The Fence Saga Part 3: Installation

Sorry for the delay on part 3, I was processing the election information and needed to crawl into a hole for a while. I’m back now, and after making some donations to the ACLU I’m ready to share more about my fence.

While Katie, Nathan, and my mom were staining panels, my dad and I got to work measuring for the post holes. We used two of the old panels and added three new panels to the mix. The old panels had been trimmed to fit the previous fence and were not quite 8 feet long so we had to set the posts to fit a variety of panel lengths. We strung a line between my neighbor’s back fence and a telephone pole that was exactly on the property line and then removed all of the old panels.



According to city hall, the fence posts had to be facing my yard and the fence could be up to, but not on, the property line, so the posts had to sit a little bit inside of my property. We rented a 1 Man Auger from Home Depot because we thought it would be easier than hand digging the holes. This tool was cray. It spun around with such insane force that my dad said it would have ripped my arms off. It slipped out of his hands and ended up smashing into his leg so hard I’m pretty sure it will be bruised forever. (Thanks, Dad!) My job was to clear the dirt from around the hole and help catch the auger when it tried to run away.


We started with the right end post and quickly learned that the ground back here wasn’t actually made of dirt. It was made of tree roots, bricks, and clay. Getting the auger to cut through the tree roots was a big challenge, but the bricks were impossible. The auger would hit a brick and get stuck, and then I tried to carve the bricks out of the hole so that we could continue trying to dig a 10″ x 2–2.5-foot deep hole. We did our best to keep each of the six holes in a straight line and deep enough to get a full bag of concrete around the post to keep it sturdy. After we finished digging all of the holes, my dad had to bounce to go to the Indians game, so my mom and I got to work getting each post set in cement. After watching this youtube video by Shane Conlan to learn how fence posts work. First, I dropped the post in the hole and screwed two or three braces into the sides to prop up the post and get it level and plumb. We used the line to check for plumb and my mom manned the level while I adjusted the post and kicked the braces into place.


I’ll keep it real now, this is where I made a mistake. We did one post at a time and got the post in the ground and in place, then set it with cement and moved on to the next post. Knowing that there were so many bricks that caused the auger to bounce around, we should have gotten all of the posts braced in the ground before dropping cement in the holes so that we could adjust their placement. It was impossible to get all of the bricks out of the area around a few posts and it would have been a smoother process if we positioned all of the posts before cementing them. Each post got one full 50-pound bag of Quikrete and we left them to set overnight before working on attaching the fence panels.


Look how much space I gained! I got about 2-3 feet on the one side and a full 5 feet behind the garage.

old-vs-new-posts old-vs-new-posts-2

The next day, my parents came back over to help attach the panels. We double checked the measurements of each panel and realized the ground was higher behind the garage, so we started back there. We checked to make sure each panel was level before screwing it onto the posts. As we moved on to the next panel, we used the level again to keep the panels level with each other and individually.


Some areas needed to be dug out and raked to move some of the dirt around to make room for the panel to float off the ground.


Reminder: in Lakewood the posts are supposed to be facing your yard so that your neighbors get the clean, good side of the fence.


After we got all of the panels up, Jennifer and I finished staining everything. As you can see from the stain gradient below: one coat on an old panel, un-stained new panel, one coat on a new panel, two coats on a new panel.


All stained:


Up next, Part 4: Finishing Touches


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