The Cool House: fence
Showing posts with label fence. Show all posts
Showing posts with label fence. Show all posts

Thursday, November 15, 2012


Ready to install

Again. The front fence was a casualty of Superstorm Sandy. Thank goodness the east fence and the back fence made it through.

Next job is to stain the fences to match the house but that will be done next year in one mammoth house painting session. Looking forward to it.

Thursday, September 08, 2011

What now?

I love when a long renovation comes to an end, the feeing of tranquility that descends when you know you don't have to be dressed and decent at 7:30 AM, when the day will no longer be interrupted by shouts of "You did want the molding removed, didn't you?" or worse "Can you come here a minute, we may have a problem" and when all the power tools have finally been silenced. Even the mental anguish you experience knowing you went over budget despite swearing you wouldn't or the nagging feeling you overpaid for something trivial, there is, at last, a moment of peace that you, in your naivety, imagine will last forever.

At some point, though, this security blanket of home repair denial will be rudely snatched away from you, leaving you exposed and shivering in the cold light of reality. For me it came with the trifecta of the garage door that would no longer close properly, the loose mortar on the chimney and the holes in the fence the fencing guy swore didn't need replacing because it was "good for at least two more years". We set to work. The garage door was repaired by us and when the temporary fix no longer did the trick an "expert" came to fix the problem... and caused another bigger issue that blew the motor. Needless to say the firm's promise to make good meant they ran in the opposite direction and for the whole summer we parked the car outside. But winter will be here before we know it and neither of us fancied digging the car out of a snow bank so I gave in and called another firm. The garage door was fixed without further drama and at a better price than the first guy quoted. The chimney cap blew off in the hurricane, so we locked in a date to fix that and the crumbling cement pronto, except every time the masons came to start the pointing it rained. And by rain I mean tropical storm downpours. Today they found a few hours of sunshine and got the job done. The fence? Well in a rerun of this scenario, we braced and secured the fence. I was promised two more years and I will make sure I get those last few months, if I have to stand there and hold the thing up day and night.

So all was done and I was singing a happy song until I heard a thud that seemed to come from under the dining room floor. Just as the last issue had been taken care of, just as I was thinking we were done for this year, one of the basement windows, the one that had been nailed in place seven years ago by a contractor who thought it wouldn't open and then found he couldn't get it shut, one of a suite of four, fell off its opener. Just because it could.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Standing straight

I was feeling we'd hadn't accomplished much over the past season - we'd started half a dozen projects but none was actually finished - but one item we can cross of our list, with gratitude, is the fence on the south side. It's up, it looks pretty and it withstood 12+" of snow. You can read about the drama last winter here, here and here, or you can just admire the way the snow peaks on the flat caps look just like giant ice cream cones...

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Flat caps

The fence is finally up, all the blue plastic chicken wire has been removed and the old gate has a new set of hardware with self-closing latches. Dogs are securely on one side and the landscapers/pool guys/tree people don't have to lean on it to ensure it latches properly. Polly is, I think, a little sad that she can't get out on her own to go and greet the neighbors but I'm relieved. More importantly no small child can get into the backyard unaided.

The minor niggles - design issues really - like having to put in three different heights, 4', 5' and 6' on the west, east, and south sides, and three different styles so they'd tie into existing fence panels, have worked out better in the practical application than I could ever imagine. It helps that the grade rises by a foot in places so the panels are stepped anyway; we're also fortunate you can't see the whole fence from any vantage point either because of all the plantings.

In fact on the east and south sides you can see very little of the fence itself, just the flat caps I chose to top each post. Those things are fiendishly expensive but as The Guy says: The devil is in the design details.

Monday, November 09, 2009

An Attractive Nuisance

According to the source of all legal stuff I need to know (and a shedload that hadn't even entered my realm of consciousness), fences fall into this category of tort law. I do think it's less of a nuisance than before - to get in now you'd have to scale the sheer 5' panels to get in the back yard, there is a spring latch so landscapers/tree guys/pool guys can't leave the gate open, plus there are no stray nails or screws to tear delicate skin. And the gate has a puzzling pattern of reinforcing strips that some may consider attractive - is that a coat-hanger or a Christmas tree? On the other hand, has all the nasty blue plastic wire been replaced? Not yet. But by next week three-quarters of the yard will be secure. And the ugly metal fence on the north side? Well, that's still under discussion...

Saturday, February 14, 2009

February Fourteenth Fence Fixing and Feasting

Other girls get chocolates and roses on Valentine's Day. I received a roll of poultry fencing and a handful of L brackets*. Well, the fence needed securing, at least until we can re-fence in Spring and I'm not terribly romantically inclined. I'm not too upset.
We're not taking any bets on how long this temporary fix will last but I'm hoping for the end of April. We ended up not using the poultry fencing as The Guy was able to secure the panels to the existing uprights with the L brackets, but we'll keep it just in case.

The newly braced fence. Cat approved.
I am, however, making a French inspired Valentine's supper à quatre tonight:

Salad frisee and Bouillabaisse with Rouille

and Pots de Creme.
Sounds so much more romantic than poached egg salad, fish soup and custard, doesn't it?

Our Valentine's Bears and Chocolate - gifts from the Loyal Blog Reader and Awesome Designer
Happy Valentine's Day to all those who celebrate.
*The Guy would like me to point out that the fence-securing supplies were not my Valentine's present, they were for the dogs. MY gift was the tank of fuel he put in my car this morning. Glad we cleared that up!
UPDATE: Tulips arrived but The Guy insists he bought them for himself.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Blowin' It All Away

The fence that is. I wondered how long it would last and now I know. Despite valiant efforts by The Guy, and later by me, to shore it up, it proved no match for the blustery winds. Polly is wearing the "leash of shame" so she doesn't escape again. We'll have to make do until Saturday when fortress building will recommence.
Anyway, I shot this photo at sunset just to show the internets how beautifully menacing the clouds are. Enjoy.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

We sat on it too long

The fence that is. This one in the photo. Well, obviously we didn't actually sit on it as it would have collapsed much earlier, but we hummed and hawed and generally procrastinated over the benefits of a 4' over a 6' fence, cedar versus a sawdust composite, self-build or ready-made. We tried to make it last just one more season, one more year, a little longer, dragging out the inevitable as we always do until, THUD. Or at least a gentle thwack as one by one the uprights fell onto the snowy ground.
Oh custom-made cedar fence, you looked so sturdy back in the late spring sunshine. Now The Guy has been forced to prop you up with all manner of scraps of wood, fallen tree branches and the plastic lid from the beer cooler. Not really the warm, uniquely modern look we were going for but one we'll be forced to live with until winter comes to an end.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Damn It. Cough... Sniffle...

One of the neighbours just returned the damn dog that had escaped through the damn fence. I had to answer the door, I did hesitate but The Guy had staggered in to work this morning and the good dog was barking. A lot. I wasn't dressed. I haven't got out of my pyjamas since last Wednesday apart from two runs to the pharmacy for drugs and the grocery store for homemade soup. Over the pjs I'm wearing a 10 year old, holey, worn out dressing gown because I spilt soup down the "good" dressing gown. I look as good as I feel.
The neighbor is a really nice, very put-together blonde who used to have a cool job with a popular music channel who wouldn't answer the door to the local police when her 2 year old had been playing with the telephone and mistakenly dialed 911 because she was pregnant with her second child and dressed in her scruffs. She looks like a supermodel.
I feel as good as I look.

Sunday, April 06, 2008

Up the garden path

We moved the garden path 4" to the right. No, I'm not kidding. You would not believe the work entailed in moving five bluestone slabs 4". The digging, raking and sniping away at old roots so the stones would sit level took a couple of hours. And why, you might ask did we undertake this particular project at 5PM on Saturday? Because I was fed up of walking up the garden path only to have to step off it onto soil to get past the huge holly and open the gate.
Other Saturday projects successfully completed: purchase of a 12" brace to temporarily mend the fence again; fixing of said brace to fence panels and post; a rewarding Martini in Mary Carroll's bar at Huntington, followed by the purchase of a Caesar Salad Pizza from Rosa's Pizzeria next door.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

A round up of recent chores

We knocked a few off the punch-list, we even hope not to have to do a couple of them again for at least a few days, weeks months - or EVER!
1) Secure the fence. Again. It blew down during the storms over the weekend. It's happened at least once a year since we moved in. In the past we've re-nailed it, re-braced it, shored it up and bracketed it. This time we have two pieces of cedar on either side of the fence acting as supports, plus one branch that snapped off a Dogwood. I have no confidence that this will be equal to a stiff breeze. The only way to fix this is to re-fence.
2) Screw the hinge back on the mudroom door. Again. This time we not only used longer screws, we also glued them into the wood. It has a 50% chance of being a permanent solution.
3) Straighten the drive post light. Again. The one the local hooligan hit with a baseball bat two summers ago. This time I took a piece of bluestone and rammed it down the side of the post to prop it up. The bluestone will be hidden by the hostas in another month. Probability of success? 75-80%. I don't think this will move unless someone swings on it. Or swings at it with a blunt instrument.
4) Refinish the back door. The one with the dog scratches made not by our puppies but the dog of the previous owner, and the nicks that were made when we had the tempered glass put in. I used Restore-a-Finish, it took almost no time and little effort. Now you can't see the scratches. I went over the entire door. It gleams. I was so impressed I did the laundry door, the window in the kitchen, the sliding door and assorted pieces of baseboard. I love this product.
The only downside is that you can really tell where you used the product so to avoid the tell-tale "I got bored and achey and went off to have a Martini" line on the woodwork you have to keep going. And when you have 70' linear of baseboard Martini time can seem a long way off.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Garden gate

As of yesterday we have a new gate. Hurrah. It should last 10-15 years, double hurrah. Unfortunately our handyman thinks the rest of the fence is toast. Boo.I asked him if he would make us a custom fence to replicate what is there now, but he demurred. He thinks we should get a "nice" cedar fence from the local cedar place. Boo hoo. The local cedar fences are only slightly less horrible than the vinyl stuff. (Have you noticed how vinyl fences almost glow in the dark? How do they do that?) I'm not going to worry about it until it actually falls down, even then I might not worry, after all the gate is as solid as a rock.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Early Fall 2006

early fall 2006
Originally uploaded by modernemama.
We've had a couple of bonus days here with temperatures in the upper 60s so I've been out taking a few photos of the exterior before the leaves disappear completely from the trees.
We lost very little in the storms last weekend, although the fence that was shaky is very rickety indeed now. I went to look at fencing but everything is so awful -vinyl in colors of mushroom and beige or cedar that looks as if it will last a season or two but no more. So we've decided to ask our handyman (who is building us a gate) if he can rebuild the fence the same as it was before only stronger. The trouble is that he is a superb handyman and very much in demand so I imagine the whole fence will have fallen down before he has time to see to this project. C'est la vie.