Checking off more backyard to-do’s in rapid succession, I finally got around to curing a little hole in the fence.
The yard is entirely fenced in, which as a dog-owner, is a great thing. I never thought Cody would try and escape through this little hole beneath the kitchen overhang in the backyard, but we have visiting dog friends over routinely enough that I’ve kept these cinder blocks from the previous homeowners in place to plug the gap between the steel frame fence and the house foundation. I suppose it helps to keep out other people’s wandering pets and wandering wild animals too.
Funny thing is, as soon as I removed the cinder blocks in preparation for this project, Pete came outside to find Cody exploring the unfenced front yard. So much for thinking my big dog wouldn’t try to shimmy through that little hole. Curious peanut.
The simple solution that I’ve been planning for some time involved making a little fence, almost like a picket fence, to cover the space subtly, but look more finished than a stack of cement.
After spending Sunday re-familiarizing myself with all of the scrap wood during the springtime garage clean-out, I picked out a few pressure-treated pieces of 5/4 lumber that we had saved from when we built the deck. Measuring only 18″Wx15″H, it was a small space to be building for and wouldn’t require that much wood, so the plentiful amount on hand was more than enough.
We even had a few narrower 1x boards that would serve well as cross braces. And as much as I wanted the new fence to look like the front porch and pergola railings, it made more sense to align the lumber to stand vertically and blend in more with the steel-framed gate over time. With a few quick chop-chops from the chop saw, I had them sized to perfection.
Oh. The Gennifer Choldenko novel? Just something from the shelf that helped me evenly separate the boards while I secured the pieces together with the nail gun. Sometimes I’m really high-tech like that. I haven’t actually read the book yet, but I picked it up from a garage sale because I thought it might be funny. Yay or nay?
Material investments for this project were of minimal expense. Because let’s face it, it’s a tiny gate. I bought:
- Two 2-3/8″ brace bands used in chain link fence construction. Priced at $1.22 each, they didn’t break the bank.
- A new set of 1/4″x5″ galvanized bolts, washers, and nuts for $2.50 (those shown in this picture are actually 3/8ths and ended up being just barely too thick to fit in the holes on the brace bands but I had to try them anyways since they were leftovers in the basement. The 1/4″ diameter was perfect.)
- The lumber was free-zilla since it was pulled from my scrap pile, and the nail gun, 1-3/8″ brads, and air compressor were pulled straight from the basement.
- Total cost: less than $5.00
The brace bands themselves were the perfect find. They clamped right onto the steel bar that the real gate hinges to, and because they grip so well, it takes a lot of force to move them around. This was good, because I didn’t want a doggie-door style gate that could be pushed open.
Side note: See how the band actually wants to splay a little bit? That’s an easy fix with a little tap-tap of the hammer to force the tabs closer together.
By pre-drilling through the assembled fence, I was able to install the carriage bolts easily through the braces and secure them tightly. Buying 5″ bolts was clearly overkill so I had to trim the long ends down a little bit with a hack saw to make them less of a dog-poking hazard.
The resulting piece is so fresh and clean in the space. Eventually, given time and weather it’ll age to look more like the gate it’s beside.
And as I’ve said, the braces make it stay really strong in position. Even though it’s not anchored to the house itself, It doesn’t want to twist or swing like a normal gate would, so “fully fenced-in” still holds true.
With the beautiful weather this week, I was also able to finish two other outdoor projects this week. I’m feelin’ all muscle-y and power-tool-pumped. More to come tomorrow!