Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Fence me in... please.

I had no clue that paint choices would elicit such a response from my audience. It's awesome. Thanks to everyone who chimed in. It looks like paint option number 1 is the winner. I sure wish the process was as easy as it is with photoshop.

Our fence project has been at the forefront of the spring season.

A very busy road goes in front of our house. It hasn't been a problem in the past, especially since Emma saw our cat run over by a car 3 years ago. She's been especially cautious. Mandy on the other hand, has no concept of the danger and likes to play chicken. Add one very quick little boy who is crawling at 5 months, and you've got one super nervous mommy.

Jeff saw my concerns and we worked a fence into the budget now instead of 5 years from now.

Thanks to my blog audience who gave us sound advice and we chose a 4 foot narrow picket vinyl fence. We ended up ordering it from an online source called USA Fence. It wasn't necessarily the cheapest of the cheap (Home Depot has that corner on the market), but it was the best quality for our money. The 8 foot sections are reinforced so they won't sag. Also there are no external brackets that end up rusting.

We did lots of driving around looking at terribly installed vinyl fences. That's what we really didn't want. Our new fence has a job to do (keep the kids in) and it also needs to look great for a long time. Jeff did research online about how to do everything "right." I assured him that I watched at least 5 fences being put in on This Old House or other HGTV type shows. That makes me almost an expert.

The fence arrived in a big pallet of pieces a few weeks later. My husband is so hard core. He started the project in the rain, digging the two holes for the driveway posts right away by hand. We planned on a gate, so he welded up some iron posts for the white vinyl post to slide over the top. The base of the posts are buried 3 feet with a 2 foot iron base and buried in twice as much cement as recommended. Just don't back into our end posts. You'll hurt yourself.

(Can you even believe someone gave these boots away for free at the MOPS swap?)

I was actually working, people. I ran the post hole digger!

The fence system is really ingenious (it just took me 3 times through spell check to spell "ingenious").

It integrates, each piece building upon the next. It allows for a lot of flex so we could level and re-level as we went.

The first 4 holes went beautifully smooth with the post hole digging attachment on the tractor. But then we got closer to the big Black Walnut tree and encountered these:

The roots were everywhere. We didn't find any advice in our research, so Jeff attacked this problem with a chain saw.

I love this man.

In all my years of This Old House watching, I've never seen them cut tree roots in a 3 foot deep hole with a chain saw. I'm really not sure what they would do....

Not put a fence near a tree?

Even with our complications, all 8 of our posts and rail sections were in by the end of the afternoon. A wind and rain storm were predicted, so we quickly filled in the holes enough to hold (or so we thought) the posts in place.

The next morning the fence was all out of whack. I was seriously worried. It looked like one of the awful, Home Depot, DIY specials we made fun of during our research process. The rain made the ground incredibly soft and the posts settled and the rain twisted them to and fro. Jeff came in after surveying the damage and said, "Well, the fence fell over."

We learned a lot during this process. First, the ground was really too saturated and the project would have been much more fool proof in the Fall or Summer. Secondly, we also learned that the fence system is very forgiving. With a bit of bracketing and tweaking, the fence looked as good as new. Which is good since it was new. I breathed a sigh of relief.

Jeff anchored some things in place, waiting for the water to go out of the holes, and the job took a bit longer than we planned. But the finished project look like this:

I look out the window now and see this view and think it was worth the effort.

It totally fits the style of the house and I'm glad we didn't go with the swoop as I originally wanted.

(The Fence Company website photo)

What would I do without my faithful blog audience? Make terrible fencing choices, that's what.

Since this picture was taken, Jeff installed the two white rail gates that close off the driveway. No more playing chicken.

It's coming time to paint the house. I knew it. My painter man extraordinaire knew it. But it wasn't until we saw this picture that we realized that the brand new, spankin' white fence makes the house look really in need of paint. 

And that's where you come in. 

Do you want to come paint my house? I make stellar oatmeal cookies as payment.

No, no, really, I just need you to lend your expertise on a color scheme:

Option number one is to paint the house light brown with white shutters, white trim, and a red front door.

Option number two is to paint the house a lighter brown, call it "taupe," with white trim, dark green to black shutters, and a dark red front door.

Option three is a lighter taupe, brown shutters, and a white front door.

There you have it. Make sure to vote. And schedule a work day. I'm joking. Totally joking. Sorta.

Our fence project was really a lot of fun. I would encourage all you DIYers to give fencing a try.

* Beware that if you google "fencing" you'll get results of white suited figures jabbing pointed sticks at each other. *



Lesley Miller said...

Oh boy- i love voting! And, I love your new fence! It's adorable.

I think I like the first house choice. Too bad I don't live closer. I could come and lend my long limbs in aiding you paint the shutters.

Tawny said...

The first house choice, or the 2nd house choice with black shutters and a black door. That's my favorite combo. Try it!

LOVE the fence!!!

Kellie said...

Love the new fence!

As for house's my vote in order of preference:

#3 (why not a red door?)

I happen to love red front doors. It's one thing my husband and I agree on!

Anonymous said...

Love the fence and am voting with my daughter-in-law - #1 is my first choice.

Great Aunt Marlene

Carissa said...

Number one is my first choice. I LOVE red doors.


Anonymous said...

I vote for #1, the fence is beautiful! Grandma Bonnie

MelinaLawson said...

I like color option #1 best - nice and bold without being overwhelming. And showcases that amazing fence! ^_^

Ariel said...

I vote #3.

And seriously if you want help for the lower levels (afraid of heights!) I would be willing to help! I love painting :)

Shawna said...

I like #1 the best.

I loved the photo of Jeff with the chainsaw in the ground! That would be a fun caption photo, especially without the back story. Got Gophers? :-) Made me think of Caddyshack for a minute.

Melanie said...

Hey Alysun - the fence looks GREAT! Phil and I both put in our vote for the first house with the darker paint and nice red door. :) Take care!

Stacy said...

#2 & if you wait until late July I'm totally there to help out!

Dan & Hillary said...

#2 is the choice!! I love the darker but still red, door.

PS- your fence sounds like it could protect a federal building with all the reinforcements it has;-) You are blessed.

Andee said...

Ok, so when I saw the first picture of you helping out, I thought, where did she get enormous pink rubber boots? I want some! The fence looks great and I would vote for #1, but since it's so close to the color scheme we were going for, I will have to vote for #2. :)

Amanda said...

I like number 1! And your fence looks great!

Heather Davis said...

Option 2 all the way. Although I like white for the "farm" house look. But a modern twist is pretty cool too. Btw I don't know you but really feel like I'd like to meet you after reading your blog all the time. Wish you were closer to GA so you could help me with my house.

Sherri said...

Love #1! This grandma is thrilled the fence and gate is done! Emma is a thoughtful child, but Mandy runs and drives without a care of where she is... I will sleep better!

Anonymous said...

I noticed the fence last time I was out at the farm and I admired it. I would love to come and help you paint! I think #1 is nice. I recommend Behr or Miller paint. Let me know, I can leave the kids with Mom and Dad and help you out.
Jenni B

Kelly said...

The fence looks amazing and beautiful! We, too, live on a very busy road near an intersection and have two fearless little men running around these parts. We have a fence but need gates at our driveways and this is inspiring to see on your blog!

I love choice #1 or choice #2 with black shutters. Green and red together on a house always reminds me of Christmas for some reason, but I do like the house color in #2.

Anonymous said...

I love the fence! I'd go for option #2. I've always had a thing for black shutters. :)

Kari said...

about red front doors. As darling as they are... When I lived in Sweet home there was a "slum lord" who put red doors on all his houses...kind of labeled his not so fortunate tenants that way.

I like the lighter brown.

My man also is really really good with chain saws in the ground for tree roots. He set up our dog kennel with the bucket loader and in the rain the other coming soon. I think they may be twins separated at birth!

Sara said...

I vote for #1, #2, and then #3. I love the fence and it makes me wish we had one even more!

Linds and Manda said...

The first one you posted is my favourite. I love the red door. My second vote goes to the third picture. Too bad the actually paint job isn't as easy as clicking a button on photoshop.:) The fence looks wonderful. If I lived closer I would come help you paint. And that says a lot about our friendship because I've done very little painting and what I have done was not done so while having fun. Thanks also for the heads up on the google search. What a pain it would be if you're looking for info on a picket fence and you come up with pictures of Mr. Darcy fencing in order to rid his thoughts of Miss Elizabeth Bennett. :) On that abstract thought I will bid you adieu.

simplykersh said...

I totally go for #1 - But me and darker browns just get along good. I would be willing to trade childcare on painting day as we will also be painting our house this summer, we would love to have your girls up.

And my Jeff says to your Jeff - wear safety goggles because he makes wantabe farmers like himself feel bad for being over protective!

joyq said...

Oh oh oh pick the black shutter red door one! oh oh oh! I love it !!! Here is my tried and true advice: You will NEVER regret a red door. Ne-ver.

Anonymous said...

Whoo Hoo on the fence!~Great job!~As far as the painting house option I Love #1. Now I must admit I'm a bit biased as this is similar to my house. My house color has a bit more green in it vs. the taupe. So, if you're heading over to your sister's house we only live a couple of blocks from them. 1925 23rd. Happy Painting!

Melanie said...

I vote for #2 - I think the black shutters make the house look grounded - like it's here to stay. Ok - kind of a weird reason, but anyway, that's what I thought when I saw it.

How nice to be able to be able to experiment with photoshop and see what it will look like without putting in all the work!

Notorious M.E.G. said...

In order of preference:


The dark green/black shutters are gorgeous & I love red doors. The first one is nice as well. I don't really care for the third one. Good luck either way!

Janelle Rispler said...

I would have to go with the majority here and say number 1-- maybe with black shutters?? The fence looks great. I love your little farm.

Anonymous said...

I love your roof! Can you tell me what company makes your roofing material?

Christian Renwick said...

Great job with your fence! It looks really good! I love that you treated this project as quality time too, and I’m glad that you guys had fun building it. I also commend you for not settling on a fence type just because it was the least expensive. Quality and durability is vital, especially when safety and privacy are of the utmost importance.