Tag Archives: fence

Our midcentury outdoors

I made a promise on Instagram this morning that I’d get a backyard progress post up. And I know I’ve been saying the same thing on here for days now.

So, I hereby dedicate my entire afternoon (yes it will probably take me that long) including all available precious few moments of near silence with Miss E asleep and Master W temporarily convinced to sit still in one place, to show you where we are at with our deck and backyard.

We left off last time with the professionally built brick wall (which I still completely adore!) and this view of the backyard:

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And after a horrendous amount of painting and a bunch of other stuff, we now have this view from roughly the same position:

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Spot the difference?! I promise it does get more exciting. But first I’m going to thrill you with the process. If we had to endure it, it’s only fair I get to share it right?

This stage started yet again with cutting and drilling and digging and chipping out a couple more holes (but with much less grumbling because they could be the last) for the pergola posts.

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And I started with the fun task of choosing colours for the mid century screen on the side of the deck. I’ve had a trio of colours in mind right from the beginning (see the inspiration picture here) and even photoshopped them up here, but when it came to the nitty gritty of choosing the actual paint colours, I freaked!

There were numerous trips to Bunnings and the Resene Colour Shop and I collected a small hoard of samples, in the hope that one or two swatches would say “hey it’s me! pick me!”. Nope. All silent, even when I taped a few of them up onto the frame they didn’t squeal.

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But a few days of mulling it over and I finally picked the least saturated of my selections, knowing that on a sunny day the brighter colours would just be ouchie on the eyes. Plus the pastel tones are more true to mid century styling. We also picked for the strongest of the colour trio to fill the smaller panel on the left. And I did what I don’t normally do and grabbed some test pots of my chosen colours. Wiser and wiser! And the lesson is learnt, because with some bigger samples painted up (you can spot them a few images down, halfway through the pergola building process) I changed my mind on the blue.

But these screen panels weren’t all I had to paint. The pergola posts and fittings took me days of endless painting and a few mishaps along the way. It was definitely not my favourite painting project.

Before we go any further, let me just explain how we came to use steel pipe for our pergola… We knew we wanted something that would span the length and width of our deck without needing posts or bracing all over the place. We also wanted something solid and definitely there, but not chunky, so that ruled out timber (which would have needed to be on the chunky side to hold itself up) and left steel. I had pinned a bunch of images of awesome outdoor spaces that used I-beam steel as a pergola frame and so we designed up a frame and worked out how it could all fit together… then got a little concerned at the cost and logistics of having to construct it onsite. It would have been super heavy and needed welding in position. A little too much to ask of a humble husband and wife DIY team. There was no way I could single-handedly (the other one would have been feeding kids) hold up a 4 metre I-beam while Andre perched on top of a ladder with the welder. So Andre came up with Plan B: steel pipe and fittings. With a 60mm diameter being the largest standard tube size I was worried the whole construction would look too flimsy alongside our bold privacy screen and solid brick wall. But a little scrap pipe visualising along with Andre’s winning smile, and the knowledge we didn’t have any other choice (without spending way too much) convinced me to just go for it.

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So, with that the pipe was ordered and the painting started with a primer made for galvanised metal (I had to hunt this water based Steelite one down) and then topcoats of gloss white (tinted to Painters white for way better coverage).

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Next time we do something with steel I’m going with spray paint and probably will start with an etch primer or something like that. More expensive, but so much easier and a guaranteed better result. We had to do up to 4 top coats to get these pipes and fittings looking good. Te-di-ous. And yes they got rained on and a couple of times as I rolled the pipes to paint them they fell off the saw horses into the dirt. Aaahhh but it’s over now. The posts are all up!

Starting with the two upright posts, the weekend before Easter:

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With a last minute dash to Bunnings for a final piece of timber before Easter weekend (and a closed up shop on Good Friday) we were good to go with the rest of the pergola. Or so we thought… unfortunately “we” picked up a piece only treated for indoor use, and we definitely needed something outdoor treated. Oops. That left us with just a bunch more painting to do on that first precious day of the long weekend, and you already know how that went.

On day two Bunnings was open and the right piece of timber purchased so construction could get back underway.

Our resident builder came to lend a hand and the critical piece was ready to go up by lunchtime. Things are looking up (literally!)

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Oh but I forget… it needed painting. And the panels for the screen did too. That sorted the afternoon of day two. And of course it rained again.

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Which brings us then to our third and last day of DIY’ing it on Easter weekend and finally getting this pergola up.0429_3300

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By this time I wasn’t trusting the weather one dot so we rearranged the house to paint the panels inside. Take that rain.

0429_3284Somewhere in the midst of the late afternoon the last coat on these panels was deemed dry and we hung them. That was a happy moment I tell ya. There was dancing on the deck!

But no photos because I had my hands full of these heavy Durasheets while Andre nailed them into the screen frame.

Determined to finish by the end of the weekend, we were back out on the deck after an Easter Monday dinner of fish and chips.

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9.30pm – Done!

It wasn’t until the next day that I even really looked at it! At first I worried that the centre pipe in the “roof” was one pipe too many, but I think it’s just taking some getting used to. Anyway, we have plans for it, involving some shade for next summer so it’s staying put for now, and is an easy task to take it down if we change our minds.

So here’s where we’re at with our mid century flavoured deck and backyard space!

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I am delighted with how it makes this outdoor space an extension of our living area, and even Andre no longer scoffs when I use the term “outdoor room”. He gets it!

It just feels good out there on that deck! Much like when we built the front fence, the addition of the screen along the side, and the pergola frame makes this space feel like it now belongs to us. It’s cosy. We don’t have to share our deck dancing moments with the neighbours!

The colours for the privacy screen are, from left: Dulux Te Awamutu, British Paints Water Watch and Dulux Cape Kidnappers. Love them!

There is just a smidgeon more building to do out here before we’re calling it quits on exterior work for the winter. The outside of the planter box on the deck needs it’s decking timber skin (same as the front side) and we’ll do something similar (but more narrower/trellis-looking) to cover in the underside of the deck by the stairs.

So of course I’ll be back with that as it happens.

But for now, my deck is calling me to enjoy the last of the sun with a bite to eat. It’s well past afternoon tea time according to hungry kids and yes, this post has taken me ALL afternoon!

 

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Pillar to paint

It seems we’re a little hasty in calling things done and moving onto the next big thing. You see, for every big project we cross off the list, there seem to be always just a couple of little finishing touches that we turn a blind eye to, being more enthusiastic about planning for the next job. And I doubt it’s just us?!

0705_7301Last summer, we “completed” our front fence and gate, and it was a glorious moment crossing that one off the list! But hang on… those pillars look a little rough?!

Yes, it’s taken me a year to slap some paint on those. But overlooking that minor issue, we’re all good now. See…?

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Note 1: Yes, the gate is missing a couple of coats of paint still. Give me another year? (Actually this one needs a little more attention because the steel frame actually needs to be regalvanised… it’s rusting. And really annoying me in the process!)

Note 2: Yes we do have a couple of apricot planter boxes still on the right hand side of the drive (scroll up… up… up) but they’re a little lower on the priority list yet.

If you’re very extremely rather observant you might have seen a hint of pipe sitting on the front lawn in one of the photos up above? If this weekends scheduled cyclone doesn’t arrive that’s the project for the weekend – getting started on putting up a pergola over our deck. Oooh la la!

If it does get wild, we’ll be inside and hopefully getting a real door on our bedroom at last. I’ve been busy painting it this week and I’ll be almost as excited as I am about our brick wall* when it actually gets hung!

*As of today, the bricklayer has bid us adieu and packed up his saw. I am actually hoping for some rain to wash away all the dust because I want to do it justice and photograph it all fresh and clean! It’s going to be a good one…

 

I call that a lawn

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As Master W would say (he gets this one from his mama), “Pretty much!”. Pretty much a lawn. If it needs mowing it’s a lawn right?!

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Oh I just love our front yard. It’s far from magazine-worthy but it doesn’t scare me anymore. And I’m even a bit proud of it! And the lawn… well it’s not perfect (at all) but I’m proud of that too – we did it all by ourselves! Dirt, grass seed, tlc

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There are bare patches, but it’s filling in slowly, and I have high hopes it will get there in the end. My dreams of a weedfree lawn are lying shattered but I’m not crying about it. I’m fine, and to prove it I’ll even show you a picture of the worst patch:

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The shady bit under the tree. Perfect for a diy nail box swing, not so perfect for growing grass.

Definitely looks better if we spin around the other way:

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More spinning…

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Oops big bare patch.

One last request – take a step just outside the gate for a view of the afternoon sun in all it’s warmliness (definitely a word).

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That winter sunshine is begging for attention a lot louder than the gate pillars that need plaster and paint, the patio that needs another go with moss, the baseboard that needs painting, the hedge that needs trimming, or the invisible border planting that can’t wait to tidy along the base of the fence and hedge. As for the mud on the drive… that does get pretty loud. Might have to add it to this weekends list.

Let’s hope sunshine is also on the list – it does make winter hibernating so much more pleasant! Enjoy your weekend.

Shifting dirt and blasting water

Slowly, slowly, bit by bit…

Last time, progress was a trailer full of green stuff. Two weekends ago, progress was a trailer full of dirt. Last weekend, it was a water blasted (power washed) fence.

First, the dirt. There was a lot of this:

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0521_7085 A garden bed and a raised planter – gone.

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There is another trailer load of soil, plus the giant yucca still to go, but we had a plan to clear away the bordering neighbours side of the fence first so we could waterblast that before they got home from an extended holiday. It’s noisy, it’s mucky, and it’s wet – not good for neighbourly relations. Best to do it when they’re not there and you have time to clean up on both sides of the fence when you’re done. Turned out we just made it with hours to spare!0521_7095

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Here’s where I pleaded my turn. And then wouldn’t give it up until it was done, and turning to dusk, and I was cooo-ooold (and pretty icky – my grubby face is on instagram @duckeggblueblog)! 0521_7110

I gave it up then to this little red helmeted guy who loved it as much as his mama. I hovered pretty close at first, waiting for carnage, but he was pretty responsible with it and just had a lot of good clean (sort of) fun!

There’s still a bit to do along one side of the back fence (and then you just try and stop me around the rest of the house!) but I’m so glad to have the bit done that might have bothered the neighbours.

Here’s some before and afters, and now that it’s dry it looks even better than this:0521_7111 0521_backyardThere is a bit of damage to the lower part of the fence where the garden was up against it – probably not a big problem, but we will need to consider it when we decide where to go from here.

Out front, the grass is making slow progress but my fingers and toes are still crossed tight. I think we missed the best grass growing weather by a couple of weeks but there’s no giving up now. I have a dog coming to stay in a couple of weeks, and kids going crazy with being shut inside out of the mud… grow grass grow!

 

A glossy black fence

Done. I can put the paintbrush down… right next to the gate and a bucket of primer… sigh! The fence was by far the biggest part of the “paint the front yard” project though and it feels good to have it complete. After a week of getting out there every day and getting a suntan while I was at it, I’ve been ignoring the last stretch for more than a month. But it’s done now. Let’s just go and look at it… 0314_64970314_6610 0314_6499 0314_6498

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This is a terrible photo (I’ve been venturing far beyond auto on my camera and mostly having successes – this just wasn’t one of them) but it does show the finished fence and the work in progress everything else. The letterbox got installed last weekend, and I plan to keep going with painting the gate this weekend. Beyond that we will tackle what was the lawn. I’m excited – I love this new space of ours!

Painting and tanning

Weary arms are at least a bit browner than usual!

I’ve been a-painting. And a-painting. And a-painting. And I’m not done yet. While the littlest one is in bed I’ve been outside with paintbrush in hand taking on the challenge to get just one more section done before she lets me know (via the baby monitor) time is up.

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The fence is going black. It’s pretty black… it just needs one more coat on 50% of it. Problem is, the party is over (which was my motivation to get as far as I did) and Master W is back at kindy and not so free to entertain me with chatter while I get on with it.

On the palings I used the Aqualin Timber Stain, and on the concrete blocks I went with some Multiversal. Both smell pretty good in a non-toxic way and are waterbased so easy to clean up.

Our home, our fortress

The fence got finished in 2012, the gate didn’t make it until 2013. After a holiday away in the beautiful Coromandel, our holiday at home was filled with the sound of saws chirping – as they do.

Halfway through drilling into concrete, skill-sawing through some reclaimed sign ply, welding, grinding and priming the frame (and likely a bunch of other processes I missed while hiding out of the sun… just kidding, see what I was up to here), we had this:

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More of the same later and we had this!

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And with the help of Photoshop, we’re visualising this (minus the substandard letterbox):

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News, news! I no longer need to visualise the painted fence (or spot stained arms) but I guess you do until I get to the next fence post (ohhaha!)… sorry!