Thursday, May 23, 2013

diy: building an outdoor room with a privacy fence

i grew up in california...the land where people believe that good fences make good neighbors. in the south, things are done differently. a lot of homes are completely without fences. backyards become big playgrounds for the neighborhood kids. people live in communities. i both love this and struggle with it at times. i absolutely love my neighbors but there are some days when i don't want to be visible for the world to see. i also like the idea of creating a space in my backyard that feels like an outdoor room. so, this is what we created...

we had an outdoor fire pit, a patio area and a metal and fabric canopy in one area of our yard. one day i'd love to build a pergola there but that will have to wait for a future post. to enclose a small portion of the patio and block off the lovely view of our outdoor garbage cans and the back gate, we put up two 8-feet sections of fence. you can purchase the 8-feet wide and 6-feet tall sections of fence at a hardware store for about $30.00 (at least that's what they cost here.) you will also need: (4) 4 x 4 fence posts, (4) 50 pound bags of cement, outdoor fence stain, some nails and a little bit of extra time.

lay your fence sections somewhere easily accessible and apply the stain first. you do not want to drip stain onto your patio area so this is a job best done elsewhere over a tarp of some sort. 

decide where you want your lengths of fence to go. you will want the good, flat side of the fence facing in and the railed section facing out. dig (4) two feet deep holes where you will place your fence posts. these holes need to be right next to your patio but they do not need to be in a specific place for the fence. as long as you are able to attach each 8-foot section of fence to (2) posts, you will be fine. each hole should be at least (1) foot in diameter and (2) feet deep.

fill each post hole with 1/2 of one of the 50 pound bags of cement. add water and mix to a thick but workable consistency. put in a fence post, making sure a flat side of the post is up against the edge of the patio. add the remaining 1/2 of the 50 pound cement bag and water. mix with the fence post in place. using a level, make sure your fence posts are perfectly vertical on all sides. allow the cement to dry. do this for all four fence posts. make sure you have stained all your fence posts the same color as your 8-foot fence pieces. 

once the cement for all four fence posts has dried, you are ready to attach your fence pieces. line up your fence pieces and use a level to make sure they are level. most patios are built with a downward grade so that water will run away from your house. you will not want to use your patio as a measurement for what is level as you'll end up with a crooked fence. using galvanized nails (i used 3 1/2 inch nails), attach the fence posts through front flat side of the fence section through the cross piece of wood and into the fence post. do this in several places along the fence post. i used two nails at the top, two in the middle and two at the bottom for each fence post. 

find some fun things to hang on your fence and decorate the space like it's a fun outdoor room. we have a ton of fun, painted pots that bring life to our patio. if you would like to learn how to paint outdoor pots so they will last, check out the diy here:  diy painted flower pots.

relax and enjoy your space. these are great areas to start an herb garden that you can use all year long...or just to sit and enjoy some beauty while your kids play. i'll take that any day.