Friday Five

This week has flown by! I kept meaning to post about tearing down our deck but all of a sudden I woke up and it was Friday. No complaints here.

1 – We are mostly finished building the second phase of the fence! We have two warped boards that need to be replaced and we need to fix a few places so that the dogs can’t slip out but we finished enough to move on with the next phase of outdoor work. The open spot is where the gate will eventually go. Right now we put some lattice up just to keep the dogs from getting out.

IMG_2154 (002)


2 – We ripped down the deck last weekend! Well, I ripped down the deck with a little help on the stairs from Hell and Kyle handled a majority of the clean up. As long as it doesn’t rain we’ll start on the new deck this weekend!


3 – We’ve been spending a lot of time outside with the pups now that the yard has almost doubled in size again. They are loving all of the extra space and it doesn’t hurt that this is the only grassy area in the backyard right now. Dead grass > no grass.


4 – Our upstairs air conditioning unit went out on Tuesday and it was miserable. All of our bedrooms are upstairs and it was super hot earlier this week. We don’t have a ceiling fan in our room and I prefer arctic temperatures when it comes to sleeping so we ended up sleeping on the floor in the living room. The dogs didn’t mind. Thankfully we were able to get it fixed Wednesday afternoon and the cost was under $100.


5 – We slightly changed the plan for moving the current back doors in the kitchen. Instead of sliding them down the same wall, we’re hoping to take the current dining room window out and put the new doors there instead. This means less steps from the door to the deck and it lets us walk right into what will be the outdoor kitchen/dining area which will be better for grilling. It should also bring in more light on that end of the space. We’ll probably do this next Spring/Summer along with adding more windows in the kitchen/dining room.


That’s all for now! Hopefully I’ll have lots to share next week. I’m usually pretty ambitious in my weekend plans but my hope is to finish getting the back area prepped tonight (rake, pressure wash foundation, lay weed fabric) so that we can start building tomorrow. I really want to power through because right now it’s a hassle to get the dogs out since we have to take them through  the tiny laundry room and then out the back door of the garage but I also want to take the time to make sure everything is 100% right.


Do You Want to Build a Fence? Part Three.

A couple of weekends ago, we finally got around to trimming down the posts and staining our fence. I had almost gotten used to the raw pine look and comically tall fence posts.


Since we only have a small portion of fencing in at this point, we were able to knock out the staining in a weekend. Going into it, we weren’t sure if we wanted one or two coats but we ended up loving it after one so we stopped there. Here’s what we did:

Step One: Trim posts. Kyle bought a 9″ blade for the reciprocal saw and knocked this out quickly.
Step Two: Clean the fence. We broke out the handy dandy pressure washer for this.
Step Three: Allow fence to dry. We cleaned the fence Saturday morning and then ran some errands. By the time we got back the fence was ready for stain.
Step Four: Stain. Stain. Stain.
Step Five: Curse yourself for not staining the boards before you installed them.
Step Six: Stain.
Step Seven: Stretch your back.
Step Eight: Stain some more.
Step Nine: Get your brush stuck between the fence and a tree.

Step Ten: Stain even more.
Step Eleven: Allow fence to dry.
Step Twelve: Top posts with solar light caps.

We finished up late Sunday afternoon and love how it turned out! Here’s a progress shot that shows the new stain vs. the raw lumber.

Our yard is a disaster but at least we have a pretty fence now. Baby steps.





There’s still a ton to do but maybe in about 20 years it’ll all come together.

Do You Want to Build a Fence? Part Two

Phase One of the fence is done! …ish. Mostly? Yeah, mostly.


All of the posts and boards have been installed, the new gate has been built and installed, and we removed the posts and lattice that we didn’t need anymore which probably doubled the amount of space the dogs have to run around.

Seriously, the dogs have been playing outside like crazy which makes me happy because they never used to play outside. I guess it’s no fun when you barely have a yard to run laps in. Anyway, being able to play outside means there’s now a lot less dog wrestling going on in the living room and a lot more of this:


We still have to trim some of the posts down but other than that, all we have to do for this side to be finished is stain. I had hoped we could get that done before winter, but it’s looking like we’ll probably have to wait until spring. The plan is to use the same stain we used when we rebuilt our front porch.


I was hoping to be able to do the next phase of the fence next year but 2016 went from being “Year of the Deck” to “Year of the Deck and a Vacation” and has hopefully settled at “Year of the Deck and a Vacation and Tree Removal.” 2017 isn’t looking much more promising since that’ll hopefully be the “Year of the Kitchen.”

The most important thing now is that pushing the fence out allows us the room we need to expand the deck which is necessary for what we want to do in the kitchen. Maybe 2043 can be “Year of the Finished Fence.” Maybe.

Anyway, I’ve already started on another project but progress is slow now that it’s dark in the evenings (is it appropriate to go to bed at 7:30?) and with holidays coming up. Here’s a hint:


Do You Want to Build a Fence? Part One

With the closet wrapped up, we were finally able to move on to Phase One of our fence project. Almost a year and a half ago, we threw together a very cheap fence in anticipation of adopting a second pup. Taking one 60lb pittie out on a leash is hard enough, trying to take two out every time they needed to pee just wasn’t going to happen. We bought several 4×8 sheets of lattice as well as a bunch of 4×4 posts and post anchors. We opted for the anchors because we knew the location of the fence was temporary so we didn’t want to set anything in concrete.

Here is what a very cheap fence looks like:


Not the prettiest or sturdiest thing in the world but it was functional so we didn’t have a new fence at the top of our priority list. Now that we’re closing in on being able to overhaul our existing deck, it’s time to revisit the fence. We are only putting in one side of the permanent fence right now. This is 100% a budget thing because we just can’t afford to do an entire fence plus a brand new deck and the deck has to be done in order to do the kitchen. Both the kitchen and deck are a much higher priority than a full size fence. If you’re new here, you may be wondering why we’re even bothering with doing one side right now which is a totally valid question. Not only are we tearing down the existing deck, but the one we’re putting in its place is going to be about twice the size. The current crappy fence is right where the stairs from the deck to the yard need to go so it needs to be moved.

Anywho, we started planning out the design of our fence forever ago and at the time, we settled on this:


I love horizontal fences and I think the style fits with our house and I liked that this design had a little variation at the top. Once we got ready to actually start on the fence though, we decided it would be much easier to just keep the same size boards all the way from bottom to top. Not only is it easier for us, but our backyard isn’t flat so we’re having to terrace the fence which looks a lot less weird when all of the boards are the same size.

Our plan is to build this one side of the fence and then connect the existing area to the new area. This time, we’re setting the posts in concrete so everything is a bit more involved but somehow it’s still easier than trying to get those freaking anchors in the ground. We’re also clearing out a couple of trees to make it a bit more open for the pups (and maybe one day small humans) to run around.


We’ve made a lot of progress on the fence and we’re down to the last 3 or 4 boards that need to get installed before we connect the two areas. Unfortunately for us, the weather is being a real witch right now and I’m not sure when we’ll get another dry day to finish. We’ve also got to let the wood dry out for a few weeks before we can stain it; fingers crossed we can get it done before it gets too cold or else we’ll have to wait until Spring!

Here’s a little peek at how things are going:


Most of our fence will be about 5ft tall but we decided to integrate a couple of taller privacy panels which are those two taller sections you see in the picture. Eventually, that’s where our outdoor furniture will go so we thought it would be nice to block out the fence our neighbor has around her deck. Oh and if you’re curious, the plan was not to bump the fence in like that but we ran into a little bit of an issue. When we were digging for the next post after the privacy section, we came across some PVC. We’re thinking it’s a sprinkler line since we called 811 to come spray for utilities and there was nothing in that area. Not a huge deal, we just ended up having to bump toward the house 2ft.

We don’t have much more we have to do for Phase One so hopefully the rain will clear at some point and we can finish up. Or maybe the rain will never stop and we’ll use our fence lumber to build an ark instead.