Thursday, September 8, 2011

I'm... Dreaming... of a Nice... Privacy Fence

The title was to the tune of I'm Dreaming of a White Christmas, just in case you didn't catch that :)
As we move along with all of our home and property repairs, Alex and I are eager to get started on our new wood privacy fence!  We currently have a lovely 3 ft tall chain link fence around our backyard.  It was never the nicest looking thing, but it was very nice for us with our two dogs.  Ideally, we always wanted to tear it out and replace it with a nice, tall wood privacy fence. 

As it turns out, the May 22nd Tornado got us much closer to making that dream a reality.  'Mega Stump', as we called it, got completely uprooted by the 140mph winds and pulled out a nice section of our chain link fence. Ka-boom!
On the other side of our yard, the top of 'Mega Stump', aka the rest of that giant pine tree, landed on a couple sections of the fence smashing the posts and bars into the ground. Crunch!

Thankfully, insurance is covering the damage and gave us the full amount to replace the chain link fence.  But why replace something you don't want anyway?  The wood privacy fence is obviously going to be more expensive than chain link, but this is where we feel like paying a little extra out of pocket is totally worth the upgrade!  Also, to keep the 'upgrade' cost as low as possible, this is one project we are going to take on ourselves instead of having our contractor install it.

We have been looking at different styles of wood fencing for our yard. Here are our two favorites...

Wood Framed: I like the flat boards across the top, looks very neat.

Standard Dog Ear: Likely to be lower in cost, and I still think the look is nice.

Overall, I guess I don't really care how it looks, I just want a privacy fence that will look nicer than the chain link! We're thinking Cedar instead of Pine, which costs a bit more, but it's typically the lumber of choice for fencing.

Of course before we can get going on the new fence installation we had to do some clean up (boo).  In the summer time we let vines grow into our chain link fence.  The vines would at least hide the ugly fence a little bit and make it nicer to look at.  But now that we need to yank the hole fence out, we had to cut out all the vines, which was no fun at all (and sadly this was before our trip, so we have to do a little more again, really BOO!).  Alex also had to finish up cutting some wood that was hanging out in our yard since the tornado. 
Oddly enough, most of that wood is from the section of the tree that fell into our house.  I can't wait to burn it in a fall bonfire, grrr!  It took us about 4 hours but we got the yard all cleaned up. I was out there sweating and cleaning too even though I'm not in the pictures.  I ended up getting blisters on my hands from cutting and raking... Alex said, "Well that's what happens when you avoid manual labor your whole life." HA!

We're hoping to decide on fencing this weekend and get it ordered.  Perhaps we will start ripping out the rest of the chain link fence too. Wish us luck!

So, what style of fencing do you like better? 

Do you have any tips for us Alex on installing a wood fence?  If so please comment away!


  1. Ah yes, the privacy fence!! We've done that as well ... each year we put up another section for another "side" of our house to get it all fenced in completely now. We have half dog-eared with laddice on top (the sides to the north and south and the side bumping against the neighbors backyard is just plain ole dog-eared. We stained it a cinammon color and love it!

    It's a lot of work but soooo worth it! I remember photos just like yours back when we did ours!!

  2. A couple days ago I drove past a house with a new fence being installed. It looked like the standard dog ear fence but they were hanging it "upside down" so they had a smooth line on top and the bumps were more or less lost in the grass. It's been on my mind ever since. It certainly looked better to me, but that rule following part of me keeps thinking there must be a flaw, must be some reason why it's supposed to be upside up... right?

  3. One thing to consider with a fence. If it is a solid wall, you may get as much air circulation. Some fences have staggered slats. Of course, it depends on how big your yard is and the $$$!

    Love your blog!

  4. I like the look of the first one. It's much more fancy pants. Now, you wouldn't be putting this fence up to hide your view of a certain neighbors garage door, would you? Because that would be a shame if you couldn't see that anymore. ;)

  5. I've never been involved in installing a fence, but here are a few things to check into before you make your final decision:
    - do you need a permit?
    - are there any height or setback restrictions?
    - does it matter which side faces out? I know here the nice side usually has to face out.
    - what kind of upkeep is required? (stain, paint, watersealer or whatever)

    Good luck
    Orlando, FL

  6. So, I know you guys are all DIY, but fences are a project and a half. We hired our dog eared, 6 foot one done last year. He was done in a week and a half and it is amazing! Most people put the posts in the ground 1-2 feet, ours is in 3-4. Digging the holes was the hardest part. We also up graded the thickness of the face boards and used 4x6 posts instead of the standard 4x4. Needless to say, our fence is very strong and will not fall over like most all the other ones we see locally. As far as sealing. Depending on how much you have to do, it can cost up in the hundreds to seal every year. Staining is much more, but I am not sure this has to be done every year. Good luck on your project and I love your blog!


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