This story was originally posted on May 9, 2013. There’s an update down below

At long last, I finally have a new front fence. I could go digging through my photographs to show you its somewhat ugly predecessor — which I built with limited resources in 2010, just to try to keep my rabbits hemmed in—but no, we don’t need ugly temporary hacks here. It never really worked to corral the rabbits anyway.

The kind of fence I wanted was page wire, a wide-grid braided (wrapped, not welded, at the cross-points) wire fence that you find in farm country, with or without barbed wire to keep people out or critters in (some cattle will knock it down if they really want to, but it isn’t a safe fence for horses). However, when I easily found welded-wire fence at the hardware store, I bought it just to commit to the project. I posted it would look something like this when done, except with nice round cedar fence posts from the country, not square city posts.

I don’t have a post-pounder, an auger, or a sharp-shooter for digging the post holes, so I rented a post-digger shovel from Home Depot for a day. I got the help of my friend, Marc. The sun was bright, and it was hot, and hair-metal music played on the boom box (called a Ghetto Blaster, back in Mr. T’s day). We joked about wearing beer t-shirts just to fit the work image. Marc had too much beer the night before, so we saved the cap-twisting for when the work was done. We dug six posts for the fence (I later dug a seventh). Each one took about 45 minutes to dig – or at least it felt that way!

The next day, my friends Jeremy and Bruce (who has a great Instagram photography account – you should follow it!), both from Australia, came by and helped unroll, stretch, and staple the fence. It was done in no time!

When we stretched the fence, it looked slacker than fences usually do. A wonderful man stopped by to tell us we were doing it exactly right. He said if this kind of fence is tight on a hot day, when the cold weather comes, it tenses right up, and this causes fences to heave over. Awesome. Practical information to thwart the cosmetic perfectionist! And make the fence last a long time.

Here are the photos from the end of the day:

Welded wire fence and cedar posts
From ground level, the welded wire fence and posts
welded wire fence, facing the house
Fence view, from the corner facing in – with an experimental stick in the way along the top of the fence
welded wire fence with posts
From the gate post, view from the top of the steps

10-year update on the fence (May, 2023)

I’m still satisfied with the fence, but it really was too slack – and it got slacker with age. I tried to winch it to make it tighter, but it just didn’t work; there was too much play in the posts, and it needed more support. Other changes to the garden (growing vines on the fence, moving the hedge to the middle) helped its appearance greatly. Here it is at the beginning of May, as the hedge begins leafing out, before the pea vine takes over. In fact you can barely see it (look for the wobbly bits!):

Welded wire fence
You’ll notice that the hedge has moved from the sidewalk-side to the middle of the yard. The hedge is still getting used to its new location (it was a pandemic project!) but it looks heaps better like this.

I left some hedge rambling down at the end of the sidewalk, as you can see, because Parker likes to hide in the corner of the garden, obscured by its growth. He’s got a little bolt-hole to get in or out, and he feels secure and relaxed there! And that’s where it’s gonna stay until Parker follows the Black Rabbit to Lord Frith’s domain. I anticipate that when that happens, I’ll then redistribute that corner hedge bit to the central row, take out the welded-wire fence, put in two brick gate posts at the end of the yard (bonus if I have an actual farm gate between the two, functional or not!), and then have a cedar-rail fence of a more open design. Should a future bunny* need more security, I’ll staple the welded wire to the fence rails in sections, rather than wrap it around the whole yard.

* not Willa: she’s terrified of dogs and has no interest in going outdoors. The only time she goes outdoors is when she’s Parker-huntin’. He’s her nemesis, and he didn’t do anything at all to deserve it.