Wednesday, March 30, 2011

The New Old Fence: Refurbishing a Salvaged Fence


After about six months and many stressful days when no work could be done my 200 foot long privacy fence is done! What a relief. We mainly put in the privacy fence to keep the dogs inside the yard but do you know the evil dog known as Lady has still tried to jump this 5-6 foot tall fence? When that didn't work she has tried to go under it. Sigh. Well, it's done and what a big relief as garden season is in full swing and I've been pretty busy with plants lately.

I am still fixing the going under part with the dogs by placing wire in all gaps but for the most part this fence will keep the dogs in and give me a good sense of enclosure; something I love in a garden. 

The area around the fence is a bit of an enclosed wooded area and I just love the fence as a wall alongside this part of our property. Here you can see toward the frontyard (east) and a section of the fence still in progress. It has been completed since this photo was snapped.


We initially were not going to put up a fence on this southern side of our yard due to the fact all the landscaping took care of privacy and also due to the fact I did not wish to lose the sun. But when I came across a deal too good to be true I jumped on it. That plus the fact Lady would disappear rather frequently. I found an ad on Craig's List that said 26 panels of privacy fence for $100. The only problem was the panels had been sitting out in the elements for at least a year and who knows how old the fence was initially. The fence had deteriorated a bit which meant I had my work cut out for me. The above view of the fence is looking west toward the pond and the side of our garage. I'll be talking about the large arborvitae hedge you see on the left in this Friday's post.

After pressure washing every single fence panel and staining all the panels with a 'Desert Sand' solid color fence stain from BEHR paints, I had a fairly workable fence. I dug the 35 holes, mixed the 40 sixty pound bags of concrete, set and plumbed all poles, and attached all panels. What a job. Okay, I have to admit it, Mr. Fix-it dug four holes and set four posts-thanks baby! The rest was up to me and since I am home most of the time it made sense. My issue was the weather. It was impossible to pressure wash and stain panels in the cold of the winter. Brrrr! But I slowly plodded on and got all of the panels up-a mere 32 feet short of the total distance. That was okay because I prepared to be a bit short and was happy the initial $100 got me as far as it did. I built the last five panels from scratch with a little help from Mr. Fix-it (he is home all the time now due to being on final vacation from the Army). And the fence is done!

The total cost for this nearly 200 foot long fence was about $635: 20% of what it would've costed new and professionally installed. The breakdown of costs is as follows: $100 for 26 fence panels, $30 for some 2x4s to replace damaged ones and to build the portion of the fence I had to build, $75 for the dog eared pickets I had to purchase to build my portion of the fence, $25 for nails, $125 for the 4x4 posts (I only bought about 24 posts because my neighbor gave me 9 and I had a few here in the gardens already) and about $280 for the solid color stain. It sounds strange I spent so much on the stain but I tell you the stain makes a big difference on any outdoor project you do. Not only does the solid color stain make all wood look good, but it also protects the wood and increases the life span of the fence. If you ever get the chance to rehab and salvage an old privacy fence give it a try but be sure you know what you are getting yourself into....

in the garden....
Words and Photos Property of In the Garden Blog Team, In the Garden


  1. Tina,

    Wow such a big project and you did most of the work. I'd let the new wood dry out 3-6 months before staining it. Looks great.

  2. Now that is a big job! It sounds like you got an excellent deal on it. I like the light color - it gives you lots of options for plantings in front of it!

  3. A privacy fence frames the garden and really makes a big difference. Congrats on a lot of hard work being completed! I am not sure I would have been able to get all those holes done myself, way to go Tina!!

  4. How good of you to credit Mr. Fix It his 4 holes. Ha! You continue to impress me with your projects. You did good. Paying for someone's time is usually the pricy part of a project. And, you got materials at discount. Great value in your new fence. It looks good. Hope Lady respects it.

  5. Good morning all! Rainy and dreary here but a great day to stay inside and get some work done.

    Randy, You are so right on letting the wood dry out. You can put the pickets closer together too once dried.

    Dave, I usually go dark as in dark green but really love this tan. It goes well in the garden for sure.

    Janet, I was worried about the holes and thought about renting an auger and doing it all in one day. But the big post hole diggers I used did all the work. I would also only do about 3-5 holes a day. A lot of work mixing the concrete and setting them but not too bad.

    GOSS, I thought that was pretty good myself. Hey, he works and had an excuse but I managed to beg enough that he helped a little and even plumbed and set the poles. I can't claim all the credit. Son Jimmy dug a few holes too but just dug. I told him I'd pay him $5 a hole but he is not for outside work so that didn't work.

  6. It's a wonderful fence and you worked so hard! Like you, I love the sense of enclosure -- something that is difficult to get in wide open spaces.

    Hope your dogs stop digging under!

    Take care.

    (PS. I'm gone for awhile...don't like to announce it in public on my own blog)

  7. Excellent Tina!!! What a great addition to your gardens. Will you have any flowering vines on the fence? Kudos to Mr. Fix-It for his help and his final vacation!

  8. I love the style of the fence! What a great deal you got on it too. We need to replace a side fence this year and it's much shorter than 200 feet, but I still can't imagine doing it myself. Great job!

  9. I think it was totally worth it. A lot of elbow grease and it looks fabulous. I am going to have to check out craiglist sometime for a bargain like that.

  10. I really do like this fence. I think the color makes a big difference. Wow, I had no idea you dug most of the holes yourself girl! My arms would have been aching for months after all those holes! Heck, my arms are still aching just from pulling up some sod to extend a garden! You are one tough cookie!

    Lady, be a good girl and stay put now :-)

  11. I also like the sense of enclosure, and really don't have it in my own garden.

  12. Oh my gosh, you are one hard worker and have much to be proud of with this latest project. Job well done.


  13. Hello all.
    Wow, what a great job Tina. I love the color of the fence. I would think it gives the garden the illusion of being bigger. That sure was a lot of hard work. Good of Mr Fix-it to help with the 4.
    I like the privacy but don't have it here in town. I do have hedge on the West side & azalea on the East side {when it gets bigger after Young'un cut it back last yr.}. At least it will be thicker.

  14. Robert Frost wrote "Good fences make good neighbors." Shall we add that good weather and hard labor makes even better fences?

  15. Phew! I'm tired just READING about this! It IS beautiful. Hope the dogs recognize the intent and behave :)

  16. Your hard work paid off as it looks great!!! You have never been one to be scared of hard work. Do you remember the year we had an early snow storm and we were out in it in the dark and snow getting the last of the tomatoes picked in the garden? You were still in school.

    I just got home and checked on the eagles but I had check on them at Dawn's so that got her on her laptop. I left at 5:15 this morning as I took her to chemo today. Now as usual she will go back in 46 hours for the disconnect of the chemo pack she brings home and then this darned ordeal will be down to only 3 more treatments....woohoo, woohoo!!!

  17. The fence looks great. Determined dogs create so much work.. one of our neighbors in Chapel Hill didn't put down wire and their lab would dig under their fence.

  18. Hi Tina, I am totally impressed by the heavy duty work you did on that fence, and it looks just great! But I could imagine that it was fun, especially with such a satisfying result. I love the idea of salvaging an old fence.

  19. That was a great bargain you got on those panels, and it looks wonderful with the stain color you chose. :)