Courtyard – Picket Fence

You can’t have an old house, and not have a picket fence, right?

We wanted to start making the courtyard area more like a courtyard.  So, we went fence shopping.  No place sold fence pickets with interesting tops, so we decided to buy plain pointed pickets and cut our own design into the top of each one.

The first step was to make a jig that would hold the pickets in place while the design was cut into them. This would ensure that the design would be consistent throughout the entire job.  I took two pickets and lined them up, side by side, on a piece of wood.  Then, I just used some nails to act as “guides” to hold them securely.

I then used a doorknob kit with my drill to cut the semi-circular design into 2 pickets at a time.

Once the cut was complete, I simply removed the right-hand picket, moved the left-hand picket into it’s place, and added a new one to the left-hand spot.  By using this method I was always cutting two pickets at a time.

Working off of the southeast corner of the house, we determined where the gate would be located and cemented in the first two posts.  For the posts, instead of just leaving them with square edges, I decided to run them through my table saw to give them a 45 degree chamfered edge.  It’s a small detail, but I think it looks better than the plain square edges.  While the cement was drying, we took the opportunity to paint the back and sides of all of the pickets.  Instead of going with the traditional white, we decided the fence would look better if we painted it the same cream color that we would be using for the trim on the house.

We then used the edge of the driveway as a guide to determine where the front portion of the fence would be located.  We then installed the corner posts for the front section of fence.  The next step was to attach a guide line to the center of each corner post.  At the midpoint between the two corner posts, we put a post, and then put another post at the midpoint between each corner and the center post.  So, we ended up with five posts and four4 equal sections of fence across the front. We also painted the first posts that were installed.

After the post cement was set, we then added the rails, and pickets for each section.

This photo shows the front section of the fence with the pickets all installed, but not painted on the front side.

For the post tops, I determined the circumference of the wooden topper that we would be using and made a 45 degree cut on all 4 sides to give it a beveled look.  The toppers where painted and then added to the posts.  The purple and blue detail on the toppers is the two other colors that the house will eventually be painted.

The front section of fence with all of the pickets painted.  It’s already beginning to make things look a lot different around here.

The east section of fence was installed using the same methods as the front section.

It’s looking like an actual courtyard now!

The east section of fence getting it’s pickets painted.

Getting ready to finish up the last section that will tie the fence to the corner of the house.  You may notice that the gate posts, and the post to the west of the gate, are taller than the rest of the posts.  I have future plans for those…

The completed picket fence, sans the front gate.



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