The Truth about DIY Grave Yard Fencing

DIY Grave Yard Fencing as a Jousting Ring

Oh I know why you’re here,  it’s late August and you think you’re getting a head start on the Halloween Yard Contest you have going with that bitch Tammy at Bunko.

Go away and come back next year in March, unless you want to spend every blessed weekend and more than a few ‘work at home” days completing this project.

Whatever crazy lady, you say?  Ok then, everything you need to know about the “bones” of the project are found in the links  here >>> Haunters Hangout  and here >>> Haunt Project

Now here’s the truth

I’m putting the TL:DR right here:

It took  a long time to make, required too many trips to the hardware store, was messy to the point of giving my garage floor a vintage look, was exhausting physically to complete, and my yard swallowed up 17 sections very quickly.  It was also not as cheap as I hoped. But it does look pretty good and the kids are enjoying it.

If you want the story along with tips and tricks keep reading, if not, go on with you bad self and make some fencing.  Enjoy and don’t say I didn’t warn you. ❤ If you find a way to make it “pretty” let me know.

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The Details, Lola style

This is how I feel about DIY Grave Yard Fencing.   By the time we got this up ( by October 1 because it is The Destroyer’s Birthday) I was so freaking over it.

Here is the story with the tips and tricks buried inside, yes it is another way I trick you into reading my blog.  Now shall I??  OK then.

This all started last year, How To’s….  Pics  

Being the cheap, quirky girl that I am I planned ahead last year as I made my materials choices.    The plan is to have some variation of Ghosts and Spiders every year.  I  Like order in so many areas of my life that I enjoy re-creating every year  when I decorate for the seasons.  I always planned to add to the collection of yard  stuff we’ve made.  Fencing has always been on my wish list, probably because I am an emotional nut about architectural details, without knowing what most of them are probably called :-).   The Destroyer chose a Jousting theme this year on one of the first days of school in mid August. We began Planning aka  Analysis and Design. This lasted a few weeks until we had the decisions made. Then I did all the calculating and list making.   We planned to make a prototype and then some sort of assembly process, we needed 68 feet of fencing so if we ever decide to fence in along the driveway and walk we are covered.

We spent about $200 on this project which made 17 sections of fencing and left enough for 3 more sections no one could bare the thought of making,  or roughly $9.52 a section. I am slightly disappointed it was that much considering I made use of donations of spray paint from neighbors and exhausted my own reserve supply. By the time we bought everything it was September 8th, but we were still pretty proud of ourselves.  I don’t remember when the prototype was made, but I can tell you this we didn’t get done until October 1 and 40+ hours of work went into this.   Ours will be stored upon  brackets in the garage.  We can take them down, patch them up and put them out pretty quickly next year. THAT’S when all the hard work will pay off, right???

Tips, Tricks and Lessons Learned

  •   Haunters Hangout  says “A 3/4 Forstner drill bit will make quick work of drilling the holes for the fence. Forstner drill bits cut fast and leave a very smooth hole.”   He is probably right, and BTW, we did NOT do this.  What we did was Babu tried and changed bits about 4 times because the hole size was off , all involving trips to the hardware store, and we had 1×2’s  with HUGE splintered hole bottoms in them.   Babu wasn’t very good at centering the hole in spite of making a template.   He was tired and sore before the work ran out.
  • Once the prototype was complete,  we cut all remaining pipes and boards in order to have raw materials available for assembly in case someone had a spare 10-20 minutes here or there.
  • One of these guys talks about how a 10′ section of board will yield 4 29.5″ cuts. It will. but it will ALSO hold 4 30″ cuts and then you won’t have that annoying little piece of 2″  PVC leftover.
  • It’s SUPPOSED to be a little janky, it is grave yard fencing.  But don’t be stupid, be sure every pipe is screwed somewhere to the wood along it’s length.
  • Painting the PVC pipe prior to assembly is fruitless,  streaks of it peel right off as it feeds through the holes, not worth the extra time
  • Painting the wood boards on all sides with latex  paint and a brush or sponge prior to cutting and assembly  is totally the way to go
  • No one will see the undersides of the boards but the bottom strip will be closest to wet grass and ground, it is probably a good idea to protect your investment and at least paint the bottom of that one.
  • Doing all of this hurts your back so finding ways to work upright or at least standing vs kneeling/sitting on the garage floor/ground/driveway is important.   I made use of a small table Babu swore could not be used for assembly. Well that asshole  sweet man went to an all day LAN party and out of desperation I proved him wrong.
  • We used pieces of green landscaping stakes , 2 per fence, to secure them.  I wanted to save money on rebar but I am about to head out later this week and buy some rebar if that tells you anything.
  • Latex paint is a giant PITA but seems to work best on the wood.
  • Spray paint works best on the PVC and is fast, but spray paint is costly, exhausting and messy. I was using 1 can on about every 1.5 sections and that included trying to keep them stacked so the  over spray would be useful.   The last can chose to leak all over me, don’t ask.
  • I added a few extra layers to the black.  I didn’t want it rusty or mottled.  To add a shiny focal point I sprayed the finials silver on the front and back letting the over spray go wherever it wanted.  Then I dry brushed with latex paint to add in texture and depth.  I ended by spraying glitter (Thank you Kindy 500 car leftovers) onto just the finials for bling.   My front yard doesn’t get all that much sun, the silver is very visible but I don’t know that the glitter is noticeable or did much.
  • Each fence section needs two coats of black,  which means you are touching it two times, maybe three if you  miss spots.
  • The plastic garden fencing tops are pretty fragile and like to break off at the stake shoved into the PVC and screwed down.  Overall it just adds to the janky-ness but now I have to go back and touch up white showing.  My old nemesis black spray paint and I will meet again sooner than I’d like.
  • There is one fence on there that is simply board and pipe and can be taken  apart and put back together every year. If I had to do it over again I’d  rather do that, even though it does not look nearly as “nice”

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One Comment on “The Truth about DIY Grave Yard Fencing”

  1. I know I’ve said this before, but I absolutely love how festive you get decorating for Halloween. Halloween is one of my favorite holiday’s. Are you this festive with Christmas too?


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