We have a lovely (well, we’re working on it!) yard. It’s big and spacious, and we love spending time out there in the garden and eating dinner on the patio.

But beyond our patio and shed and in-progress flower beds, the view is a little distracting:

We have this nice six-foot privacy fence around most of the yard. But the 50′ closest to the house is just this crappy old rusty bugger of a fence. If you click and zoom on the picture above, you can see where the 6′ privacy fence (on the right) ends and the 4′ rusty one begins.

The rusty four-footer does nothing to block the view of our neighbors’… well, junk.

To be fair, we know that our yard has been plenty junky in the past, and we’re not perfect. In fact, we had a pretty junky swamp cooler that we feel pretty guilty about leaving up for so long (it’s off now, though!). And in the interest of total fairness, allow me to post this doozy of a junk pile from last year that our neighbors probably weren’t too fond of looking at:

But you know how when it’s “your junk” it’s okay? Kind of like when it’s “your filth” in the bathtub it’s okay? No? Anyone?

So, a fence means that we don’t have to look at anyone’s junk but our own- a wonderful thing.

I will spare you all the gory details of putting in a fence. If you’ve never done it, I would recommend getting a book on the matter, or maybe finding a good tutorial online.

A couple of notes though:

  • We got the Home Depot book on fences and patios, and it said to NOT set the line posts in concrete- just the terminal (end) posts. It said to just dig the holes, put in the posts, and fill it back in with dirt. We didn’t trust that, so we set all of them in concrete.
  • We dug all of the post holes with a post hole digger, not an auger. It’s hard work but really not too bad with the two of us. If we had a bunch (we only had five), we would definitely rent an auger.
  • Roots are jerks.
  • We did chain link to match the existing six-foot fence. If we were building a completely new fence around the entire yard, we would have done wood.
  • Vinyl privacy slats are very expensive. For 50′ of 6′ high slats, it would have cost us $275 to buy them new. We found some in the local classifieds for $50.
  • Setting the end posts and then using a string (and line level) as a guide for how tall to set the line posts is a good idea.
  • Brothers-in-law that spend their weekends helping build a fence are nice.
  • To pull the fence tight, you need a fence puller and come-along. A fence puller alone costs $35 to buy, but luckily Home Depot rents out the puller and come-along for $15 for 4 hours, which is more than enough time.

Here is Stan pulling the fence tight with the above-mentioned tools:

Aww yeeeeah.

And here is our progress so far!

Just picture how nice it will be with privacy slats in it. The red truck, white SUV, and minivan parked on the back lawn will be invisible! Along with the toilet and decrepit swing set!

PS- We’re still figuring out the whole “water your lawn” thing so it looks pretty sad right now. So yeah- I know our yard isn’t perfect, but it will be that much nicer when we can look at our imperfections and not our neighbors’.

Stay tuned for Part 2, wherein we put in the privacy slats and gussy it up a bit. We’re hoping the Virginia Creeper will soon spread onto our new fence like it has by the vegetable garden (visible on the right-hand side of the above photo).