Fence = Extended

I’m happy to report that our backyard is now larger. (jazzhands!)

Remember back in this post, I discussed how we planned to extend our fence closer to the street?   Well, thanks to Joey and his dad, the mission is complete.

So, let’s look at a few progress shots and then a few before and afters.

First off, let me just say that I really love our neighborhood.  For the very first time as homeowners we live in a place where our neighbors actually talk to one another.  It’s pretty awesome.

But, it is an adjustment.

For example, when your fence is down like this…

You must learn to not walk out into the backyard to take pics in your pajamas.   There, inevitably, will be a crowd of sweet neighbors who are inquiring to your husband about the project at hand staring back at you.   And you will awkwardly turn and flee as if you fear human contact.  Which, at that moment, you pretty much do.

So, at this point, instead of just getting it together and changing into actual clothing, you will resort to Plan B.  Taking progress pics from inside the window…

The next day, you will have learned your lesson and donned appropriate outerwear.  And you will meander out into the yard to snap pics of the two-man team.  Surprisingly, they will be not as excited as you are to stop and pose for pics mid-project.  But, you will prevail….

And you will ogle the newly gained space in wonderment…

I heart you, new fence.  You are beautiful.

(For details about moving a fence, check out this post from when Joey moved the fence in our last house)

So anyways, just so ya know, the pic above is pre-stain.   The following weekend after the fence was completed, Joey got to staining the fence.   He powerwashed the entire thing the first day, then took on the staining process the following day.   I didn’t get any progress pics, but it basically consisted of Joey spraying on the stain and then back-brushing with a large brush to ensure that it was even.   We used a semi-transparent stain in cedar, which we were pigeon-holed into using since another segment of our fence by the pool was already stained cedar.  We chose semi-transparent since we had both old and new fencing to unite.  Semi-transparent stain offers more coverage than transparent while still allowing the wood grain to show through, thereby, creating a more cohesive finish.

Now, for the fun part.  Before and afters.

Before…

After…

You may recall that the arch in the branches in the photo above is where the walkway to the shed will go.

Before…

After…

Before…

After…

And here’s the front on that side of the house now…

Nice, right?? Joey and his dad rocked it.

And check out the freshly stained amount of yard we gained…

Heck yeah.

Now this one isn’t a total before pic.  It was taken just after we had the house painted (and after joey gussied up the landscaping and added a stone border).  It was just the only pic that I could find that really showed the side fence ….

And here’s our house now…

But since I’m a total sucker for TRUE before pics, here are a few shots of our house on the day we closed…

I haven’t looked at some of these before pics in a really long time.  I’d forgotten how ugly it was at first.   Very institutionally prison-like, in my opinion.  Those old windows.  Woof!  What was really, really encouraging was that while Joey was staining the fence, one of our neighbors whom we hadn’t met yet walked over to Joey and thanked him for helping to make the neighborhood beautiful.   And I thank him too.   Aside from painting the front door and our metal gate, I can claim no responsibility for our house’s exterior transformation.  My husband never ceases to amaze.

Sadly, with all the crazy weather we’ve been having though, there has been one casualty.  This awesomely unique evergreen went to the giant forest in the sky after all the rain we had in May…

Goodbye, my LOOOVVVE…

So, now that the fence is extended we’re gonna get going on installing the shed.   Which means our garage is gonna look might purdy.  Well, for a minute anyways (donttelljoeyisaidthat). And once the weather cools off we plan to work on landscaping both the shed and exterior fenceline to soften it all up.

So, that’s our exterior progress up to this point.  How are y’all faring in this heat?

TDC Before and After

Painting our rusty metal gate

Hey y’all!  So, I’m back with a how-I-did-it post about painting our metal gate.   As you can see here, it was not in the greatest shape…

It was faded, rusty, didn’t stay closed due to a broken latch, and one of the gate caps was broken…

Not so hot.  It basically sucked the life out of our curb appeal.  It’s amazing how a seemingly small element can do that.

Our first order of business was to find some gate cap replacements.  Apparently, both Home Depot and Lowe’s have discontinued sale of most of these items, but we were lucky enough to find some simple plastic black caps at Home Depot before they sold out…

Capture

I googled them as well and discovered that you can also order them online from several different retailers.   Once we had these on hand, I went about prepping the gate.  First, my trusty dad came over with a friend and welded the gate latch so that the gate would actually close (I took no pictures of this… sorry).

Then, I taped and protected the surrounding stucco and flooring around the gate with paper and got to brushing the rusty areas with a wire brush to loosen any rust particles and peeling paint…

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For the more stubborn peeling areas, I used various sizes of putty knives to scrape off the offending paint…

I apologize for my putty knife.  I have no excuse for (1) the fact that it’s gross or (2) that I chose to photograph it anyways.  Ha!  Sometimes I just get so involved in a project that I quickly snap progress pics, and then decide when I look back at my photos later that I must’ve temporarily lost all sense of vision.   In any case, despite it’s appearance, my unattractive well-loved putty knife was highly effective in removing the paint, which is the most important thing.

Once I was finished scraping, I moved on to using low grit sandpaper followed by high grit to try and further smooth the surface.   Honestly, the gate was in such bad shape in spots that I had no illusions of getting it smooth.  My goal was to simply get it slightly less wonky.

I wiped the gate clean with tack cloth and then it was time to attach my end caps…

(P.S. The above shot was actually taken before I started, so I definitely sanded down those paint drips and rough spots before painting) To attach the caps, I simply set them up there (as shown) and then tapped them into place with a rubber mallet.  It was a perfect fit.

Now, it was painting time.  Before beginning this project, I’d completed some research and found  that a good method for painting rusty outdoor metals was to apply a rust-inhibiting primer followed by an oil-based rust-inhibiting paint, so I went with Rustoleum brand products, which I found at Home Depot.  I primed my surface using this…

And no, I didn’t follow Rule #1 of Home Improvement 101: Wear Gloves.  And yes, this was another what-was-I-thinking shot that’s causing me embarrassment (rightnow).  And yes, I still chose to post it anyways.  Honesty.  It’s a virtue that I try impart on this blog if it means you might learn by my mistakes.  So, please, for the love of Lucy, don’t follow my lead.  Please wear gloves and protect your skin.   That is Recommendation #1 of things to do differently than me in this post.

To spray my primer, I simply kept the can about 10 inches from my surface and kept my arm moving the entire time, applying a light, even coat to all surfaces of the gate.  I held a large piece of cardboard behind the gate as I sprayed to limit the over-spray (hence the crazy amount of paint on my hand… I never claimed to have great aim). 😉

After the gate was primed, it looked like this…

Already a huge improvement, right???

Next, I used Rustoleum’s oil-based paint in gloss black…

I don’t have any pictures of the painting process because about a quarter of the way in it started to lightly drizzle.  I was literally hauling bootie to finish.  Fortunately, it was only a VERY light sprinkling of rain and it stopped quickly, but it put the crazy-woman-panic in me to where I was just trying to get ‘er done before the skies decided to open up again (which they didn’t).  Since I was using an oil-based paint, the water did nothing to the finish whatsoever, but really…. I consider myself lucky.   If it had rained any harder I may not be able to claim that.    So, Recommendation #2 of things to to differently than me in this post: Check the weather forecast before painting outdoor items.

As for how I applied the paint, I simply brushed it on with a paint brush and it worked like a charm.  I’ve never worked with oil-based paint before and, aside from the fumes, it was amazeballs.   It covered like a dream and smoothed right out leaving a glossy hard finish.

Like I mentioned before, I knew that our gate would never be completely smooth. You can see in this shot that there were areas where the metal was just too eaten away because of neglect over the years. Fortunately, these rough spots aren’t too noticeable unless you’re right on top of the gate inspecting it (or staring at a high resolution photograph.  Lol.).   We’ll eventually have to replace the gate, but in the meantime, hopefully priming/painting the metal has inhibited further rust damage enough to extend its life and make it look more presentable.

In any case, despite the bumpiness, it still looks way better than it did before with that rusty, decapitated gate cap.  This is the same post, but with the gate open…

I plan to add a second coat of paint to the gate eventually which will hopefully smooth out the surface more.  The coat that I did covered really, really well, so at the time, I didn’t feel like I needed a second, but we’ll see.  Added protection couldn’t hurt.

A shot of the gate before so you don’t have to scroll up…

And now…

You can see that the old/wrong front door was in when I started this project, and I’d already started painting the new/correct front door when I actually got around to taking “after” pictures.  I love seeing the evolution of things.

Here’s the other view from when we closed on the house…

That’s how the gate stayed for months since it didn’t lock.  After we moved in, the courtyard quickly turned into a weed-fest since that mulch that you see above was only applied in a very thin layer (probably just for showing the house).   Since then we’ve added layers of cardboard to smother the weeds, topped with decomposed granite.  And I’m happy to report that it’s so far, so good on the weed front.   We also had the house painted (which included that stucco wall).  Its a slightly darker color with more of a grey tone to it than before….

The courtyard is just so much neater. I have to say that I really like the simpler gate caps.   They really streamline the gate to make it feel slightly more modern.  And I love the crisp blackness.   It adds much needed contrast and sophistication to the courtyard.   Now to address those faded lanterns. Funny how making one thing look good, makes another look just awful.   So, we’ll be addressing those at some point soon.   Eventually we want to add a nice, stained wood wrap-around bench around the perimeter of the entire courtyard and maybe some pavers underfoot to give this space some additional function.  Eventually.  We’ll get there.  🙂

In any case, the courtyard is much more presentable now and I couldn’t be more thrilled.

TDC Before and After