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Hello! I'm Suzannah, a serious DIYer. Follow along with my DIY fixer upper house renovations, sewing and crafty projects, real food recipes, and de-stressing goals.
I co-host the Your Home Story podcast and believe you can love your home just the way it is, AND have the power to design and make big changes to make it better.
I'm also the author of DIY Wardrobe Makeovers!
New mom to baby Otto born April 2018!

Replacing our fence! All the photos, cost, process, and more!

We recently made a HUGE and really satisfying update to our backyard!! We replaced our entire fence (three sides of slatted chain link, plus a cedar gate area) and immediately love our yard so much more! Sharing all about the project here!



Replacing a chain link fence with cedar privacy fence

When we first moved into our house, our backyard looked like this. We didn't know we would need to replace the fence, although we probably should have assumed given the state of everything else!

Once we removed a bunch of the landscaping, we saw that the fence behind it was mossy dark-red crinkled slats on chain link, and only 4' high on the street side. It wasn't fully sight-obscuring, so you could see through to our yard particularly as you drove or walked by on the street.

There was also a big trellis behind the apple tree we originally didn't know we had.

Back in time, since I don't have a lot of angles showing the old fence. This photo is from December 2018, before we removed the old garden boxes and tilled up the backyard.

Here's that same view now--the painters are still painting our exterior so their ladders are there and we put a bunch of stuff in the gazebo, but still--WOW, better!!!

Here it is from the street side.

And inside... (we JUST planted this grass and are still working on the garden beds and path, more work in progress!) We put the nice-looking side out to the street, but the smooth side on the other two sides of the yard, which is why the inside looks different in the second photo.

It's a standard cedar privacy fence, 6' high (though as you can see from the street side picture our back yard is elevated a little with a rock retaining wall, so from the sidewalk it's more like 8-9'). We are so happy to have privacy but obviously it's also just so much nicer to be in the backyard now!! (Will be even better when we can walk on the grass and when our garden is growing up!)

Staining/Maintenance


We are still planning to give it a stain/weatherproof coating. Cedar fences are very common here in Oregon but they definitely weather and turn grey. We did some reading and sounds like we should wait 5-8 weeks till the cedar is fully dried out, then go over it with a sprayer and an exterior-grade stain.

We had a BUNCH of ivy climbing in the chain links along with all that vegetation that we removed, particularly on the street side on that rocky area and at the back corner near the gazebo. It's been growing back since we tore it out, so I'll be watching really carefully to make sure it doesn't take over this fence, too.

Cost


I got 3-4 quotes from fencing contractors I found on Craigslist last fall. We talked to all of them about reusing the 6' high posts from the chain link fence to save money (you can buy special brackets to convert the chain link poles)--all of them said that would work except the guy we chose, who I believe was also the best price.

He charged $21/linear foot for the new fence (standard cedar boards from Home Depot), plus $2/linear foot for the demo and disposal of the old. Each gate was $200 (we just have one). I think we had about 180 linear feet of fence? It worked out to being $3,800 or so.

I did talk to each of our neighbors, asking them if they'd contribute half of the cost of each of their sides... tried that last fall and asked again this spring. Neither of them was able to help out, unfortunately. I did text them a few days before the fence went down to give them a heads-up it was happening, for sure. I don't think the fence guys needed to go onto their properties but still good to let them know.

We didn't realize what a big difference the new fence would make... makes me wish we'd done it sooner! We've been spending a lot on our house in the past couple years, but this $3,800 FOR SURE feels worth it!!

Timing


The fence company sent two workers, who demoed and rebuilt the fence in less than two full workdays. So impressive. (I know building a fence is a DIY-able project, but it would have taken us so much longer than that!!) We did have one night, in between the two work days, where we didn't have any fence up (just some of the new posts) and our yard felt very exposed! But then the next day it was 100% done and so much more private and beautiful than we'd expected, we didn't mind anymore.

They put the old fence out in the planter strip between the sidewalk and street, and came to pick it up a couple days later. In between Friday when they finished and Tuesday when the junk removal truck came, we had three neighbors knock on our door and ask if they could have any of the stuff in the pile (chain link fence, poles, cedar fence, few other pieces of junk). Haha! We said yes, doesn't matter to us!

Obviously our yard is still a work in progress but we are making so many improvements this spring and are so excited to use it this summer!! Painting and new gutters should be done this week, I'm decking out the gazebo soon, we have some more tilling and planting and spreading bark chips to do, and power washing... but man, we have come a long way!

P.S. I got some questions on Instagram about how to know where your property line is, or how to expand the area of your fence when you replace it. This can be tricky unless you pay a professional surveyor to survey your property and convert the surveyed points to CAD. But, definitely check your title report/documents that came from the title company when you bought your house and see if they describe any encroachments (places where your neighbor put something permanent on your property) to see if your fence is in the right place. You can also often pull records from your city or county online, and take a look at your property lines with an aerial photo at least. It's not exact but in some cases could be helpful.

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