Friday, June 8, 2012

My fence, my fence, my uuugly fence!

I hate red painted fences and decks. I don't know why but that particular colour, as well as dark brown, makes my skin crawl. Hey wouldn't you know it? That's what colour all the wood in my outdoor space is painted! Yes!!!
Here you can see my back fence in all its rotting glory:
the local coopers hawk eating a local pigeon
As you can see here, I have a red deck, and a red fence. The fence is made from plywood I kid you not. Not even plywood but a particle board kind of thing. The top is a plank of wood but it was so rotten even the squirrels walked lightly on it (we called this the squirrel highway for obvious reasons).
As you can also see from the picture, the boards are totally rotted out. I am not sure the exact age of the fence, but our backdoor neighbour Maureen was telling us a story about when they were kids. I guess our house had a skating rink in the back, and the parents wouldn't let any other kids come skate on it (more on their neighbourliness later). So one night the backdoor kids came over for a midnight skate and got busted. Then this fence was erected. Maureen is at least 45. So I am estimating this fence to be 35-40 years old. Made of particle board.

Then we got a really big wind storm. Reports of tornadoes. Rare for the Ottawa Valley. What a shame that this happened:
ruh roh
I get a text from my hubby. Fence is down. I do a happy dance.

This horrid fence is on the east side of our property as well, and that side's neighbours were itching to replace it. We'd actually already talked about what we would be doing that summer when we got this extra little kick to hurry up. So Greg ripped out that rotten fence with a vigour and joy seldom seen in this household. The posts were barely driven in, the nails were all wonky, how this thing lasted a decade I do not know. Anyways here are some pictures to show you how lovely it all was :)

boards all tied up ready for the garbage. they wont take renovation material so you have to put it out little by little. a year later and we still have some pieces.

rotten posts

particle board FTW

a summer haven for crickets and spiders

the top boards
 So once it was all gone it looked like this:
the side bit that has since been cleared out of ferns and other assorted vines

the back neighbours dont take much care with their lawn its a bit of a jungle but I actually really like it

Greg and the side neighbour Rob rented an auger at Home Depot and drilled a bunch of holes for the new posts. There was a bunch of old concrete fill in some of them, and they hit some pretty big granite rocks in others. It was a ton of work and it took a few weekends of cleaning out and pickaxing but eventually it got done satisfactorily.

post holes drilled
posts are in, brush is cleared

picking up rocks and concrete chunks. one year olds can help too!

especially when they are in really cute bikinis!
So the fence went in pretty easily. We decided to a short fence again in the back, 4 feet tall. The side is 6 feet, as per the neighbours request (they are putting in a hot tub and want some privacy *cue romantic music here*

I really like our new fence. I like the height. I hate fences that are high, privacy fences if you will. It makes me feel boxed in. I like being able to see around past my little tract of land.  The next street over was built in the 60s and all the yards have regular old metal mesh fencing and it makes everyone's yard feel connected and bigger.

One thing we need to figure out is whether we are going to stain the fence or what. The other side neighbour Pierre put up his own fence because our lovely old owners wouldn't pay for any of it, and didn't treat this side of it at all. I get the feeling that they were a bit of a jerk! Even the kids apparently grew up to be asses, according to Rob and Brenda who had a run in with one of the sons while they were cleaning out the house after we bought it. So I think we could pretty much do whatever we wanted and our neighbours would still like us :) Anyways , Greg was toying with the idea of whitewashing the fence, or just painting it white. Pierre said no way (he is a big critic on all things construction related let me tell you) I think we should either stain it a very light brown to match the parts of Pierre's fence that we can see (the boards are staggered and his stain is orangey which is yet another colour on wood that I can't stand). Then it would still look woody and would blend in good and we wouldn't have to watch it age badly. In any case here are some pictures of the finished project:

the back and the side were a little weird because the land slopes strangely at the junction of the three yards

there's no way Greg would have been fishing this bag out of the tree on the old fence

this fence is Else approved.
Last but not least, Greg removed the stupid little shed at the back of the garage. He cleaned out the compost pile and evened out the ground, planting some grass seed too. He plans on making an area for a rain barrel, a potting area, and maybe even space for some chickens.....

way more space
The daylilies I planted last year are growing nicely against the fence and I'm going to plant some morning glories there too. I am so much happier looking out my kitchen window now :)


  1. Wow, that after is great! I bet you WERE dancing the happy dance when that fence came down. I want to fence in our back yard so that we have our own private space but the Mister likes it all open to the neighbor's yards. Thus, I don't go outside because I feel like I'm on a stage and feel eyes watching me. How long did all of that take you guys?

    1. It took a few months of weekends. Greg largely did it on his own so it was from may long weekend til I think July long weekend. I can understand not wanting a low fence but out back neighbors areao unobtrusive and won't be going anywhere dormant many years we figured we'd be safe doing it this way. If those lilacs at the back die I may feel differently tho!!

  2. I like red but that fence is wrong... It's not even red.

    1. It's burgundy. Or browny Ted. In any ADR I hate it. There are two little sections of the fence left, one is a gate on the other side of the house. It is getting replaced this summer. The other is between the driveway and the deck, which also had a big gate until that windstorm came and killed it too we can't get rid of that until we do the deck and we can't do the deck until we can also do the mudroom so..... Looks like we're stuck with the red fence for a few more years :(

  3. Wood fences have a traditional look and require ongoing maintenance. They need to be cleaned, stained or painted at times to help keep the wood in good condition. And you have the perfect fence to complement an already beautiful garden with a cute helper, your child. In painting your fence, I suggest you choose good quality paint that is designed for outdoor use. This means it will contain UV (ultra violet) inhibitors and be formulated to stand up to external elements. In choosing paint, price really does make a difference, so get the best you can afford!

    Marvel Farias

    1. thanks for your input :) It looks like we are waiting til next summer to do anything paint/stain wise.... so many options!!!!!!

  4. Well, if you’re waiting for summer, then you still have lots of time to decide whether you’ll paint the fence or stain it. Either way, it’s going to help protect your fence from moisture, which is good since you do live in Canada and snow is almost ever-present over there. If you were to ask me, though, I’d go for staining the fence. Staining would prevent the color of the wood from fading due to being exposed to sunlight, and it also retains the color of the wood grain without masking the natural beauty of the wooden material. Christian Renwick

    1. I'm definitely leaning towards staining it. I think paint would be too much of a colour block. I like the wood look!!

  5. Well, you finally have a reason to put up a new fence, and I guess we have the tornado to thank for that, right? Let us see when you’ve finally gotten your fence stained! I love the wood look too, so I’m probably as excited as you to see the final outcome!

    Barrett Elmore