Breaking Ground on the Fence Installation

Projects

Our fence plans are in motion and installation has begun! The crew has made amazing progress in such a short period of time. They’re installing the fence in two phases – first, the post and rail and second, the picket, chain link and gates.

Bringing in the professionals

We’re so used to the slow grind of DIY projects on the weekends that we forget how quickly a project can get done when that’s the sole focus (and experts are doing the work). The installers have such an efficient process and leave nearly no trace that they were ever digging holes in the first place. Aside from the cedar looking so new, you would never guess that it was installed recently.

Even though I’ve visualized what the fence would look like for quite some time now, I’m still surprised to see what’s been in my head come to life. It feels like Christmas! The top rail reaches four feet with the posts extending an additional five inches. Opting for three rails gave us the extra height we were looking for to deter the dogs from casually jumping out.

Digging holes

All of the holes were dug manually with a post hole digger and a digging bar, and for good reason! Aside from the typical tree roots and boulders, it’s common to encounter ledge, or large veins of rock, in our area. Digging by hand makes these obstacles easier to navigate. An auger would constantly get stuck or tangled, and have to be pulled out every time an obstacle was hit. Not to mention, operating an auger can be dangerous in unpredictable ground. Thankfully we only had a few areas with ledge that made for some back breaking digging and, boy, are we glad it wasn’t us out there digging those holes!

Pine vs. Cedar

Cedar was recommended over pine as the more durable wood option. Not only does pine need to be treated for protection and preservation, it has a tendency to warp and buckle as it ages. Not to mention, the new growth pine wood used today can’t stand up to the stability, durability and longevity of old growth pine used years ago. Unlike pine, cedar is know to be naturally rot resistant and insect tolerant. Post and rail, or split rail, fences typically have eight-foot or ten-foot rails. We chose eight-foot rails to reduce the likelihood of sagging over time. All of these factors will, hopefully, lead to a longer-lasting fence.

Sealing and setting posts

To extend the life of our cedar posts further, Matt and I applied two coats of a clear wood sealer to the bottom 32”. Our fence contractor does not use concrete to set posts in the ground. Oftentimes, moisture pools around the top of the concrete so posts fail right at that point because there is nowhere for the moisture to go. By simply burying the posts in the ground and tamping the soil back in around them the wood has the ability to dry out whenever it gets wet.

What’s next?

The picket fence materials are still being built by the supplier, so the crew has completed what they can for the time being.  Phase two will include wrapping the back side of the post and rail with black chain link to keep the dogs in, installing the picket fence along the front of the garden and installing picket gates all around. We are counting down the days until we can let the dogs run free in a safe, contained space!

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