This week, we continue making small upgrades to our house and garden. Since having completed the main floor guest bathroom, our focus has been fine-toning the details inside and outside the house. We patched holes and touch-painted, refreshed the hidden portion under the roof, fixed broken pickets on the fence, re-potted all the indoor plants, and filled dead spots in our lawn. These tasks are rather keep-ups and do not make into the blog, but they are necessary for preserving the hard work we put in initially.
Over the last two weeks, we started to see some cool weather, which made working outside a lot more pleasant. And it was the time I decided to give the back fence a face lift:
Above pictures showed how the back fence looked like when we moved in. As you can see, the fence was finished with two different types of pickets, which aged into different colors. Shortly after we moved in, Slav gave the fence a good wash with our pressure washer:
The washing effort made the fence look great for a while. But over time, the different types of wood started turning into different colors again.
Challenges and decisions
The problem is that the older fence pickets are cedar, which age into a smoke grey, whereas the newer panels are treated wood, which maintain a much lighter and yellow color. The aging process of the cedar pickets happens very quickly – within a couple weeks, which makes it difficult to keep the fence look uniformed.
We considered to rebuild the fence to match the horizontal fencing on the other side of the yard, but the current high lumber price puts our plan on halt. Besides, the back fence is actually pretty steady and functional, so it fees like a waste to rebuild just for a different look.
We debated and discussed many times, and finally reached the conclusion to upgrade the look of the fence with minimal effort, before we have to rebuild for structure reasons. The rebuild will not need to happen until years down the road, and by that time, the lumber price should come down as well.
Painting the treated wood panels
To make the back fence look better, we first needed to stain/paint the lighter color panels to match the darker ones. It happened that we had some exterior paint left over from painting the gable, which are a dark grey color.
I watered it down just a little bit to make the color a better match, and got onto painting:
The painted pickets are a bit darker but over time, I think it will look similar to the naturally aged cedar pickets. Here is the same section of the fence before and after being painted:
Installing the cattle panel
Next, I wanted to train the climbing rose up to the fence. We planted some climbing roses along the back fence in 2018. I did not train it up as I should have, due to our indecision of what to do with the back fence. now we have decided to keep the original fence for a while, I can finally lift the roses off the ground!
The poor roses, they have been gobbled up by the pumpkins this year:
I decided to train the climbing roses up onto the fence using cattle panel. I had done it with the front yard climbing rose with success, and I loved how steady these cattle panels are. In fact, we used them to create bean tunnels in the vegetable garden this year, and they look great with vine crops climbing on them:
We got four 50″ x 16′ panels from Tractor Supply, my new favorite garden store! They have great seeds and soil, plus all the gardening/farming supplies you can think of. The best? They have little chicks year around in the stores. I love playing with the chicks every time I have an excuse to go inside.
Slav secured the panels onto the fence pickets using metal staples.
And they look nice! Plus I think they actually made the fence stronger.
With the cattle panel secured to the fence, I can simply tie the branches of the roses onto the panel instead of trying to secure them onto the fence. It is a much easier way to train climbing roses, and once we are ready to replace the back fence, I can simply stake the panel up with T-posts and keep the roses in place.
Training climbing rose
I spent an afternoon training the roses up. The most challenging part was separating them from the pumpkin vines and lifting them up. Even with long sleeves, long pants, and garden gloves, I got scratched all over my arms and legs! The awakening rose is famous for the strong thorns and I can tell you, they are no joke!
But nonetheless, they are ON.
The upgraded look of the back fence
Here is the upgraded look of our back fence, all in dark, covered by cattle panels, aligned with fruit trees and blackberry bushes, and soon with pink rose blooming all over! Do you like it?