A few weeks ago, I laid out the plan for our back fence in this post, which explained why we wanted to replace the old chain link fence with a 6-foot privacy fence and how we ended up deciding to call in the pros rather than try to DIY it. Shortly after came a teaser in the form of an Instagram photo showing the fence in progress, which you may have seen on Instagram here or randomly thrown in at the end of the post about our window box flowers here.
So for today’s post, I’m finally back with the pictures and details about our shiny new privacy fence! Skipping straight to the good stuff, here’s a view of the backyard as it looks now:
(Plus a bonus bouncy ball! See it in action in this post.)
It’s hard to put into words what a nice difference it makes not to be able to see out into the alley from the backyard. Just for fun, I thought I’d include a “before” picture of the old fence into this post — for some reason I missed including a photo of the fence from a similar angle in the “state of the backyard” post I wrote in April, so here’s a view of what it looked like when we moved in:
(It’s crazy how much overgrowth we used to have along that back fence! Getting rid of those weed trees helped a lot, but I guess we’ve been making pretty good progress on the rest of the weedy stuff too. Anyway…)
The installation happened on a Saturday (on Memorial Day weekend, actually). The fence guy arrived at around 9:00 and got right to work — and in no time, the old fence was gone and the skeleton of the new fence was in its place. The work went on until a little after 5:00, and for us it was pretty much a normal day hanging around the house, except for walking back there and/or looking out the windows to take a peek at the progress every so often:
(Grendel seemed interested in the strange activity going on outside, too.)
Each of the new fence posts are sunk three feet deep and set in concrete, and it was built completely custom with no pre-assembled pieces — the fence guy arrived in a pickup truck stuffed with planks of lumber. So between the supplies for mixing cement and the power tools for cutting the wood, our backyard definitely looked like a construction zone for the duration of the work:
(Don’t worry, though — it all got cleaned up by the end of the day.)
I keep saying “fence guy,” singular, because the bulk of the work was done by just one person — I thought I might’ve seen an assistant out there briefly during the part where they were dismantling the old fence, but if so, they didn’t stay for long. I was actually a little surprised about this part.
Not that it really mattered, though, because that one guy sure could build a fence. Here’s a view of the new fence as seen from the alley once it was all done, complete with all those funky angles we wanted (as explained in the plan here):
For fun, here’s another before shot (this time taken only a few weeks earlier and originally posted here) showing the old chain link fence from the same angle:
As the contrast between the above photos shows, the privacy from this thing is such an improvement over that fishbowl we had before!
As for the actual details of the fence itself, the “traditional batten” style we chose may not be very apparent from a distance, so here’s a closer view to show how the boards are staggered to produce a little more texture and interest than just a flat wall of wood:
And the back gate got a big upgrade as well — the new latch actually locks now, with a key and everything, from both the inside and the outside:
Oh, and I’m not sure I even mentioned this part in the planning post, but we also had them replace the gate leading out toward the front as a part of this upgrade:
I know it looks a little strange to have the wooden gate just floating there while the rest of the fence is still chain link. In an ideal world we would have upgraded the fences on the sides of the yard as well, with something similar to this — a 4-foot privacy fence in the same batten style as the back one, which would be low enough to feel not completely cut off from our next-door neighbors while still being tall and solid enough to add a bit more privacy and boundary between the backyards. But alas, the cost of that much fence would be prohibitively expensive for us right now.
In any case, even just the gate is a lot more functional for us compared to the old one. In addition to reducing that fishbowl effect from the front a little, the latch is higher up and not as easy for toddler-hands to manipulate — at least so far, knock on wood* — and it also has the possibility of easily locking if we ever want to throw one on there:
* mmm, punny
So anyway, that’s the scoop on our new fence! We’re pretty happy with the way it turned out. And interestingly enough one of our neighbors came by as the work was being finished to compliment the fence and ask the fence guy for his contact info, so that’s probably a good sign.
In case anyone is in the Chicago area and wondering who we used, we went through a company called Fenceworks, which has an office located up in the north suburbs. Disclaimer: I am not in any way affiliated with Fenceworks, and even though we had a good experience and were quoted a good price I would encourage everyone to shop around and get estimates from a number of companies, etc. Disclaimer 2: If you do click through to their website, be warned that it’s a bit hard on the eyes color-wise (orange text on a green background, eek!) though they have a pretty good selection of fence photos on there. Lots of possibilities if you’re trying to decide on a style of fence for your own yard!
Oh, and as a final note, sealing/staining/painting the fence wasn’t included with any of this, so right now the wood (cedar) is completely bare. We know that if we leave it as is, it’ll eventually weather to a soft grey — which may not necessarily be such a bad thing visually, though we’ll probably want to do some research on how we should treat it or seal it to protect it from the elements as much as possible. This has been a fairly significant investment for the backyard, so we definitely want it to last!
What do you think of the new fence? For anyone with any experience with a wooden privacy fence (or deck or other outdoor structure), what (if anything) did you do to seal/protect it, and how has it held up over time? Any other advice on what to do as far as sealing it goes? Any comments would be appreciated!