September 18, 2015

How to fence in your yard {a simple, step-by-step guide}

You know you love your dogs when.... you spend a sizable amount of money purchasing fencing materials, then spend a ridiculous amount of time building said fence.

We finished the fenced in backyard last weekend!  WOOP WOOP!  {Well, practically.  We have one more gate to add to the deck, so that doesn't really even count as fence.}

When we talked about our renovation plans, we {I} KNEW we wanted to fence in the backyard, sooner rather than later.  Our two furbabies don't have a fenced in yard at our current house so they have to be on the runner to be outside... and that's just no fun!  The guys spent 3 days of work on this {1 day with 3 guys, then 2 days of Michael working off and on}.

1. Shopping.... aka the fun part.... unless your husband is super picky about lumber like mine is.
We bought most of the supplies for this project at Lowe's.  2 rolls of chain link fence, 1 box of nails that look like staples {yes, the Lowe's employee will know what you mean when you tell him that's what you need}, 4x4s for posts, 2x4s for gates and around the top of the fence, screws {if you don't have them on hand}, gate hardware, 6" galvanized carriage bolts with flat washers and nuts {ask for help finding these the first time... once you get the hang of their organizing system, it's easy to find the size you need!}, concrete mix.... I think that's it.

Shopping tip: We picked 12' 2x4s, then had Lowe's cut them in half so they fit in the back of the truck.  It was less expensive than two 6' boards - and every little bit counts when you're buying this amount of items!  All of your lumber should be treated since it's going outdoors.  Also, this is a pretty substantial list.  Prepare yourself for a long trip to the hardware store.  We spent about 3 hours at Lowe's. {We were getting other supplies as well, but still. It was ridiculous.}  And bring the trailer.  We debated it, but didn't think we'd end up buying nearly as much as we did.  Just bring the trailer.

2. Mark out posts
Measure twice, dig once.  Make sure you clear any tree brances that may be in the way, string off your area and make sure your corners are square{ish}.

3. Dig the holes.
My biggest tip on this project?  RENT THE STINKIN' AUGER.  {An auger is a machine that digs the hole so you don't have to.  The one we rented was gas powered and handheld, so you didn't have to connect it to a tractor.}  Our local hardware store rents all kinds of goodies, so I started the workday by calling to see if they rented an auger.  Thankfully they did!  This saved us SO MUCH time and backache for the guys.  I think they had fun with the big power tool, too.  Most of the holes only took one man to use the auger.  They hit rock on one hole and had to use all their muscles together {which makes for a lot of laughter from the wives watching!}.

4. Add gravel/concrete mix to the holes
Once they dug the holes, they added a little gravel to each hole then the posts were placed {the end/corner posts were reinforced with concrete while the other posts were filled in with dirt}.

5. Put the posts in the holes
We went with 4"x4" wood posts.  We prefer the look of the wood posts to blend better with our deck.  The posts were spaced every 6 feet and buried roughly 2' in the ground.

6. Attach 2x4s to the posts
We had these cut to 6' at Lowe's.  Michael trimmed them just a little at the house.  They really help make the fence solid.

7. Attach the fence to the posts
After the posts were placed, it was really just a matter of nailing the chain link fence to the posts.  This is a 2 man {or woman} job - someone has to stretch/hold the fence while the other one nails it in place.  We also attached the fence to the side of the deck at two spots.

8. Build the gate
We built very simple gates - just 2x4s in a rectangle plus chain link material, just like on the other parts of the fence.  We used the latches shown for all of the gates.  I would NOT recommend them.  They're fairly easy to bump and accidentally open {I was sweeping the deck with a broom... the broom bumped the gate at the bottom and the gate opened. Not kidding.}.  Michael added a block to ours to secure one of the latches, but we're going to replace the other latches with a more secure option.  We'll probably go with a sliding bolt latch... those surely won't bump open!

9. Add lattice {optional}
We had to add lattice along the bottom of the deck... otherwise our little houdinis would go under the deck, out the other side {and probably poop in the neighbor's yard}.

Total money spent on this project: About $400. {Supplies at Lowe's were about $300 plus $55 to rent the auger and another $20 on last minute items at the local hardware store, then went back and spent a little more again for better gate latches.  We opened a Lowe's credit card to save an extra 10% off everything we got that day!  We had a truck FULL.} And seriously, with furbabies like this... fencing in the backyard for them is worth every penny!

Total time spent: Guesstimated 25 man hours {definitely doable in one weekend!}
Day 1: 2 guys all day + 1 guy half day = approx. 20 man hours
Day 2: 1 guy = maybe 5 man hours?  {We were working on the deck at the same time so it's a guesstimate}

This is such an exciting project for us to have finished!  One of our dogs is a superstar houdini, so we'll see how long it is before she finds a way to escape.  We are all so excited for their new found backyard freedom!