Today, with a bit of help from Dad, I built the prototype fence panel we’d been planning – and it’s a success! For those of you unaware/who haven’t been whinged at about it – we have a property adjoining an open area where the local kids gather and play football, which is fair enough, but as you can see from the adjacent fence panels, it has taken its toll on them since we moved in. So rather than just buy new panels I decided I’d rather have a more sturdy solution.
After investigating panels made from recycled plastic, which would’ve done the job, they were expensive, not particularly attractive and only available in metric measurements – our fence posts being set out in good old imperial dimensions. I also checked out if there are such things as sturdy pre-made panels, but frankly, there aren’t – they’re all flimsy, stapled-together with painfully thin featherboard planks. So I decided the only solution was to actually make them from scratch. I’m hardly a master joiner, but how hard can it be to make rectangles of wood?
As it turns out, after a trip to Wickes I found probably an even easier solution than I originally envisaged. They sell precut and pretreated gravelboards that fit the fenceposts perfectly, which enabled Dad and I today to slide them in place, then screw on the vertical supporting timbers, which are the same width, to make a panel that sits snugly in the posts and offers a much more robust solution to standard fence panels. We screwed in the two edge verticals first until we’d got about half way, before adding the two intermediate ones. They’re screwed from both sides too, so hopefully it should prove sturdy!
All that remains is to decide what kind of coating to put on them – for subsequent panels I’ll pre-coat the wood before assembling them, I think – and also something to place on the top, whether we opt just for a smallish bit of timber, or perhaps some trellis to try to dissuade the local scamps from climbing over in order to retrieve errant footballs. After that’s all sorted (which may be some time – but the beauty of the scheme is we can very much ‘pay as you go’ and do a few panels at a time), hopefully the council will be running a border down the other side of the fence and planting shrubs to afford extra protection.
So there you go – a quick DIY lesson from a most unlikely source! Should you have problems with flimsy fence panels and want a strong and sturdy solution, then you could do a lot worse than utilising premade gravel boards to make up your own panels. It’s very straightforward and whilst it just looks like a fence, it doesn’t look too unattractive either, I don’t think – particularly once we get it coated, and the rest of the panels finished!