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30 Sep

I’ve been working, working, working like crazy in  the backyard to get a fence up before it gets too cold. Earlier this year I had an estimate from a fencing company to install a wooden stockade style fence, according to them it was going to cost me around $2,500 to go around the perimeter of my backyard. That was simply cost prohibitive so I decided I’d have to do it myself since over half  the cost was in labor.

One post at a time and one carload of lumber at a time,over the course of several weeks I was able to patch together a six foot privacy fence. It took much longer than I expected and was a job that would have gone much faster had I had a helper but I did it! I used the panorama option on my IPhone to take the pictures so you can get the whole idea of the backyard, the fence is not really bowed in the middle, that’s just how the phone patches together the pictures.

photo 1

I also did the other side

photo 3

I did not finish the fence behind the garage yet, and I’m not sure I will this year. I’m tired of fencing. I will however, add a gate between the garage and that segment of fence so I can hide my trashcan behind it and not have to open the garage every time I want to get to it. Once the wood dries out, I’ll also stain it and the pergola a semi-transparent dark brown hue. I would also like to add a gate to the front of the driveway. I was thinking something like this but only 4ft high.

Entry gate

The backyard is MUCH more private and I think it helps it look a bit more tidy. I am left wondering about a couple of things though. The first is that the driveway is very narrow and the gate needs to swing in. What type of hinges do I need in order to get the gate to tuck in neatly behind the 4×4 post when open as not to loose any additional space? The second, just how long do I need to wait to stain this? I’ve gotten a lot of conflicting advice, anywhere from 6 weeks to a year. I’m not keen on waiting a year and I don’t want to wait so long that it needs to be pressure washed before staining to clean it.

Pergola Day Four

3 Sep

It’s pretty much all done! Spent today cutting and placing the rafters. I used a Kreg Jig to make pocket holes and then screwed the rafters in from the bottom. The Hurricane Clips were not going to work because I couldn’t find galvanized screws small enough. I just need to sand and then add some corner brackets to sure it up. Once the wood dries out I’ll stain it to match my future fence.



Pergola Day Three

2 Sep

I was able to get the first sets of rafters cut and hung today onto the posts. It was a painstaking process using my junky battery operated drill to bore the holes until my neighbor came to the rescue with a giant drill which made light work of the holes. Once I was able to use his drill the real work came down to getting the holes to line up correctly on the last set of rafters since the rafter that would be closest to the house could not be tacked into place to drill because a screwdriver could not fit between it and the house. I needed to push the bolts through first and then drill the holes precisely where they belonged in order to slip that rafter onto the bolts. That didn’t so easy and there was a lot of trial and error but I eventually got it.

So this is what I ended with today.


Tomorrow I’m hoping to finish off the rafters. After some hemming and hawing about how to hang them I think I’ve decided to use a type of joist hanger called a Hurricane Hanger which will keep me from having to notch and screw each rafter. I found them at Home Depot tonight after sorting through a pile of metal thingys near the lumber. I have high hopes for these. I’ll post a picture tomorrow so you can see what I mean.

Window Boxes and a New Walk

10 May


Check out the newest updates on the front lawn.

Two window boxes which I made from wood and will paint to match the trim on the house.
Two Japanese Maples from the Public Market on either sides of the house
and a new walk to the front door.

You can see that there is an issue in  the middle which needs to be sorted out and I need to plant in the creeping Thyme in between the pavers but its finished for the most part and it much wider and more comfortable to use than the old sidewalk.

Here is a closer look at the window boxes. They are really the first thing I ever built out of wood myself. I know it would have been better if I had mitered the corners but that was above my current skill set. They were really inexpensive to make at about 12.00 each. The brackets were kind of expensive I think 7.00 each but I think they really  make  the whole thing work. You could do it much more cheaply if you had the know-how  and tools to make them yourself.

Tomorrow I’m headed out to pick out some Hostas and other plants from a lady who posted on Craigslist. She is cleaning out her flower beds and is offering whatever anybody wants for 2.00 and 4.oo each which is really going to same me some major cash.

Lastly, here is a look at one of the Japanese Maples I scored for 25.00 under the window box beside the porch.

Total spent on the front yard:

50.oo – Two Japanese Maples
60.00 – Walkway Pavers
18.00 – Mulch
65.00 – Window Boxes

Total: 193.00

I still need to plant some grass and flowers, paint, and some other things but overall I think that the phase one finish line is in sight.

DIY Modern Cement Planters

21 Feb

Saw this DIY over at Re-nest this morning. I’m thinking this would be a great project for the front steps at IBB. I’m wondering if I can color them in some way, and make them a bit larger. The link with the steps and materials is on the word Re-nest. Stay tuned to see how this works out at IBB this summer.