When we were first introduced to our home at the showing, we were immediately greeted by our neighbor’s dog – but it wasn’t, um, the friendliest hello. It scared the pants right off of me (well, not really!), and it has continued to do so for every friend (and passerby) that walks up to our front gate.

The problem was that to the left of our home, there was no privacy fence; rather, it was old, beat up chain link, and it had seen its day. Because of this, we were greeted day and night by a dog that didn’t like us one bit (Jack and CC on the other hand, thank goodness, got along just fine with him!), even if we were simply standing on our front porch.

We knew when we signed on all those dotted lines a year ago that one of the first things we’d do with that house is install a proper fence – and then we fell down a rabbit hole of demolition, putting that fence-to-do off for next year, which is now this year. And now? We have that fence!

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First, fences are no joke. They’re pricey – even though we had been saving up for a while (and especially when you’re refrigerator begins its slow death after you’ve signed a fence contract) – and although it was a necessity for upping the safety factor for Jack and CC, it was also a mostly aesthetic upgrade, curb appeal for the block and the chance for a little bit of peace. After receiving our quote, we talked with Scott’s parents and the neighbor to our right, and we learned that our estimated price was, in their words, great!, and with that, we booked it before we could think twice. After all, there was never a doubt that we wanted a fence, and because our right-hand-neighbor already had a 6′ cedar fence installed, it was an easy decision for us to mimic the same style to our left. Looking on the bright side, we only needed to have one side of our home fenced off, so we consider ourselves very lucky!

Below, you can see where we started vs. what we’re seeing today – so much better.

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But! Let’s back up to where we began. For starters, the chain link was held on by triple-wrapped rope, and when it came time to rip up that old fence, we also learned that it wasn’t built very deep into the ground. It was rusted and covered in weeds, and to be quite honest, we were growing tired of welcoming our friends and family by saying, Hi, hello! Sorry about the neighbor dog! He’s cool, we promise! Just don’t look left!

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Oddly enough (or maybe not?), the fence didn’t stretch the entire length of our home! It stopped at the front face of the physical house, and then it resumed at the back and stretched to the garage. The only reason we can think it was done this way was to save money, however, we showed our home’s land survey to the builders and had them correct this issue when it came time for installation. We’d been discussing our plans with our neighbors from the start (who’ve been great throughout our entire renovation thus far), and they were just thrilled to be getting a real, live fence! Hip, hip!

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By allowing the fence to run the entire length of our property, however, meant that there was no more division between the front and back yards. For now, our method of separation is a highly technical scrap of plastic we pulled from the garage, so we’ll need to make another teeny, tiny baby gate (or a permanent guard, at the very least) to step it up a notch.

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On Fence Day, I wanted to let the installers do their thing, but I couldn’t resist grabbing an in-process shot (and a few phone snaps to text Scott; OMG! Look! They’re so fast!). It was important for us to make sure that the outside of our fence looked just as good as the side that would be facing us – Chicago lots are spaced very close together – just short of being right on top of one another! – and we wanted to make sure our left-hand-neighbors would be just as happy as we were. We literally pointed to our neighbor’s already standing fence and asked, can you make it look just like that? And they did – in half a day, no less!

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While our back yard may be the biggest eyesore of our entire property, the fence has helped a bit! No more growth of chain link and dead weed-like ivy! And can I side tangent for a moment? As for the much, much larger picture, we’d love to take down the entire back deck – which is down right rickety and likely dangerous – and fill the small yard with concrete and wall-to-wall planters with built-in benches. We’ll rebuild an appropriately sized back deck off of the kitchen (which is right behind that door on the first level), and the pups can rumble while we grill, drink a glass of wine and light up the fire pit. Aah. Some day!

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All day dreams aside, we are loving the privacy this fence has (quite literally) afforded us, the visual appeal and the much more quiet evenings on the porch swing. (For those interested in the Chicagoland area, we used A & M Fence Corporation. Although heavy rain delayed their start date a few times, their work is spot on, and they’re polite and efficient!)

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It’s still a muddy mess between the fence itself and our new concrete pad, but we’ll be filling it with gravel and other, a-hem, pee-pit-esque pebbles for Jack and CC! That is, once we can mix that in to our list of to-dos – after all, summer is calling, don’t you know! The front porch is begging us to take a seat (while we still can!).

21 replies on “Fence Day!”

  1. It looks great! Fencing is one of those things that is easy to put off when there are so many other projects to do. I can relate!

  2. The fence looks great! It is so worth it to hire it out. We were shocked by the price initially too. It is the first thing we did when we moved into our home. We live in central Illinois so our lot is much much larger than those in Chicago but they still got it done in 2 days. I’ve watched people diy fences and it seems to take months. Our yard is on a slant too so I’m sure we wouldn’t have been able to make it look as pretty!

  3. We had the same issue and our new fence has made a HUGE difference in our lives. Now Maize can frolic about the yard without worrying about any dogs around her.

  4. Oh, how I’ve been waiting for this post! The changes in your front yard since Memorial Day weekend are unbelievable.

  5. Hello!! I’m new to your blog and found it as my partner and I have recently bought a home as well :) We admire your work, attitude, and helpful photos! The fence looks awesome. I would like to comment on the cement: please consider not such a big cement pad OR a permeable type of outdoor concrete/paving. It’s actually just as durable, looks great, and most important: provides some exposure to soil so that rain may go through into the ground rather than runoff. It’s the best thing to protect water quality :) thanks for your consideration! We have a rather big yard and are planning on making an entertaining space as well, but I believe it’s important to consider the environment ;)

    1. Those are all possible options! Unfortunately, this project won’t happen until next year at the earliest, so we’ll be weighing all the options much, much later. Thank you so much for the suggestion; definitely something to consider.

  6. Looks good! I’m personally quite interested to hear more about this pee pit. It may not be a bad addition to my yard before I undertake Operation Weed-be-Gone.

  7. Your home is beautiful inside and out! Just curious–what part of the city did you decide to buy in? I am a former Chicagoan!

  8. This is beautiful … and lovely. Can I move in? I’ve always wanted to visit Chicago ;)

  9. The new fence looks great! We also have a neighbor with some friendly dogs (thankfully they are currently small and truly friendly) but they love to come into our yard through the unfenced front and do their doggie business inside the fenced side-yard if the gate is left open (which is usually is). A pretty privacy fence is definitely on the to-do list.

    Just out of curiosity, you mentioned consulting with the neighbors about the cost, does that mean you shared the expense between both properties? Is that usually how fences along property lines work? (Seriously, I’ve got no clue.)

    1. Ah, we just discussed cost with our neighbor on the right who already had a cedar fence installed, and wanted to make sure that the price seemed right to her – which it definitely did! There was no cost sharing, but for the neighbors on the left (with the “friendly” dog), we told them about our plans since it would be facing their yard as well. Luckily, they were completely on board, and they got a MAJOR upgrade to their yard as well!

    2. Typically, the cost of a shared fence is split between the two homeowners. If the other party doesn’t want to go in on the fence, then usually the new fence is put up alongside the old one. It benefits both parties, so the cost should be split 50/50.

      1. Hi Carol, we heard so many different sides to this story. Let’s put it this way – we really doubt they would have paid for half (sad face), but it was absolutely a necessity for us. It IS on our property, but this may require a little more digging on our end… At this point, it may be a hard lesson learned if they really should have paid for half. (Although everything we’ve found via Chicago laws/regulations is very subjective!)

  10. I love the new fence! I think it’s beautiful and adds nice privacy and ambiance to your property. It looks like the fence in the back yard blocks light from going in to your neighbors basement windows. Were they upset about that at all?

    1. You’re right – it does block some of the natural light they once got, however, they’re no longer exposed to the neighbor’s yard… More importantly, the neighbor’s dog! There were a few times in the night when they’ve flipped on the switch and the dog has run up to the window barking. That’s no longer an issue, which we know they definitely appreciate!

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