Can anyone recommend a good temporary fence?
June 6, 2009 7:58 PM   Subscribe

We have a yard that's fenced in on three sides. How can I cheaply and easily close in the fourth side so that our small child is contained?

We recently bought a house and it has a nice yard. It has sturdy chain-link fence along the sides and the back, but the front is open. I'd like to close off the two sections between the fence and the side of the house so the entire backyard is enclosed - one section is about 10', the other a little over 7'.

My husband and I priced chain-link fence to finish the enclosure, but at $1200 installed it's a little steep for right now. I'm investigating the idea of doing it ourselves, but my husband isn't so sure it would work. The contractor mentioned that his neighbor uses a temporary fence that's a post and it has a fence inside it that retracts like a window shade. The guy can just pull it out and clip it to another post when it's needed. I've tried Googling but can't find it.

Does anyone know what kind of fence he was talking about, or could recommend something else to use?
posted by christinetheslp to Home & Garden (13 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
$1200 for 17' of chainlink? Get another estimate. Or am I still living in another century...

For what it's worth, DIY fencing is not hard. At all. Personally, I'd look at prefab sections of cedar picket. Five posts, 3 sections of picket, a little elbow grease, and you're done.
posted by bricoleur at 8:27 PM on June 6, 2009

I'm currently looking to cut down my front hedges and install fencing, so this is on my mind. My local Home Depot sells 8-foot lengths of white PVC faux-picket fencing for less than $100 per unit (I think it was $96). There are associated costs for the bracings and tools (you'll need a post hole digger), but you can have a safe, fairly inviting fence for under 400 bucks.

This assumes you can summon the nerve to install yourself, because it's so simple that all it takes is getting over the initial "I'm going to have to work with tools!" if that's something you and your spouse are not used to (but you may very well be).
posted by Mayor Curley at 9:03 PM on June 6, 2009

I did about 35 feet of wood fencing for $500 in materials (6' tall, shadowboxed with 1.5" overlap) It's not too tough as long as your lot is fairly level. The 8' panels of fencing at HD or Lowe's are only about $50, add in 4x4 posts and concrete and you're talking maybe $75 per 8 foot section tops.

DIY chain link isn't too tough either. Here's (pdf) a quick and dirty tutorial.
posted by electroboy at 9:47 PM on June 6, 2009

Yes, get another estimate. I'm pretty sure you could buy the materials for $50 or less at the hardware store. Chainlink is cheap. It's relatively easy to install, too, and worth trying yourself you if or your husband are at all motivated to try.
posted by zinfandel at 9:48 PM on June 6, 2009

You'll only need to drill a couple of post holes but because two of them are going to be right next to the house be sure to rent a digger like this (or better yet -this) this rather than the corkscrew style.
posted by bonobothegreat at 11:25 PM on June 6, 2009

Home Depot - $150
posted by caddis at 12:43 AM on June 7, 2009

Thanks for the encouragement, but my husband and I aren't up for doing our own fence right now. We could to it later, but with moving, doing other small repairs around the house, and taking care of our one-year-old our hands are full. I was really hoping for an easier, temporary solution until we figure out what to do with the fence long-term. Any ideas?
posted by christinetheslp at 5:43 AM on June 7, 2009

With a new house and a 1 year old you will never "have time" to do the fence yourself. Welcome to parenthood :)

A handyman would probably do the job a lot cheaper than a professional fence company that is used to doing larger jobs. Ask your new neighbors for recommendations.
posted by COD at 6:04 AM on June 7, 2009

Buy two empty wooden wine barrels and put one on each end of the empty space. Buy fencing that comes in roles at the hardware store. Not chicken wire. The stronger fencing (we use around here to keep deer out of gardens). Attach the fencing to the barrels with either screws or strong twine.
posted by cda at 6:07 AM on June 7, 2009

My neighbor has a thing that goes across her driveway to keep her toddler daughter contained. It's definitely a thing you set up yourself .. there's a white post that contains bright orange plastic netting that you pull out and clip to a post on the other side of the driveway. When you're done it retracts back into the post. I was thinking she got it at One Step Ahead but I don't see it there. It's raining now but I'll walk over in a little bit, check it out and report back.
posted by Kangaroo at 6:07 AM on June 7, 2009

What about a series of large planters? You'd have to space them close enough so the little one couldn't squeeze through.

Silt fencing might work as a deterrent, but it wouldn't prevent a determined (or clumsy) toddler from knocking it over. And it sure doesn't look pretty, but you didn't mention your temporary solution also had to look nice. :-)
posted by SuperSquirrel at 6:17 AM on June 7, 2009

OK .. this Kidcatcher thing is similar to what my neighbor has. The website is a little alarmist but you get the idea. ToysRUS also sells one that stretches 30 feet and it's cheaper than the first one. Maybe something like this would work for you? Hope this helps.
posted by Kangaroo at 6:47 AM on June 7, 2009

At Home Depot you can buy metal fence posts (green v-shaped metal with small notches) very inexpensively. They are simply pounded into the ground with a hand held size sledge (wear safety glasses anytime using the sledge). This is rather a fun activity if you are only putting a few in. Put them in after it rains or after you have watered and each one should take no more than five minutes to install. Then you stretch plastic fencing across the posts and tie it down with some garden twist ties. You don't need anything fancier than a pair of scissors to cut the fencing to length. Install the posts every four feet or so. You will need seven of them and the total installation shouldn't take more than about an hour. Total cost including the fencing, posts, sledge, safety glasses and garden ties should be under $100. You can always install a fancier fence later when cash and/or time is more abundant, but the green posts and green plastic fence while not attractive in itself pretty much disappears if there are even minimal shrubs etc. around it. For more privacy you can essentially do the same thing with bamboo fencing, and it is only slightly more money.
posted by caddis at 7:10 AM on June 7, 2009

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