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Picket fence daydreams

Exterior, Inspiration

First, an update on the roof – it’s nearly done. Teague spent yesterday shingling it, and the only thing left to do is cap the ridges. Having this project off our to-do list will be a huge relief, both physically and mentally. A leaky roof can really ruin your day, and we will no longer have to worry about that.

The expense was also a concern, and weighed heavily on my mind this past year. When I hear roof repair, I immediately start seeing dollar signs. And it could have been very expensive, had we used contractors or gone a different route with the repairs. But in the end our materials bill only rang up to about $500. For 3 (very hard – mostly for Teague) days of work, this is another project I’m happy we tackled ourselves! That is considerably less than we had planned on and saved for, which means we have a little head start on our next project.

We’re not quite sure what our next project is, but a backyard fence is one option we’re toying with. It’s been on our wishlist since we installed a “temporary” wire fence for the doggie play area almost two years ago.

Our fence goals are:

  • To create some sense of space in the backyard (right now it’s a wide open expanse of nothingness)
  • Make the yard cozier to hang out in and give us a starting point for future landscaping
  • Allow the dogs to play and run wild (under our supervision) off a leash
  • Stay within a reasonable budget (no $150/8ft length options for us!)

While a taller privacy fence would be the most functional choice, I can’t help but daydream about white picket fences. They remind me of quaint little New England harbor towns and pretty English cottages. They look amazing and fit the character of historic homes. But……. would we be choosing form over function, and chaining ourselves to a ton of extra maintenance? Anyone care to weigh in?
For some reason I’m especially drawn to the narrow, square-picket styles, like these:
Picket Fence

Danville Museum Picket Fence

And I like this rustic one, found on To Restore a House in Churchill, West Virginia:
White Picket Fence

Some handy fence resources:

Build a Picket Fence (Popular Mechanics)

Installing a Picket Fence (DIY Network)

Buckets of picket fence photos for inspiration (Hoover Fence)

Historic Fence Design and Maintenance (Historic New England)

Comments, Thoughts, and Feedback

Jordana had this to say on 08.09.06:

I really, really like the square picket styles too. But our house came with a picket fence along the front (you can see it in these photos) it’s hung on the old metal chainlink fence posts and so when we built a small stretch of fence along the side yard and a new gate, we matched what was there. I really love it, but if I had to pick from scratch, I’d probably go with square pickets.

merideth had this to say on 08.09.06:

ok first, i cant believe y’all did your own roof work. for days beth and i have been saying “can you believe they are doing their own roof?!!” so hooooray that it’s done and done on the cheap!

Second, love the square pickets. If you dont need the privacy then bring it on! But for godsakes dont go with those horrible vinyl fences that are all “low-maintenance”…you can tell they’re fake from 20 paces…not that y’all would use those…i just hate them.

Nora had this to say on 08.09.06:

I agree with Merideth. Those vinyl fences are awful. The material is guaranteed for a very long time but none of the manuafactures will guarantee the appearance. I would hate to see a fence you spent hard earned cash for look fake and crappy after a year or so. Cedar is good.

Jocelyn had this to say on 08.09.06:

My sister’s husband did the roof on their cape cod. He had a few friends and his Dad helping (from the ground). Theirs was a steeped roof, which is scarier I think.

I guess you can be glad you won’t have to address the roof issue again for some time to come! Congratulations!

mindylaw had this to say on 08.10.06:

Oh yes, to be clear – we have no intentions of going with vinyl. I too despise the look of them; the sun glinting off their shiny-smooth surface just does not look right!! They’re fine for other people who aren’t quite so picky, but for Teague and I it was definitely never an option.

Thanks for the cheerleading, and input! :)

Carol had this to say on 08.10.06:

Hi- we got quotes last year for a 4′ tall picket fence like the first one you have pictured, except the 2X2’s are closer together and the posts are 6X6″- all 3 places wanted 20$ a lineal foot. Ouch! We did it ourselves and saved about half. All those 2X2’s are expensive (mind you, we did pressure treated kiln dried pine, not cedar). And we did it better than the contractors, (the bash the nails in with their nailers and leave terrible holes)- the pine colored screws are much better and if you ever need to take it apart, you can without detroying the pickets. Note- the 2X2’s are really only about 1 1/2″, and they shrink a little more.
Can’t wait to see what T comes up with.

Kristin had this to say on 08.11.06:

We helped our neighbors add about a 30-foot length of fence very similar to the first one pictured. A group of us got it put up in half a day. Of course, the homeowners had already done all the cutting, but they did it themselves, and I’m sure you and Teague could, too.

We really want a picket fence across the front of our house. We have a wire and cedar post, pretty much non-functional fence around the back that I hate to tear down because it’s pretty old and has that rustic falling-down-farmhouse look about it. :)

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