Some girls dream of homes with white picket fences, other girls dream of building their own. We have a new picket fence!
This spring we’re focusing our attention on the front yard. Here’s a quick peek at what it looked like the day we moved in. This space has gone through a few iterations since then. We don’t have a backyard, so space is at a premium and we’ve been scrambling to turn it into a usable outside area for our family.
We tore out a ton of shrubbery (my husband liked to refer to all those shrubs as “spider bushes”) and built garden boxes shortly after moving in. Most of the remaining dead space was filled with rocks and mulch.
Then we experienced our first flood, lost all of our mulch, and realized that any landscaping needed to be elevated. Kind of like our house. Duh! Live and learn.
Last summer we made use of the awkward dead space in front of the cement slab with a floating deck. We never completed it, so I never really did a “reveal”, but you can see it poking out from the right in the photo above. When we moved into this house we had dreams of building an elevated deck that was level with the “true” first floor off of the front of the house, but after receiving a few $15 – $20k estimates we decided that wasn’t smart for our first home (we’ll grow out of this home soon) or the area (resale value).
So, with my elevated deck dreams squashed, I have made a commitment to finishing this space. Our daughters spend 90% of their awake hours outside and I want this yard to be fun, accessible and safe for them to enjoy. The new fence is the jumping off point and is both form and function. Of course I like the way it looks, but it also keeps my wild, running, curious toddlers inside. I don’t want to lock my children in our yard, but for times when I can’t have my eye on them every second, it’s a welcome alternative.
We got this bad boy up in a weekend. Jeremiah popped the bricks out using a chisel and hammer and we cemented the 4×4 posts using Quikrete. The girls helped too, by marking every single post with chalk…
Once the posts were set, we added a top and bottom rail. From there the picket placement went fast.
We used 48″ fence pickets and I cut them down to 41′. They’re spaced 2 3/4″ apart. We’ll be adding solar light caps to each of the 4×4 posts and staining it a rich dark color, something like American Chestnut.
I decided, last minute, to do an arched gate. I’m so happy I did. The top of the arch is the standard picket at 48″ and then decreasing 2 1/2″ until they meet the height of the rest of the fence at 41″.
So, what’s next for this space? We’ve decided to build an 8″ retaining wall around the entire perimeter. This will give us more space to garden and landscape while protecting all of said gardening and landscaping from flooding. We’ll be using bricks to build the retaining wall (I laid a few out here to see what it will look like – they’ll line up with existing garden boxes), which will match the existing design and style of the space.
The deck is getting a modern pergola and I’ll be refining the patio furniture that I built last summer. I built it way too fast with way too many scraps and while it function perfectly fine it just doesn’t have the look I’m going for. I also plan to build a few wood screens to hide/soften that ugly cement slab. Ugh, I HATE that slab!!!
This palm tree (on the left side of the house) is coming down and we’ll be building a screen to hide the trash and recycling bins, along with some storage bins for outdoor toys.
Now that we have the fence in the front, I’m entertaining the idea of building a taller privacy fence around the two sides as well. We love our neighbors, but separating our space from theirs will help to make the space more clean, modern and cohesive. The photo above is my current inspiration, mixing the traditional picket fence with something a bit more modern.
Big plans!!! Stay tuned. We hope to have all of these projects done in time to enjoy them this spring/summer, and we still have a billion things going on inside…In the meantime, how about a little before and after.