started with your first apartment to now.

        The fence looks great and, I agree, having it black will allow your plants and yard to be the focal point. What a lovely place to call home.

      • Thank you, Aurora! :)

  40. Wow, a lovely big hug of a fence! I agree that the contrast with the garage is so nice that it will be a shame to lose it. The fencing definitely benefits from the contrast of the greenery against it, so I think setting it back from the road so you can have some is an excellent choice. Are you thinking of adding some contrast back into the garage, like white trim or something?

    Also, is that an Irish flag beside the American one at your accross-the-road neighbour’s? Irish reader here, so a nice surprise!

    • I don’t think I’ll change the monochrome paint on the garage, but I think there’s room to add some more visual interest with plants, maybe some kind of trellis for climbers…I think it’s one of those things I’m going to have to feel out as everything develops!

      And yes! My neighbors are of Irish descent and EXTREMELY proud, haha! Their house is decked out with irish pride year-round!

      • perhaps an accent color – on that medallion? or the door?

      • We’ll see! It’s kind of one of those things I’ll have to feel out as things develop, you know? Sometimes what I like in my head doesn’t look so great in real life!

      • I love the idea of some climbing plants for part of the fence. I purchased some honeysuckle from Lowe’s for like 2.50 a plant in the “grave yard” section of the garden area, and it has been so happy along a fence at my mom’s! I know there are also some types of jasmine that are evergreen (at least in the PNW), which might be nice to keep with the black+white+green theme. Plus they smell AMAZING in the sun!

        Good luck, I’m a long time reader and love checking in to see what’s new!

  41. Ah, this looks so good Daniel! it’s going to look AMAZING in black.

    It’s such a joy to see how much love and effort you put into your house :)

  42. It looks amazing! I can’t wait to see your vision come together, but I am thoroughly enjoying watching the process as well!

  43. Wow, such a huge improvement! I can’t wait to see how dramatic it is going to look once it’s all stained!
    I love reading your blog, I live in a big city in Northern Italy (Torino) and am in the process of buying my first house… Which is gonna be a brand new apartment, and although this makes moving in totally effortless [and is gonna save me LOTS of money on renovations and stuff], I sometimes wish I was about to buy an oldish house, so I could try to do something similar to what you’re doing here. I’ll do my best to add some personality to my drab condo, may your DIY wisdom be with me in the process! ;-)

    • Thank you, Cecilia! And best of luck with the purchase—that’s so exciting!! And ENJOY the new construction—systems that work, floors that are level…TRUST me I see the appeal and often envy it! :)

  44. Wow. I’m completely in love with your new fence. It looks amazing! I love that Lowe’s is one of your sponsors– I love that store so much! Their Allen + Roth line of lights is my favourite!

    I cannot wait to see the fence after it’s stained.. But even now– it looks wonderful.

    • Yes, the Allen + Roth stuff is great! Aside from the lighting they also do really nice solar shades (I have them in my house!) and tile (hellloooooo, marble herringbone!) and plenty of other stuff, too. I feel like Lowe’s has really hit its stride with providing a lot of very high-quality and upscale looking products at a very friendly price-point.

      And thank you!

  45. SO…SO …NICE….finally a proper fence…and it makes the yard look bigger…and just so “contained”…..love it. Nice job Lowe’s!

  46. Hi Daniel!
    I believe in the saying, “good fences make good neighbors”. The privacy helps cut down on petty issues. Luckily it sounds like you have nice neighbors to begin with. I did not have that and it was very tiresome. Especially when random small children and dogs and chickens end up in your yard.
    And you taught me something new…no water added to post hole concrete…Wow!! Color me surprised!!
    You are delightful and amazing!
    Keep on trucking!
    P.S. Have you found any treasures in your yard whilst digging?

    • Ha! “Random small children,” definitely been there! This family used to live next door and I basically became an informal and unpaid nanny for their daughter. Cute and kinda fun for a bit but eventually it was like I couldn’t go outside without her popping over and just staying until I brought her home. I think I may be a little too friendly with the neighbors, haha. Maybe some separation is a good thing!

      I have found some interesting stuff! Mostly shards of pottery and a few pieces of hardware. I’ll do a post about it! :)

  47. Hi Daniel!

    It’s so great seeing new content from you! I always look forward to your posts. I thought I should let you know that the video ads you have are making the page jump to it whenever it loads a new video. I’ve been trying to finish the post for the last 10 minutes but keep losing my place because of the jumps. I don’t mind ads at all, so I hope you don’t take this as a complaint. It’s not meant to be! I’m on a Windows PC reading in Google Chrome if it helps any.

    • Thank you so much for letting me know, Kayce! This has been an ongoing issue that I’ve heard from several people, but today was the first time I saw it for myself—SO ANNOYING! And definitely shouldn’t be happening. I changed a couple things on the back-end to hopefully resolve it—please let me know if it happens again! It’s apparently harder to fix than I thought, ugh.

  48. The fence really defines the yard. So I have no doubt you will now feel inspired to get on with planting, once you get your grading and draining issues sorted out. I also like the spaces between the pickets.

    Having a little garden space outside the fence is great – it is a like a gift to the neighborhood. As well as something that will make your house and fence more attractive.

    Getting professionals for a job, who really know what they are doing, do it carefully, and treat you well is always a great experience, I find – glad they worked out. I used to get lots of recommendations before hiring contractors for my coop in Brooklyn (the building, not my apartment), so we wouldn’t have a mess on our hands. It was always great to deal the professional people I found with this method.

  49. It looks so good!! I agree with all the comments about setting the fence back. Great decision. I can’t wait to see how it all looks when you get it stained and some planting done! Oh and since you brought it up, now I’m dying to hear all about the lack of mudroom. Patiently waiting. ;)

  50. OMG. I am a (not a Jewish) Gammy, and I just want to hug you.
    Well done young man.

  51. Just admit it, you’re dating that Edwin fellow, aren’t you?

    Personally I don’t like the contrast with the garage at all and am very much in love with black stained wood, so I can’t wait to see the finished result. Stain all the things black, yeah! Also, the lamps look great on the garage; so much better than just one light above the gate! Will you still be going with the copper for the back? Also yay potting bench! So fancy and practical at the same time.

  52. Wow ! That is a beautiful fence ! And what a relief it must be to (nearly) be ready for landscaping. Good luck with the soil leveling ! And I’m very much looking forward to more gardening posts.

  53. Wow! That fence looks great! What a difference with the before picture! Can’t wait to see how it’ll end up looking once it’s stained as well.

    Lucky you for stumbling upon a contractor with such an eye for detail (especially since you’ve gone through a big box chain). Learned a few tricks as well: the cement without water, rails between the posts and fix them with a long screw at an angle, and the fact that PTL shrinks!

    Good luck with your next garden phase!

  54. I enjoy reading the comments section almost as much as your posts!
    And I must say, I didn’t even notice that this was a sponsored post…Nicely done!

  55. Beautiful fence!! What an undertaking!
    Question with projects where you need to hire professional help: do you tip the fence guys? If so, how much? Seems my normal pizza and beer tip I offer my friends wouldn’t fly on a project like this :)

    • I don’t normally tip, no. Maybe I should? I honestly don’t know the right answer! I do always buy the guys lunch (pizza is easy and generally makes everyone happy), but I don’t think a tip is really expected or normal? I’m curious to hear if other people agree or disagree!

  56. Gorgeous fence! Excellent write-up! I had no idea that pressure-treated wood could be painted or (preferably) stained. Everybody where I live just leaves it plain, which is so ugly.

    I love Lowe’s, They’ve always been wonderful to me, although one or two of their contractors are on my don’t use again list.

  57. First of all, the fence looks AMAZING! I’m so glad it turned out and for so cheap too!
    When we built ours, it was out of red wood planking. The fence was beautiful. Those little gaps did not exist and the dogs hated it. They ate right through it so they could see out side…multiple times. We eventually installed ‘windows’ with heavy duty metal mesh in them, but my beautiful wooden fence…
    In the case for (more of setting you at ease) safety, I have one suggestion which our entire fence has but it’s kind of too late for yours. If your kids aren’t diggers it’s not a big deal, but at the gate/s I suggest you dig a trench and pour a short concrete wall to the level of or just below the level of the new soil level. They don’t need to be deep unless you have a digging problem. Ours are four in wide by three feet deep, 18″ of which are under ground. The fence sits on top of it. However deep, this will deter Linus from sneaking under in the mean time, while you’re in the garage or ’round the corner at the potting table, and Meko won’t be able to stick her head under and say hello to people walking by.

    • Thanks, Ashli! Luckily my dogs aren’t diggers, amazingly, but I’ll keep it in mind in case anyone decides to try to make a run for it! :)

  58. this looks so beautiful. the garage looks so beautiful too, you have done such an amazing job renovating this house.
    but linus takes the cake! looking super fresh!

  59. Hi Daniel, I was wondering if you saw this painted black Victorian house in Upstate NY? It made me think of you. http://hookedonhouses.net/2015/09/02/designer-roger-hazards-boldly-reimagined-italianate-victorian/

  60. The only thing that fence is missing is a doggy porthole http://cdn.blessthisstuff.com/imagens/stuff/pet-peek-3.jpg

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