Finishing the fence

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The second day of our fence project started with a bunch of clipping and pruning. It was a great workout for my arms.

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Our back neighbors graciously allowed us to prune and/or remove the trees along the property line. This was partly to clear out for the new fence and partly for our benefit. We wanted to trim back the foliage as much as possible to gain more “head space” at the property line as we could.

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First up was the Avocado tree. We needed to cut down two low and massive branches that would be obstructing the new fence.

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I first trimmed off all the small stuff and then Nate (with some neighborly help) sawed off the massive pieces.

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Next, we cut down a few trees that needed to be removed. Finally, we trimmed back a variety of Holly tree that was so overgrown it looked like a big spider nest.

Again, we were lucky to have help from our neighbor Lee and my Dad who have much more expertise with a chainsaw than we do.

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At the end of the day, we accumulated a giant pile of green waste to break down later this week, but it was so worth it! I bet we gained a couple feet along the property line of usable space.

Installing the rails

New fence

The final day of the project started with Nate and Dan installing the new fence.

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First the 8′ rails were attached to the steel posts. Here you can see how easily the rails attach to the Postmaster post.

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The fence planks were then screwed into the rails. Since we were splitting the cost of the fence with our neighbor, we used a “good neighbor” design plan. This means on every other panel, the railings flip to the opposite side. The assumption is that the side that shows the railings is the “bad” side so you and your neighbor split it. On the reverse, if your neighbor is not splitting the cost with you, you can use a “bad neighbor” design and give them nothing but rails! Personally, the rail side wasn’t that bad to us, but we were happy to go good neighbor for the sake of the project.

You will also notice a 6″ gap on the bottom of the fence. This is for a kick board that we will install once we fix our landscaping.

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The boys continued to install panel by panel for the rest of the day. As you can tell by the fence color, we ended up using all new wood. It was a bummer to not reuse the old wood, but there was just too many inconsistencies with the old pieces. We will save them for another project.

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I should also mention that we did make the decision to purchased the more expensive “premium” wood panels. To us, it was worth paying a little more for the better quality wood because it will last longer and save us money down the road from having to replace crappy product.

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After a long day at the office, I was very excited to get home and see the boys’ progress. By the time I got home, the fence was finished. Ta-da!!

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Here’s the fence with the trimmed back Holly tree above it. You can see we pruned a back a lot. Eventually the tree will fill out again, but now it can do so in a healthy way. No more gross spider nest.

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Here’s the fence with the Avocado tree. Now your eye goes up and sees it’s great majestic height instead of just a mass of low branches. It also allows the planter box below the tree to get some much needed sunlight.

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Summary on the project

We spend $900 on labor and supplies for the full project. Our fence is 65′ long. The quotes we received from the fencing companies averaged at $1300, but if we hired an arborist to trim the trees it would have cost us at least another $500 making the money saved to about $900 by doing the work ourselves. That’s 50% savings!

Since, we are splitting the cost with our neighbor, Nate and I spent only $450 and three days of our own sweat and tears on the project.

Overall, we are both glad we tackled this ourselves vs. hiring out the work. We learned a lot of skills along the way and it gave us the time to prune the trees correctly and really focus on the aesthetics of the back of our yard.

Now that the backdrop of our yard is completed, we can move on to the next chapter of projects. This includes finishing the planter boxes and ….wait for it….the concrete patio!

I hope I was thorough enough on our process for anyone attempting this sort of project at home, but if you have question please comment below. Thanks!

This is the third installment of our fence project. Click to see the first and second post of the story.

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