July 19, 2018

Not long into life with toddlers, I learned having a fenced in portion of our yard was the dream. As pretty ambitious diy-ers, we wanted to do it ourselves, and I can report it went pretty smoothly! And we like seriously love having it. With the traditional colonial look of our house, I knew instantly it had to be the classic white picket fence. We have lots of coverage from the trees in our yard, so it did not need to be a privacy height.

Just a sweet little three foot-er that keeps babies in. We placed it in part of the yard off of the sunroom, around the basketball court area. This is what it was like before, sans fence.

EXTERIOR BEFORE from Rachel Schultz-5EXTERIOR BEFORE from Rachel Schultz-4


These materials are for about 125 feet of fencing. We saved up $1,200 for our fence and came in under budget at $834!

  1. Fence posts ($163): We needed 21 posts for our yard that would be five feet tall (three feet high out of the ground and buried two feet underground). David bought eleven of these ten foot beams and sawed all of them in half to get our five foot posts.
  2. Fence panels ($536): The fence styles I like are flat or “dog-eared” (where the corners are cut off). We were unable to find those readily available, so we bought these affordable gothic ones from home depot and sawed off the tops for a flat look. That was a huge money saver while being convenient and took very little time. We looked and looked and were willing to pay more to find pre-primed or painted fencing, but it just does not seem to exist! (Weird.) In my book the fence had to be white. And we aren’t into the plastic feel of vinyl fencing, so we were definitely going with wood. For price comparisons, vinyl would have been $2,875 and compared to our $536 for wood. We could have saved even more by not buying pre-made panels and cutting and screwing wood together ourselves, but those materials would have cost $393, so paying about $150 more to have all that work already done was an easy choice.
  3. Posthole digger ($0): This was borrowed from David’s parents. Electric ones are available for renting or if you don’t have too many posts to dig you could use the manual ones (not for the faint of heart).
  4. Stakes ($4)
  5. Mason twine ($4)
  6. Pebbles ($11)
  7. Wood deck screws ($25)
  8. Paint and primer ($75)
  9. Gate hinges ($8)
  10. Gate latch ($8)

Total cost: $834


Stake out fence line using the stakes and string, accounting for any gates you want to make. From there is the (by far) biggest part of the project – digging holes for the posts. We used an electric augger to dig two feet into the ground, poured pebbles in the bottom of the hole (for drainage), placed the post inside and poured in more pebbles, and then filled and tamped the dirt. Repeat! Our biggest obstacles were hitting lots of roots while digging because our yard is so wooded. (Something I love all the rest of the time!) And, that our yard has slants, which means you can’t span the full eight foot distance of one panel and have to dig more post holes to keep your fence level.

Once all the post are in, you screw the panels into them. From there, we built a door and used some extra pickets (disassembled pallets would work too) to cover the opening under the sunroom. Our two favorite tutorials that we learned a lot from to execute our fence dreams were here and here.

Then, we painted! One coat of primer and then behr porch and floor paint for the top coat. We used a brush and roller and working together it took David’s mom and I just one day each for prime and paint.

The fence is an utter game changer. It was hard to play in our yard with little ones before and now this area really works for our family. It has completely changed how we experience the seasons too. GOING OUTSIDE IS RELAXING instead of a ton of work corralling tiny people.

I know we will take every single day out here we can until the cold weather really hits. And even then snow play is going to be so special. And of course summer sprinkler and water play. We heart you, fence! Love, The Schultzes.

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  • Anonymous

    How sweet! I have fallen in love with it!!! I’m an avid DIYer and always try to be busy with some new projects. Was searching for a unique idea to start. The picket fence made me stop and crazy to make it asap! In a hurry to start. Wish me good luck,
    Rachel! :)

    • Rachel Schultz

      Awesome!! I hope it goes great!

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