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Installing a fence: Adding the panels

Exterior, How-To

In part one of our little fence adventure we dug holes, poured concrete, and set our posts. Part one was kinda drawn-out and sucky, and carrying the 2-man digger around made my back hurt. So I wasn’t exactly looking forward to part two – putting up the panels. But it turns out this is the easy-breezy part of the job.

Fence panels - glad to have an 8' truck bed
Thank god for the 8′ truck bed!

We bought 30 8′ gothic picket fence panels from Home Depot, which required two trips to get home. Two trips beats the $75 delivery fee, though. The first time around we didn’t pay much attention to what we were loading up because it was almost 10pm and the parking lot was too dark for assessments. Big mistake – 4 of them were either broken or had badly warped boards. The next morning I headed back to return the 4 defect panels and get 15 more – 19 total, which left the truck about 1 panel shy of absolutely totally full. I made the poor HD guys sort through a huge stack to be sure we were getting the best quality panels – they were surprisingly patient. I was laying on the girlish charm, which always helps. I don’t lift a finger at Home Depot anymore. I always used to load my own stuff, no matter how heavy or unwieldly, because I had something to prove to all the big boys hanging around the lumber aisles… but now I don’t care enough to bother.

Putting up the panels was pretty straightforward. Line ’em up, screw ’em in. I learned a new technique though, “raking” – which is how we got the panels to follow the various little hills and valleys throughout the lawn.

Here is a panel pre-raking. You can see that it looks all wonky:

Fence panel, before raking

To rake it, we put the bottom-right edge against the post, leaving the top edge free. I held the panel while he knocked the bottom-left edge with a mallet. This made the bottom part of the fence shift, while keeping the top alignment the same. So you end up with something much more appealing, like this:

Fence panel, after raking

Surprisingly, the panels only took us a few hours to put up – and we were being pretty picky about things. We also got a gate set up on the side nearest the driveway (and the lawnmower) so we can get in and out easily. We still need to cut down the posts, add some decorative toppers to the corners, and stain it white. We also plan to add a second gate at the back of the yard, but we put a panel up temporarily so we could let the dogs run free until we got to that.

The dogs, and the running free… that’s for another post. Because my dream of playing fetch and tiring them out so they become sweet and docile pups? Totally not happening. Not yet anyway.

Comments, Thoughts, and Feedback

Patricia in Jackson had this to say on 05.24.07:

It’s looking good! I thought they were going to be great big panels so I was surprised by the pickets, don’t ask me why, I just had it in my head for some reason. I wish my dogs would stay inside a fence that height. If it isn’t 6 ft., they’ll jump it!

Kristin had this to say on 06.11.07:

“tiring them out so they become sweet and docile pups” … yeah, I dreamed of that, too. Little did I know, min pin puppies do not get tired. She is a whirlwind.

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