Mon. May 27th, 2024

With all of our garage drama, I pushed the neighbour to have the south fence posts installed earlier than we originally planned. The original plan was to install the fence and finish landscaping after the permit was closed. But with such a delay in the garage build, I couldn’t wait any longer and got the fence posts installed in July so I could make some progress. So Phase 3 comes before Phase 2. I never would have guessed we’d be here…

Phase 1: North Fence and Gate
Phase 2: Garage
Phase 3: South Fence
Phase 4: Garage Canopy and Deck
Phase 5: Pavers
Phase 6: Floating Deck

Since our neighbour’s construction work destroyed most of our fence (and it was time for a new fence anyways), they replaced all the posts between our properties. We made sure that the new fence followed our property lines (at least as much as we could), given that the previous one was really inaccurate.

The most painful bit was when some random guy with an auger showed up and dug 7 holes for $350, and it took him under an hour. If I had known the holes would be so cheap to sub out, I wouldn’t have killed myself digging the holes myself… Sigh.

With the post installation underway, I ordered my next pile of wood to work on the fence.

The contractor also put up all the horizontal rails that I needed to attach my boards to. They worked on it while I was at the office so I didn’t see it go up during the day. When I got home, I realized that they installed the top rail well above the height of my existing fence. I was so frustrated that they had finally made some progress on something but it still wasn’t done properly. The stress of our garage delay and this fence mishap was enough to send me over the edge. They quickly fixed the height of the top rail so I could work on the fence later that day.

I spent Friday afternoon painting the fence rails and removing excess dirt around the posts to make the ground more level and the same height as the north side.

Luckily from some lessons learned on the north side, I was able to install our boards quickly and only once this time!

Since the ground was so uneven in the backyard from the garage demolition, I couldn’t use the ground to figure out the height of the boards. Luckily the back part of my yard is under 12′ so I used a 12′ long 2×4 to figure out the top of the south fence and installed a 1×6 board as my straight line.

I started at the back part of my yard first and it took me all of Saturday morning to finish the 12′ stretch of fence.

Next I installed the fence boards on the short piece of the fence near the tree. The process was the same as everything else, except that I had to change the bottom of the fence boards so they could accommodate the tree roots.

By midafternoon I had completed the back section of the fence and I was ready to move onto the first stretch from the deck. The reason I wasn’t continuing on from the tree portion was that the last board would need to be ripped to the right width so I wanted that board to be hidden behind the tree.

To make sure that my two fence pieces met at the right height, I installed the guide at the top first and carried the straight line all the way to the deck.

I also had to figure out how to install horizontal rails between the first post and my existing deck since I’m doing vertical boards and need something behind them. The new post and my existing deck don’t totally align because the new posts straddle the property line, but my deck posts are completely on my side of the property. But I found a way.

It was then time to install the first board against the deck.

Everything was going swimmingly until I hit an old metal footing for a fence. I couldn’t install any more boards so I had to remove it. Luckily my new neighbour was in the backyard and the two of us worked at it for a good half hour to finally free it.

Then I was on my merry way again until I hit the next old footing. This one was harder to take out, but we hacked away at it until there was enough removed that I could keep going with the fence.

I was pretty tired at this point and it was almost the end of the day, so I stopped with about 7 or 8 feet left to go.

With such a small section left to finish, I took the Monday afternoon off and finished the rest of the fence. I had to spend some time cleaning dirt away from the tree base, which was probably the most time consuming and tedious part of the day. I used a shovel to remove a lot of the dirt, and then used a broom and my shop vac to get around the roots.

The fence boards went up quickly, but I had to cut around the roots on the other side of the tree as well. The height difference was more significant, so I angled the boards over a longer stretch so the change in height wasn’t as drastic. I used 4 scrap boards to figure out the angle of the cuts and then set up saw angle based on those lines. Then I kept the saw at that angle and carefully measured so the fence boards were cut to the right length.

For the final pieces in the corner, I had to rip them on the table saw. The fence was mostly straight, but I had to cut one of the pieces on a slight angle to accommodate the slight slant. But installed, it wasn’t visible.

My final step was to install a new cedar piece at the deck where there was now a gap between the new fence and the existing deck.

My the end of the day on Monday, I had completely finished the south side of the fence.

We are now significantly closer to where the garage will be, so hopefully finishing off the final parts of the fence will be relatively quick once we have the garage structure in place.

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