The Wildman Project

Backyard Transformation Part 1

So I thought it would be fun to take you through the transformation of my back yard. This will be done in several posts. I will talk about the stuff I learned, won’t do again, etc. Hopefully you will learn something from my experience.

When my wife and were looking to buy our first place, we wanted a house with a nice size back yard. We had looked at 30+ houses, when our realtor decided to take us to see a condo/townhouse (still not sure what to call it). We walked inside and it was pretty nice, I was surprised. But then we walked outside to the backyard and I in love and said “write an offer.” It was a good size yard, and it was a blank canvas, just dirt and weeds. I started thinking of all the things I could do.

Flash forward, we got the house, moved in, and started working on the backyard. Luckily the inside of the house didn’t need much work, so the focus turned to the backyard. Living in Southern California, we spend a lot of time outside, so we wanted to have a nice backyard to enjoy and entertain guests.

We were on a tight budget and the plan was to do most of the work myself, to save on labor costs. I was a little scared about this, because any material that I needed to bring into the back yard, had to go up a flight of stairs. Our house was located on a hill, with the backyard being at the top of the hill, and the house kind of sits in the hill. The pictures will explain it better.

One of the first thing I needed to do was make a gate. The gate would be located on the side of our house as seen below:

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This needed to be done first to keep our dog in the backyard. I had decided to make one big gate. I was worried that the gate was going to be too large and not be able to swing open and close, or would fall apart because of the weight.

First thing I did was put the 4×4 post in that you see in the picture above. This needed to be strong and sturdy because the weight of the gate would be attached to it. I dug a hole and cemented it in the post as well as bolting it to the existing concrete walkway. It was sturdy and was happy with it.

Next it was time to make the gate. The gate frame would be made out of 2×4’s. I made a square frame and put diagonal braces from corner to corner in each direction. I assembled it in my garage and carried it up the stairs.

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The diagonal braces would add support and keep the gate from moving laterally. I used 3 hinges. I went big on these because they needed to support the weight of the gate.

After the frame was attached to the post, and I was happy with the way it swung, I attached the fence boards to the frame. The fence boards would match the existing fence and make it seem like there wasn’t a gate there. Which was the look I was going for.

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As you can see above, I used more 2×4’s and attached them to the house. I used angle brackets and concrete screws, since the house was stucco. These pieces would also add more support to the post as well. Then I just added more fence boards to close it off.

Its been 4 years and the gate is working great. I have had no issues with it. Here is how it looks today.

finish gate

Yes the color has changed, and I will get into that later.

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