Uh-Oh! My Fence Fell Down

Jan 01, 2011 | Sayward Rebhal

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Photo of a fence that fell down by eridesign/Flickr.

We thought it would be so great, buying our little urban townhouse on the same block as a coffee shop, a pizza joint, and a pub. “Walk to everything!” we grinned. But yeah, no. Joke was on us.
Here’s some words of wisdom for you: Do not ever, ever buy a house in the vicinity of a bar. BAD IDEA. Those drunkards passed out on my lawn, pissed on my flowers, and during the summer? Oh man, it was yelling and singing through the wee hours of the morning. And I’m no prude – I have hot pink hair and facial piercings! But man, a lady needs her sleep and peace of mind, ya know?

So the thing about drunks is that they’re not so stable? Like, with walking. And as they paused to toss their empty bottles onto my front steps, they would often lose their balance and stumble into my little half fence, the 4-ft tall border between my yard and the chocolate shop next door (more words of wisdom: DO live next to a chocolate shop, oh yes. GOOD IDEA.) That poor little fence, over the course of the first year we were there, began to take on a certain sort of . . . lean. Just a few centimeters further after every weekend, until, eventually, it was at a decidedly un-fencely angle. And then, after one particularly raucous summer night down at the pub, someone came crashing their way down our block, and barreled right into it, full-force.

Goodbye, little fence.

Hello, DIY project.

So my fence fell down, but I was determined to rebuild it! Well, I should say, I was determined to assist my husband as he rebuilt it. And you know what? Putting up a fence isn’t as hard as I would have thought.

Sure, it takes a bit of patience, what with everything needing to be level. But the work itself is pretty basic. We got everything we needed at our local home improvement center, including:
–Lumber (we had our planks pre-cut for ease). We used cedar but cypress or pine are also excellent choices.
–Cement, as powder.
–A bucket to mix said cement.
–A post hole digger, one of those funky shovels that sorta looks like a giant duck face (just me?).
–Screw gun and screws or hammer and nails, pick your poison. Screws definitely seem to be the most highly recommended though, since nails will loosen up over time as the wood warps and bends (in the wind, or under the drunkards as it were). However screws are much more costly, so it’s your call.

And that short list of supplies was all we needed. We were ready to work. And I’m not going to walk you through the basics of how we did it – well okay, maybe the very basics – 1) dig post holes, 2) mix concrete, 3) sink posts, pour concrete, 4) allow concrete to dry COMPLETELY, 5) attach planks either vertically or horizontally, depending on your aesthetic, and optionally: stain or paint. It was easy. It took a weekend. Who knew!?

(Of course, you can always call a professional fence contractor for ensured peace of mind.)

When my fence first fell down I thought to myself, “Uh-oh, this is gonna be spendy.” But I was wrong, with a little sweat equity and a little DIY magic, we got out of this dilemma with very little spent and a pretty new fence to show for it. And that new little fence? Still going strong after 4 years, even with all those troublesome drunkards.


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