Back Yard Renovation

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Project by jlondon posted 07-14-2011 04:03 PM 2350 views 1 time favorited 7 comments Add to Favorites Watch

My wife and I purchased our home last fall and while the interior of the house was completely remodeled, the yard was in dire need of some TLC. Its a smaller city lot that came with a cracked (but structurally sound) concrete patio, a chain-link fence and a poorly graded & uneven weed patch for a lawn. We had a limited budget so the only thing we hired out was the tear-out of the lawn and fence. Deck, fences/gates, garden and lawn was all DIY.


We could’ve saved a little time & money going with a prefab fence kit but we really loved the horizontal style after seeing it online. It took me awhile to figure out a good design but once I figured it out, it was a breeze to put up. Since I used 1×6” PT pine boards for the slats, I decided to space the posts 6’ instead of 8’ to help prevent warp. I unfortunately didn’t let the wood dry completely and a few of the slats are warping but since I used a stringer on the post, I can simply unscrew 10 screws to replace it. The nice part about this system is that there’s no “ugly” side.


We discussed having the concrete patio removed and putting up a proper deck but after checking on costs and building codes, I decided to just build a floating deck on top of the concrete. Joists are 2×6” ground contact rated PT pine and spaced 18”. PT 5/4 deck boards on the top and with them still pretty wet, no gap. Since the patio was a bit uneven, I shimmed it with scrap and left a few spaces for me to jack it up to re-shim if it moves.

I’m also finishing up a Herman Miller style bench off the tall raised bed.

Raised Beds

I ordered about 15% extra lumber since I’ve never taken on a project like this and expected some bad cuts. But I underestimated my DIY skills and had a bunch of leftovers (and a lot of leftover dirt from the landscaping). The tall raised bed wasn’t in the original plan and decided to use some of the 5/4 deck stock to build it 3’ tall and spanning the side of the deck. I realize the 5/4 stock isn’t ground contact rated but figured that if it lasts 5 years, it was worth it.

A shorter square foot gardening style bed runs along the fence and 2 raised beds in the back for our veggies.

In all, it took about a month for me to complete working nights and taking a week vacation. I estimate 90 or so hours to complete it.

7 comments so far

View DamnYankee's profile


3301 posts in 2588 days

#1 posted 07-14-2011 04:31 PM

Looks good and sounds like you thought it out for future corrections.

-- Shameless - Winner of two Stumpy Nubs Awards

View Lane's profile


39 posts in 3746 days

#2 posted 07-14-2011 07:36 PM

Nice job.

View Derek1980's profile


31 posts in 2933 days

#3 posted 07-15-2011 01:04 AM

great looking work.I really like the varying bored widths in the fence.

A word of caution based on my experience helping fix a friends house is that using you foundation as one side raised bed can invite insects and rot into your house. Buying one more board on the back and leaving a few inch air gap between the bed and house may pay big in the long run.

great yard.

-- Derek

View jlondon's profile


6 posts in 2661 days

#4 posted 07-22-2011 03:24 PM

Thanks everyone.

Derek, I think the raised beds you’re talking about are the ones against our garage. They’re right next to the concrete foundation but I see what you’re talking about with bugs potentially crawling under the siding. I may correct that next year… or hope for an infestation forcing us to tear it down :). It’s the small 1 car variety and we eventually want to build a 2 car with workshop space.

View Beginningwoodworker's profile


13345 posts in 3699 days

#5 posted 07-22-2011 03:33 PM

Nice job!

View Derek1980's profile


31 posts in 2933 days

#6 posted 07-22-2011 04:26 PM

:) In that case i recommend you pile rotting wood up past the 2nd or third level of siding to maximize the potential for a new shop.

-- Derek

View Captainyoni's profile


1 post in 2184 days

#7 posted 06-29-2012 01:42 AM

Hey there, great fence. I am in thge planning stages of building a horizontal fence, You mentioned you were able to run your boards up the middle of the posts, so there was no “ugly side” how did you accomplish this?

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