May 3, 2020 by ChrisJamesAuthor
This weekend included a bank holiday day off on Friday, so I enlisted the help of the rest of the James family to fix a problem that had been bothering me for the last 18 months or so. This:
This was our front fence. As you can see, 18 years of rain hitting those engineering bricks and splashing back up into the wooden panels had made them rot to the point where dogs, martens, foxes and others could and did push through at night and have a hunt for anything tasty. As the panels broke, I bodged the gaps with other bits of wood, but they were never going to be a long-term solution. The options for replacement were not especially appealing. To replace the wooden panels was a non-starter. I built that fence 18 years ago and re-stained it nine years ago, so I was not going to replace those panels with more wood and give myself the same ultimately futile maintenance work. Metal seemed the preferred maintenance-free option, but it also came with a snag: price. Modern metal panels look snazzy enough but are not cheap; they would have to be made to order, and I would not be able to fit them myself because I don’t know how to weld or have my own welding gear. This is what we did instead:
This solution has a few advantages: it cost about one-fifth of what the headline metal panels would have set me back. I enlisted the whole family to help remove the rotted wood panels, paint the supporting metalwork, and then fix the new wire panels. I was able to trim the wire panels to fit with my old bolt-cutters. Each wire panel needed just 18 screws to hold it to the metal supports, while for the same area, 24 wood panels needed a whopping 72 bolts. But the best part is what comes next: we’ll plant ivy and other climbers so that in a couple of years, the wire should be mostly covered in greenery. As my dad would say: that’s another job jobbed!
Here are a few more before-and-after shots, and then a few shots of the apple blossom that finally put in an appearance this weekend (and look out for the out-of-focus moon).
Have a great week!