Exterior & Garden The Victorian House

Our New Cedar Fence

We have a new fence! In December, which is kind of weird. We had been trying to get this scheduled since the summer, and it only now happened. But at least it happened! No more temporary plastic mesh fencing to keep the dogs out of the garden area. No more fence panels that blow over with a strong wind.

New Cedar Fencing

Ah, look at all that fresh orange cedar with the dormant plants. Beautiful.

The fence needs to be toned down, obviously. Hydrangeas, boxwoods, and whatever else to come too. But look at how pleased I am to have a securely fenced in yard.

Our New Cedar Fence | Making it Lovely
(Hi! My pink coat is a few years old, but the faux fur wrap is new and fun, as are the suede heels.)

I had mentioned my idea about creating different areas with fencing when I was working on the backyard last spring. More recently, I shared these renderings on Instagram. I don’t own a drone and have no interest in climbing a tree for an aerial shot, so these give a good overview of our plot and garden layout.

Backyard Cedar Fencing

Revised Fence with Dog Run

The sandbox is now oddly enclosed in the dog run, so that should probably be moved. It’s great though to be able to let the dogs out into just the dog run from the back door, or choose to let them explore the larger part of the yard while we’re out there with them.

The arch and trellis create a nice separation without blocking the view or chopping the yard up in a way that makes it feel smaller, but I think I’m most excited about the circle gate toward the front of the house. We hired Suburban Fence and the guy I talked to said that what I was asking for isn’t something they have ever offered, adding that he’d only “seen in on Pinterest.” Busted, I guess, but they made my circle gate happen!

Circle Garden Gate with Lattic-Top Cedar Fence and Arbor

Those of you that have either stained or painted a wooden fence, would you share your experiences? Does it hold up? Does it need to be maintained every year? I had a recommendation for Cabot Bleaching Oil (which seems to have been discontinued with only the stain available now) and have seen some discussions about bleaching oil vs. weathering stain, or a mix of the two (?). More research is needed in this area, and I would love your input.

After the wood is painted/stained and new plants have gone in, it might look look something like this? Eventually!

Backyard New Fence and Plants Mockup

Sources & Paint ColorsNeed design help? Let's work together.

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  • Alline
    December 17, 2018 at 2:26 pm

    I love your new fence, especially the door!

  • Cynthia
    December 17, 2018 at 3:15 pm

    It looks lovely and spring will be the best ever with your new fence fading into the background. We have painted and let wood naturalize in our fence adventures. Painting requires regular maintenance…minimally, an annual wash with 30 second outdoor cleaner and a hose and if you chase perfection, repainting every few years. We much prefer naturalization and your climate will achieve that in less than a year. No need for any extra effort on your part. Enjoy the holidays with your family and pups! Thank you for all the inspiring content and beauty!

  • Ryan
    December 17, 2018 at 3:35 pm

    I’ve never painted, stained or oiled a cedar fence. The wood will weather to a nice grey and my parents’ fence still looks fine 30+ years after installation (only posts have needed to be replaced). An oil or stain might be nice if you want to renew it every 2-5 years but I prefer the no maintenance plain wood. It will take about 3 years for the wood to weather naturally, it looks like the bleaching stain will accelerate that.

  • Kelly
    December 17, 2018 at 11:55 pm

    We used a solid stain on our fence two years ago, and it looks just as good when it was done. I’m in Denver, so we don’t get much rain. But we do have crazy amounts of sun. Haven’t noticed any bleaching, etc.

  • amy mason
    December 18, 2018 at 10:23 am

    We used cabot bleaching oil on our entire house, garage, and deck railings and it looks great. I stained the deck railings in place, my mom dipped each shingle on the garage before they were put up, and we bought the house shingles with the product already on it. Because it’s supposed to just make the wood grey quicker I don’t think there is a need to reapply anything, and it all still looks great years later. I do see that they don’t carry it anymore though. Looks like the bleaching stain is what you would use now? Anyway, we loved the oil and I imagine the stain is the replacement. Feel free to email me and I can show you some photos of what the deck and house look like.

  • Diane
    December 18, 2018 at 10:25 am

    We just put in a huge cedar fence in July. I live outside of Chicago. It’s already toning down nicely and we plan to let it weather to gray. I just can’t handle maintenance on the fence (it’s a half acre lot) and we probably would have picked a grey stain anyway!

  • Jeannine
    December 18, 2018 at 10:35 am

    My experience with a stained fence hasn’t been good. We moved into our current house that had a lovely new fence that had unfortunately been stained. It required maintenance every other year in order to keep the intended look. The upkeep on it wouldn’t be worth it even if we liked that look, we have 300′ of 7′ high fence and that’s a bigger job than it would seem when you consider all the landscaping against the fence, it was a huge hassle. I also don’t like the idea of spraying a stain near where our kids and animals play and our vegetable garden. The stain can be brushed on but that job is even worse. The parts of the fence without the stain have aged to a lovely color and we would have preferred the entire fence to look like that. We live in California where our coldest nights can dip into the high 30’s a few times but overall, our weather is very mild. A couple of years ago we decided to stop maintaining it and see what happens. It’s UGLY with a spotted appearance. We spent this year second guessing our decision to stop maintaining it and finally decided that come spring we’re replacing all the fence boards and starting fresh. I know new fences look bad initially but I think the wait for them to weather naturally is well worth it.

  • Joanna
    December 18, 2018 at 1:56 pm

    I have a cedar fence and it softened significantly in one year and two years in is a lovely even silvery grey despite significantly different sun/wind conditions in different parts of the fenced area.

  • infinitequery
    December 18, 2018 at 2:17 pm

    We have had nothing but bad luck with stains that were highly recommended so do due diligence and don’t believe the reviews because that is what I used to decide on 1000 ft of 7 ft high fence(Rottweiler) and a thousand ft of deck around 3 sides of rancher. First attempt cape cod grey peeled,cracked etc and waited for 2 years to have power washed-then $500.00 for second try. Same result-now waiting till spring to try something else don’t have a clue what. Anything but orange! Fence was better with just fading from mahogany to brown. If I had wanted brown I could have save money. Very frustrating.

  • Ann
    December 18, 2018 at 7:17 pm

    We installed a cedar fence two summers ago and it has started to weather nicely. It will probably be another two years until it’s a mellow silver but it’s definitely not orange any longer. We replaced an existing cedar fence that was installed in the mid-90’s and was a beautifully aged silver grey with some lichen, etc growing on it. Sadly it had be replaced when our neighbors tree fell on it. I would strongly suggest you do not paint or stain it as that requires regular maintenance and the natural silver, once its achieved, is beautiful and requires no maintenance.

  • Sandra
    December 18, 2018 at 8:24 pm

    We’re in Michigan, and even the Cabot stain cant stand up to the driving snow. I would put a box of donuts on your cedar being well on its way to silver by the time you can stain it in the spring anyway. Take it off your list and let mother nature do her thing.

  • Sandra
    December 19, 2018 at 8:01 pm

    We have a huge cedar deck that we stained and have to restain it every 3 years to maintain it. It is worth it, but I would never stain a fence. It would be a never ending job. Your fence is beautiful and it will weather nicely faster than you think.

  • Connie Schutrick
    December 20, 2018 at 9:47 am

    Perhaps this will give you some insight–from another blogger. https://www.mariakillam.com/dos-donts-fence-colour/

  • Peggi
    December 26, 2018 at 7:42 am

    Ack. I painstakingly brushed our fence with a semi-transparent stain that was supposed to last 5-7 years. Don’t believe it!!! I have already decided our next fence will be metal…or stone. In addition to the every year or so touch up required on the stain, errant sprinklers (the neighbors and ours) have rotted both cedar and non-cedar parts of our fence. Colossal pain. Yours sure is beautiful, though!!

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