Spring Around the Yard: Fence and Fire Pit
By: Danny Lipford
Spring is the perfect time of year to head outside and take on home improvement projects to enhance the look and function of your yard. Find out what it takes to build a wood privacy fence, lattice screen, and stone fire pit.
Wood Privacy Fence
Before building a fence in your yard, check local building codes and neighborhood covenants for any restrictions or requirements, and make sure the fence is located on your property. Before digging, call 811 to have the utility companies come out to mark the utility lines on your property.
After the existing chain-link fence and underbrush had been cleared away, a string was pulled between each end of the fence to ensure a straight line. The location of the fence posts were then marked on the ground at 8’ intervals.A motorized, gas-powered auger made short work of digging the 2’ deep holes for the pressure treated 4”x4” fence posts. Since not all pressure treated wood provides the same amount of protection from insects and rot, make sure the posts are rated for ground contact.
A string at the top of the posts served as a guide to make sure the posts were at the right height, and a level was used to plumb the posts. Next, the holes around the posts were filled with fast-setting concrete mix from Quikrete. When the holes were full, water was added to set the concrete.
Horizontal 2”x4” rails were installed at the bottom, middle, and top of the posts to support the fencing. The joints in the 16’ rails were staggered to add strength to the fence. Always be sure to use galvanized or stainless steel nails, screws, and other fasteners when working with pressure treated wood.
The vertical fence boards were installed next, with a string used to align the top of the boards. When installing green lumber or treated lumber that’s still wet with preservative, butt the boards tight together, since the wood will shrink as it dries. If the wood has been kiln dried, use a nail or thin spacer between the boards, to prevent buckling if the wood expands.
To find out more about building a fence, check out:
- How to Build a Wood Privacy Fence (video)
- Fences: Surrounding Your Surroundings (article)
- Fencing Options for Your Yard (video)
Lattice Air Conditioner Screen
To hide the central air conditioner unit from view, a trellis was constructed from pressure treated lattice, with 2×2 grooved wood channel used for the frame around it.
The lattice was attached between 4×4 posts. Treated 2×4 boards were screwed to each side of the posts at the top, and climbing Carolina jasmine vines were planted next to the lattice.
To find out more, watch our video on Adding Lattice Around a Deck.
Building a Fire Pit
A fire pit can provide a great gathering place in your yard on chilly days and nights. The RumbleStone Round Fire Pit kit from Pavestone that we installed includes a metal bowl, fire screen, and all the stones needed to complete the project.
To install the fire pit, start by using a flat shovel to remove the grass and level the ground. Set the first circular layer of stones in place using the fire screen as a guide. Construction adhesive is then applied between each layer of stones to hold them in place.
To find out more, watch our video on How to Build a Backyard Fire Pit.
Other Tips from This Episode
Simple Solutions with Joe Truini:
PVC Pipe Yard Socket
To make sockets for easy installation and removal of everything from sprinklers to patio umbrellas, cut one end of a piece of PVC pipe at an angle to form a point and the other end to length. Drive the pipe in the ground, pull it back out, remove the dirt from the pipe, and insert it back in the hole. (Watch Video)
Best New Products with Jodi Marks:
True Temper Wheelbarrow
The True Temper Poly Wheelbarrow with Total Control Handles can carry up to six cubic feet. The circular shaped handles allow easy control when going up or down hills or dumping the contents. The True Temper Poly Wheelbarrow with Total Control Handles is available at The Home Depot. (Watch Video)
Ask Danny Lipford:
Checking Toilets for Leaks
A toilet with a leaky flapper valve can waste thousands of gallons of water. To check the flapper, pour food coloring in the tank. If colored water appears in the bowl without flushing, the flapper needs to be replaced. Another test is to turn the water to the toilet off at night, then see if the tank is still full in the morning. If the tank is loosing water, replace the flapper. (Watch Video)