5.25.2010

Next Major Project: Fence or Shed?

We keep two running to-do lists of projects to be done at the Hive: a major project list and a minor project list. S is the major list task-master and as far as I know the list is kept in his head. In fact, we can recite it from heart: "windows, fence, shed." Of course now that we've checked off windows we'll be changing our tune to: "fence, shed, porch, bathroom."
Fence and shed go hand-in-hand as yard improvements, which we're desperately in need of. The other day when a neighbor commended us on our efforts around the Hive all I could do was thank her and then profusely apologize for the exterior disaster, as if we haven't lifted a finger since we've been here. If she hadn't been walking to the bus stop to pick up her kids, I would have dragged her inside to show her that yes, we really have been working very hard!

Since we've obviously a bit stressed about the condition of our yard, we've given fence and shed top priority on every list. But how can we give two labor intensive projects top priority when we have few free weekend days and S has several long trips scheduled from now through September? We poll the crew (our dads) and ask around to try to decide which is the preferable DIY project.

The resounding answer is "shed!" But even with that, it's hard not to be tempted by Home Depot's pre-fab sheds that are delivered and assembled on site, especially for someone like me, who used to dream of living in a one room cottage/shed by her parents pond as a kid. One swipe of a credit card and the shed would be delivered (as budget conscious DIY'ers we'll pay with a credit card for the points, but we never buy a thing we can't afford to pay for immediately). 
We're quite sure we can build a shed that's just as cute, just as functional, and probably a bit larger, for half the cost of this one. Doing so will also give us the perfect excuse to buy a few more of our own tools too, especially since it will give us much needed space to store those tools. The jury is still out on this one, but I have a feeling the verdict is going to be "DIY."

There is nothing tempting about a DIY fence. Not even the savings. And we're pretty sure that the hassle of renting a post hole digger and a vehicle to get that digger to the Hive would really just not be worth it. At. All. Unless we were using something fabulous like Trex, which we aren't since most of our fence needs to be four feet high and Trex only comes in six foot pieces that we would need to cut and throw away.

And that brings us to the experts; even the fence experts say not to use Trex because of the waste issue. So we called five local fence companies to come to the Hive to give us quotes for our fence project in wood and in vinyl. One company's sales person called shortly before our appointment time and canceled, saying that he would email me a quote, sight unseen. Their company is obviously out of the running, but with four solid quotes in hand we're ready to choose one and schedule fence work to begin. Now it's just a race to see who's faster: the fencers or us, the shed builders.

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1 comment:

  1. We just built a 225 ft long fence for our dog last fall. We saved a lot by DIYing it but we did get some help. We hired a fence company to install U-shaped metal posts for us. It would have taken us months to install 62 posts by hand where it only took them one day. They can pound them in the ground using a special machine so they cost less to install. There were perfectly level (which would have been hard for us to do because it was on very uneven ground), all the same height, and there was no ugly concrete visible around each one. Well worth the splurge in my book. It ended up costing $1700 for 62 posts and the coordinating brackets. Plus, the U shape of the post makes them seamless on the outside. All you see are pickets.

    Also, we ended up going with a composite picket but we wanted it to be 6' tall. The pickets regularily go on sale for the same price cedar pickets are at Menards (not Trex but a knockoff brand). If you don't go with composite the next best thing is cedar.

    Good luck on your fence!

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