Home ProjectsExterior Snakes Out, Dogs In: Our Privacy Fence Install

Snakes Out, Dogs In: Our Privacy Fence Install

by Amber

What could go wrong with this situation: you have one large water loving dog who half listens on a good day, one very dirty creek, and no fence?  Nothing right? Ha! Our dog took pleasure in running straight out the door towards the creek, where he turned around about two feet from it, just long enough to make eye contact with you while you are screaming, “Cooper NNNOOOOOOO!!!!”  I’m sure you know what’s coming next, he always jumped straight in and immediately laid down!  I swear he made eye contact with us just to say, “I don’t care how much trouble I get in, this will be worth it, sorry not sorry!” So after 6 full months of fighting with our dog, who happens to act like a brat sometimes, we got a much needed fence!


This was the yard a week before the fence was installed.  We had a fire pit and had just finished our retaining wall so that we could put up a fence.  I will be honest, I do sometimes really miss this view towards the woods, however I wouldn’t trade it for the privacy we gained!

We started by getting quotes from professionals to install the fence while at the same time we were pricing it out to do the work ourselves.  Once we started this process we realized just how expensive a fence is and how many options you now have. In case you are just starting, you have pretty much every option you could dream up.

First, it was all about material, we decided on wood as opposed to other popular options like; aluminum, vinyl, or wrought iron.  We decided on wood mainly because we prefer the look, however the maintenance is no joke. We learned this after the fence was installed when it came time to stain it.  I hope to tell you all about how we stained our fence this fall.  After deciding on the wood fence, we had to consider what we wanted; privacy, picket, shadow box, lattice top, etc.  This decision got complicated for us because we wanted some privacy from our neighbors, but we also wanted to keep the view of the woods when sitting on the back deck and by the fire pit.

Ultimately after thinking about it for 6 months (while we had the retaining wall installed) we decided on a 6 foot privacy for the front and two sides that transitioned to a 4 foot picket along the entire back of the house.  All the boards have a dog ear style on the top, and we added three gates into the plans.   Again, with the options!  We added a privacy double gate (big enough to fit a car) to the left side when looking at the house, a small 4 foot picket gate in the back to access the wooded section of our property, and a 6 foot aluminum gate to the front right side of the house.  The biggest decision was actually the right side aluminum gate.  We knew we would use this gate all the time since it is so close to the garage and that Cooper would want to see out of the fence (he enjoys getting attention from our neighbors).  We thought if he could see out, it would help keep him from digging out, it worked like a charm.  Going with aluminum was more expensive, but we felt it would hold up better in terms of maintenance and sagging from the weight of the wood.

Once we made all our decisions on type, style, and gates we had to decide how to install it.  After getting multiple quotes we decided on a fencing company in the Charlotte area and they got started.  They were able to install the fence in two days and we couldn’t be happier.


So these were the steps taken to install the fence: dug holes for all the 4×4 posts, leveled and plumed the posts, cemented them in the ground, added 2x4s to all posts around entire yard, added dog ear fence boards, and custom built/ installed all gates.  Below are a lot of photos of the process during the install.

Day 1:  Install all 4×4 posts, cement into the ground, and add the 2×4 supports.  This is what that progress looked like.

This is the double 6 foot privacy gate on the left side of the house.

Transition from 6 foot privacy to 4 foot picket fence.

4 foot picket fence directly up against the retaining wall.

The smaller opening in front of the fire pit is the future home of the 4 foot picket gate.

You can see just how close we were to our neighbors property.  We went as close to our property line as we could on both sides (it was recommended by the fence guys to leave a 6 inch buffer to the property line to incase the land survey was mistaken).

This is looking towards the road and is now where the aluminum gate and garden box is. 

This is to show how close they had to get to some our sprinkler lines.  You can just barely see the white pipe on the edge of the hole and where they started digging originally.  You may also notice the spike in the ground with the string, this was done to make sure that the fence stayed straight around the entire yard.

Day 2: Finished installing the last two posts, installed all fence boards, and 3 gates.  This is the finished gate on the left side of the house.

Same side as the gate, at the end you can see the transition from 6 foot to 4 foot. 

The view of the same side from inside the fence. Since this was the first time cooper got to go explore he couldn’t stop running around and had to check it all out.

This is the 4 foot picket in the back, and Cooper again. Naturally he didn’t want me taking photos, but was happy.

This is from the corner facing the yard.  The wood pile in the back is where the birdhouses now live and a detailed photo of that corner is below.

This is the other side looking towards the road with the aluminum gate.

This was taken the weekend after the fence was installed.  Notice the transition of the fence on this side.  Side note: Daniel’s grandfather built us the birdhouses for Christmas, how awesome is he!

The entire back of the fence remains pretty level, even though the yard at the time still wasn’t very level.  You can see I put the bird feeder in front of the very large gap at the bottom so Cooper didn’t try to get under it.  I also sent this photo to Vision Scape and asked what we could do to fix it.  The suggestion was to add riff raff.

You can see the area of the fence in the back that had the gap, we added riff raff to this entire section to avoid future wash out from the creek.

Lastly, notice that someone (Cooper) was officially vocalizing his unhappiness that I was outside of the fence and that he could no longer get to the dirty, nasty creek!! Ha!


This is what the fence looks like today, a little over a year after it was installed. I recently shared all about how to stain a fence here!  This is the view of both sides from the front of the house.

We couldn’t be more excited about all the progress that our yard has made! For additional photos of our fence check out how we stained it here, and look at the retaining wall after photos.  For details on any of the other projects we have done in our backyard check out the fire pit, and patio posts, as well as our summer yard tour that includes a full cost breakdown.  To build your own garden box like the one above be sure to see this post.  Hope everyone had a wonderful summer!

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