My woodworking was quickly veering into house construction chores as I saw ways to take my new skills into improving our environment. We had long talked about how we would build-up our front yard, with garden beds filled with flowering bushes, like azaleas, roses, and peonies.
One important component to this dream, was adding a circuitous fence to the front yard. As much as I like the seemingly communal aspect of an open front yard that stretches from neighbor-to-neighbor’s lawn, in practice very few people seem to spend a lot of time in their front yards. However, I’ve noticed that people with fences tend to spend more time in that space. I also like how a fence defines a territory and serves as the boundary to a space perceptually. This makes the space seem compartmentalized and visually bound to a designed purpose. For all these reasons, we knew a fence would be in our future.
I put my woodworking skills to the test and designed a fence that met my criterion. More on that later.
You can see from the above photo that my plan featured three rails. Two to brace the pickets and a third to ensure a smooth top rail. The kind of rail you can set a drink on top of. I really like the smooth line this creates. I find that traditional picket fences and their spiky tops only look well when camouflaged behind plenty of foliage. I think a smooth line will look great juxtaposed in front of the flowery bushes that will someday rise behind them.
The pickets were easy to install. I made a homemade jig that allowed me to ensure perfect 1 5/8″ spacing between picket boards. Due to the slight differences in post-to-post distances, I had to make a few strips and thickened some middle boards to ensure the spacing was kept consistent.
Cutting the tops of the posts to the same height was not the easiest. I had to use a circular saw on two sides to clear the thick wood. Then I used my Japanese pull saw to smooth the cut flat.
I then took my post cut-offs and beveled them to add a decorative feature to each post top. The fence was finished. Now I need to consider a gate design.