Back last year, when we were sitting in Florida, looking at houses in Maine online, we discovered a real beauty. The beauty we found online happens to be the one we currently live in. I can thank Laura for that. She did all the research and hunting throughout the web. She had her criteria and I had mine. Hers revolved around gardening and swimming and mine around moving myself as far away from mankind as I could. We settled somewhere in the middle and scooped up her favorite listing – a listing that just happened to have a pool in the back yard. A pool that didn’t have a fence around it.
Oh the drama. About eight months ago, I can remember laying in bed for hours, tossing and turning, having semi-conscious nightmares of us signing all the paperwork for our new house in Maine. We’d drive up from Florida to move in, and somewhere between when we left Florida and arrived in Maine, a moose would fall into the pool and not be able to get out. It would drown. We would arrive at our new home and the first project we’d have to tackle is to think of a way to get a dead moose out of our pool. Remember, this was just a nightmare, but one that kept me up that night. I swear, it was horrible. I remember asking myself, “Why couldn’t the people who owned the house just have a fence around the pool?” It really would have made my life so much better. I may have turned to the drink for a few days after. I’m not sure whether I was so upset at the thought of having to pull the moose out of the pool or that the moose lost his life.
I had every intention of putting up my own fence, but you know how things get. We had our minds on other things, we were out looking around the town, hiking in the woods – to make a long story short, I never did make it outside to put the fence up. Things were freezing and I wasn’t all too worried. We had the cover on the pool and hadn’t seen any moose nearby. We hadn’t seen any wildlife for that matter. The chances of a moose falling in our pool were slim to none.
But then the homeowner’s insurance inspector showed up. They took us by surprise. They came by, looked around, left a small note on the door telling us they were here and about a month later, we got a insurance cancellation letter in the mail, followed by a refund check. The insurance company cancelled our insurance because there was no fence around the pool. I can’t really blame them either. I would have done the same thing. You really can’t have a situation like that.
The day the inspection people came, and after I saw the note, I ran out to Campbell’s Agway in Skowhegan, Maine to buy a bunch of green metal posts and some wire fencing. I quickly put up a temporary fence around the entire pool. This was before the cancellation letter. Once the letter came, I called the insurance agent and explained what I had done. We got the policy reinstated with the promise I would make things square come Spring. And that’s what I’ve been working on – putting up a fence around the pool.
Maine has a few rules when it comes to pool fences. Basically, the fence needs to be at least four feet high. There can be no openings larger than four inches and the gate must be secured. When designing the fence I’m installing, I upped the ante and went a few steps further. I added a self closing and self latching gate. Those two features are really for me, but
I think they’re better in the long run. Who wants to keep closing a gate that swings open and who wants to remember to latch the door? Not this guy.
I started installing the fence a few days ago. It took me about three hours, total, to get this far. I have two sections done and took pictures of what I’ve accomplished. I’ll show them below. What I was really attempting to complete was the gate. I was sick and tired of walking through the house and out the front door every time I wanted to get in the back yard. My temporary fence was solid. There was no door. I needed to fix that, pronto.
I think I’m doing a good job. The posts are really solid, as I dug the holes almost four feet deep. I’m trying to avoid having them pop out of the ground due to frost heave. I don’t think these are going anywhere. Also, the railings and door are as level as they’re ever going to get. I must have pulled that level out ninety five times. And by attaching the railing to the side of the house, I made sure the post holding the gate would never lean. If there’s one thing I can’t stand, it’s a leaning fence gate.
Take a look at the pictures and let me know what you think. I’ll most likely write an updated post once things are near completion, but I’d like to get some opinions now. Thanks.
***** UPDATE *****
I want to post a quick update to my little fence project. I think it’ll be fun to look back upon my progress with putting this together. I do it all the time – sit here and remember all the work that goes into what we do.
Okay, the fence is coming along nicely. The gate is finished, and very sturdy I might add. I was kind of worried about that one. With patience and a touch of skill though, it’s turned into the best gate I’ve ever built. I really don’t think it’s going anywhere. The rest of the fence is good. While the posts aren’t exactly lined up (just a few inches off, but bothers me), they certainly are level. I’m not sure why I’m taking all this time to make things level. It’s only a fence. Still, I feel that if I’m going to do this, at least make the whole thing level. That part isn’t all too difficult.
There are three sides to this project. I’m using the house as the fourth side. One side is now completed. I have the back side, which I’ll finish up in a day or two and then the final long side. With that one, I’m going to make a large, ten foot, gate towards the house, just in case we need to move something huge. You really never know with these things and avoiding the possibility of having to remove some posts will make my life enormously better.
I’ll post my latest pictures below. Enjoy!
***** UPDATE *****
Just a few minutes ago, I finished the pool fence. The only thing left I have to do is to trim four posts. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to dig those post holes the full 3 1/2 feet I dug all the others. While digging those four, I hit what looked like concrete chunks. I’m thinking those chunks were in the fill when the pool was installed. Either way, those four post holes are at least 2 1/2 feet deep, which is far better than most fences out there. Mind you, anything over three feet is really deep. Especially when installing a fence.
The section I finished up this morning was the second gate. I built the gate last night and wasn’t sure whether I was going to put it on hinges or somehow attach it with bolts to be removed as needed. You know, if something large needs to fit through. Ultimately, I decided to hang that section of fencing as a gate. I was able to find two hinges in one of my mystery boxes of bolts and odds and ends. I made sure to shore up the gate as best as possible, with very long screws and three bolts directly into the siding of the house. It ain’t going anywhere. And all my measuring and leveling paid off. It’s nearly perfect.
Basically, all we have to do right now is to trim those four posts, clean up and perhaps stain the fence in the future. I’d say it’s a job well done.