The Plan For Our Back Fence

Back in April, I mentioned that replacing the back fence was one of the biggest goals for our yard this summer, for a combination of privacy and aesthetic reasons. Since it sits between our yard and the alley and is currently just an old chain link fence, we get a less than stellar view of the alley and its garbage cans, and anyone going by gets to look into our yard like a fish bowl.

Just to recap and illustrate the current fence situation, here’s a photo taken while standing in the alley and looking into the backyard:

Backyard Alley Fence

So we knew we wanted to upgrade to a privacy fence — most likely of the six-foot wooden variety, which many of our neighbors up and down the block already have. We briefly flirted with the idea of trying to build something ourselves, but neither Joe nor I have any amount of experience or expertise when it comes to building wooden fences, and I could imagine us struggling for weeks with it only to end up with some crooked thing that would blow over in the next strong wind.

In short, we realized that we were in over our heads and decided to call in the pros.

Starting a few weeks ago, we began shopping around for some quotes from local fence builders, and while the project in general would be pretty straightforward, there were a few little specific details we wanted. For instance, the current fence isn’t perfectly straight, but rather extends outward toward the alley at a slight angle, going few feet past the edge of the garage. In a smaller yard this probably wouldn’t matter so much, but considering that our narrow city lot is on the small side to begin with, that angle translates into few precious extra feet of backyard. So naturally, we wanted any replacement fence to be the same way.

Here’s a side view showing a better view the angle of the fence:

Bend In The Chain Link Fence

The other thing we wanted was a better latch and/or lock for the gate. Currently the gate to our chain link fence just has the traditional kind of latch that flips up to let you open it:

Chain Link Fence Gate

And Lillian figured out how to open it in about two seconds, meaning we have to either hover right there by the gate, or jury-rig a loop of rope to keep it closed, to prevent her from running out into the alley (and potentially into the path of cars). So a nicer gate with a nicer latch would definitely be a safer and more convenient upgrade for our yard.

We had a couple of different contractors come out and take measurements and talk about what we wanted to do, and we felt comfortable enough to pick one a little over a week ago.┬áHere’s the super-accurate diagram of our soon-to-be new fence from the winning quote:

New Fence Estimate

We chose the fence-building company mostly based on price, though we also liked their general professionalism and the number of examples they had, both in the form of photographs and in the yard outside their office.

I’m not sure if it’s legible in the handwriting above, but the new back gate will have a lock with a key. And as for the specific style, we decided to go with the “Traditional Board and Batten” style of privacy fence. Here’s a snapshot of the picture from the brochure they gave us:

Traditional Board And Batten Fence

The line sketched in pen is to show that there’s going to be a horizontal piece of wood for support on the inside of the fence, so it’s not a perfect representation. But we liked the general look of it — the board and batten style seemed like it would add a bit more texture and interest than the normal kind, and since the difference in price was minimal, we decided to go with it.

So that’s the situation with the back fence so far! We’ve made the initial deposit, and the work should begin in the next week or so (with the exact date yet to be determined). I’m really looking forward to seeing what it looks like once it’s all built — stay tuned for all the details which will be coming to this blog once it’s done!

And in the meantime, does anyone have any stories about having fences put in, whether by a contractor or by your own two hands? If so, did it turn out how you expected?


  1. Only fence story I have is about using the DR Trimmer with the Dura Blades on chain link fence! James was cutting brush and vines, and didn’t know the fence was there under it all. The fence won! Use a string trimmer around your new fence. It will be lovely, and give you so much privacy!

    • Bummer about the trimmer losing the fight with the chain link fence! A string trimmer sounds like a good thing to have when there are fences to trim around — I think we actually have one in the garage that we got from my aunts a while back, though we haven’t used it much yet. I’m really excited about this yard upgrade and can’t wait to post an update about the new fence! :)

  2. I love the texture of that fence, and you can tell people you have a B&B, !

    I have a recent fence installation (horror) story: when Kate’s dog accidently injured our dog, Saiorse, she got one of those kennels that can be 5×15 or 10×10 to put her dog in its own space – then realized it was “on sale” because you practically had to construct it from scratch, requiring tools we did not have (to stretch the chainlink). So she returned it, and got a roll of “horse fencing” and the metal poles with which you install it by clipping the fence to them, then pounding them in with a hammer. Half the price of the kennel, and MUCH easier to install . . . except! The poles were not exactly meant for the fencing (2 different manufacturers), and we found ourselves having to pry the clips further open to accommodate the wire, PLUS several spots where we needed to sink a pole were full of roots, which had to be chopped and dug out – and then one must have been over the septic tank, because it would NOT go there, no matter how we dug. So that one went at a weird angle, about half as deep as the other posts, and mostly held up by the tension from the rest of the fence! By the end of the day, Stephen and Kate and I were all 3 exhausted and sweaty – but so far, it has held up to River’s 45 pound tall doggy self. And Saiorse is pleased to have River’s company in the yard without her exuberant rough-housing!

    • Oh dear, that sounds like quite an ordeal getting that installed! I can only imagine how exhausting it must have been digging through all those roots and such. But I’m glad the second attempt resulted in a functional fence, though, with the added bonus of being half the price. Thanks for sharing your fence installation horror story, and so great to hear that it ended with a standing fence and two happy doggies! :)

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *