How to Choose a Stain Color for a Fence: Pick a Fence Stain Shade You Won’t Regret

how to choose a stain color for a fence

The right stain can make a huge difference in how well your fence or pergola fits with the look of your home and yard.

I’ve always been pretty good at building things, but choosing decorative elements has never been my strong point. So, I found myself facing a challenge as I set out to choose the right stain color for my new fence. It was a high-stakes decision because stain is not like paint, which sits on the wood’s surface. Stain literally soaks into the wood, staining it. You basically have only one shot because the alternative—layering stain colors—can result in a muddy mess. So if you don’t like the color you’ve chosen, you’re more or less stuck with it until sun and time fade the color, allowing you to re-stain it a different shade. But that can take years, particularly if you’re using a high-quality stain product that’s designed to resist fading!

Acknowledging that aesthetic choices are far outside my comfort zone, I struggled to pick out the right stain color for my new fence and matching pergola. So I endeavored to learn all I could about how to choose a stain color for a fence. I’ve compiled some of the most useful tips to help other DIYers who are facing a similar decision.

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Clever Pergola Ideas for Shade: The Best Options to Create a Shady Refuge from the Sun

pergola ideas for shade

If your pergola is in a sunny area, adding a covering or something to provide shade can make it more pleasant.

There is such a thing as too much of a good thing. That’s something I learned when I realized I’d put my pergola in the sunniest part of my yard. Those high noon rays left it near abandoned during the middle of the day, so I decided to look into options like covering it or adding an awning. That’s part of what I love about pergolas: their flexibility.

Pergolas are a great option for a do-it-yourself shady spot because they provide cover, but you control how much. You can break up the sunlight with real or faux vines and plants. Or you can block it out entirely with fabric coverings. Either way, you can make your outdoor space usable again even on hot sunny days. There are a lot of clever pergola ideas for shade that will look great and last a long time, provided you use the right materials.

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Find the Right Fence Replacement Parts: Identifying Your Fence and Gate Hardware

gate and fence hardware

Hardware used on fences and gates can be confusing, making it hard to find
the right replacement–but you just have to know a few tips.

Our family recently moved into our new home, a lovely Victorian that most would classify as a “fixer-upper.” As a DIY weekend warrior, I classify it as a dream come true, as it’s given me lots of wonderful home improvement projects to delve into on nights and weekends. But the big obstacle for me is finding the right replacement parts and hardware items. What’s more, I have the added challenge of trying to find parts that match the style of my home.

I felt especially out of my element when I went outdoors to fix up the fence and gate because this hardware is unlike most other hardware that you’ll find inside your house. I’m the first to admit that I’m not the king of hardware identification, and with a fence or gate, there are so many brackets, bolts, wood ties and other parts that I’ve never worked with before.

After some research and a few hardware store employee interrogations, I’ve developed some useful tips to help others who are taking on this type of project and need help identifying the parts they need for their DIY project.

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The Best Pergola Decorating Ideas: Vines, Fabric, and Decorative Hardware Spruce Up a Bare Pergola

Best Pergola Decorating IdeasDecorative, powder-coated hardware can take your pergola to the next level, making it look more finished and elegant.

I spent a couple weekends constructing my new pergola. I was really happy with the finished result, but when my wife emerged from the house to check out my creation, she said: “It’s nice….but it’s too bare. It needs some decoration!”

At first, I was a bit insulted. After all, I’d spent the better part of two weekends working on this project; how could it be anything but fabulous? But if I’m honest with myself, my wife’s words echoed a thought that had already crossed my mind a couple times. So we were tasked with coming up with some pergola decorating ideas. It actually turned into a rather fun project and as I looked at photos on my tablet, I found some great inspiration for new backyard DIY projects.

You have lots of pergola decor options to choose from, depending upon your own personal style and preferences. You’ll also want to be sure you consider the look of your home and any nearby structures to ensure a cohesive feel. Consider these pergola decorating ideas to bring your new structure to life.
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Pergola vs Gazebo: Building a DIY Pergola or Gazebo in Your Yard for Entertaining

pergola vs gazebo

Both pergolas and gazebos make great areas for entertaining and relaxing, although DIYers should know that pergolas are a simpler project.

It took a bit of searching, but you finally found the perfect house. There’s just one problem: the yard isn’t exactly inviting and you love to entertain! A fabulous backyard is an absolute must-have for your new home, but you have to work with what you have. To spruce it up, you’ve narrowed it down to just two possibilities: pergola vs. gazebo. But choosing isn’t easy and the right choice will vary depending upon your individual preferences.

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How to Easily Install a Fence Post Near or Next to Your House With a Post Hole Digger Tool

easily install a fence post next to your house

A post anchor provides an easy way to install fence posts without leaving piles of dirt or requiring a lot of space.

You finally gave in and brought home that puppy your kids have been talking about for months—but now that little ball of fur needs room to run…outside of the house. That backyard fence you’ve been meaning to install is suddenly a priority this summer. The great news is that it’s a fairly straightforward process even for a beginner weekend DIYer, with one exception: that tricky spot where the fence meets the house.

Whether you’re installing a backyard fence to contain a new puppy or adding an ornamental fence and gate to spruce up your front yard, you’ll need to use some caution and common sense when deciding how to install a fence post near or next to your house without causing any damage to your home or underground utility lines and pipes. And, you should know what’s out there to help DIYers like yourself, specifically a handy product called a post hole digger tool. So are you ready for the 411 on installing fence posts? Let’s dig in.
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How to Build a Raised Wooden Planter Box: Easy DIY Flower Bed Ideas

how to build a raised wooden planter box

A raised wooden planter box keeps your deck dry and your plants happy, and it isn’t hard to build.

Delving into a new DIY project can be exciting, but if you lack experience, you may be left wondering just where to begin. The key to a smooth and successful backyard DIY project is understanding what materials you’ll need to gather before you can tackle the project. It also helps to explore all your options: There are few things worse than finishing a project only to see a photo on Pinterest that leaves you saying, “I wish I’d thought of that!”

If your deck is looking a bit stark and “under-dressed” this summer, these easy DIY flower bed ideas can add pops of color and character to your outdoor living space, enhancing the aesthetics of your backyard retreat. Placing a planter box directly onto your wooden decking, though, can discolor it due to uneven sun exposure or, even worse, water can get trapped between the box and the surface of the deck, resulting in mold, rotting, and degradation. Explore how to build a raised, wooden planter box to add the bright, natural beauty of colorful flower beds, without risking any damage to your deck.
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Choosing Decorative Metal Brackets for Wood Beams: Weather Resistant Pergola Hardware Ideas

decorative metal brackets for wood beams

Decorative metal brackets can take your pergola from plain to stylish.

The pergola is the crowning feature of many backyard gardens. It gives your yard presence and a naturally beautiful area to relax and socialize in. On a summer day, it may even be your favorite thing about your home.

Recently, while at a regular client’s house doing some deck work, I noticed that the connectors and ties on his pergola were stainless steel. The hardware looked unsightly, standing out like a sore thumb compared to his wood deck accented in black iron. He had been worried about using weak decorative ties on his pergola and didn’t want to use hardware that would look nice for a season or two, but then need replacing once the bad weather rolled around. I gave him a pat on the back before mentioning, “You really ought to give me a call before a big project like this, buddy. It’s what I’m here for.”

See, there are indeed decorative black iron connectors and ties that are strong, durable, weather-resistant—and would have tied in perfectly with his deck, no pun intended. In fact, there’s a wide selection of decorative hardware that you can use to build a beautiful pergola designed to stand up to the elements, year round. You just have to know what you’re looking for when you go searching for decorative metal brackets for wood beams to compliment your favorite outdoor space, your pergola.
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DIY Outdoor Privacy Screen Ideas: Functional Deck Decorations to Cozy up Your Backyard Living Space

DIY Outdoor Privacy Screen Ideas

Privacy screens can shade your backyard from sun and prying eyes and take your outdoor living area to a whole new level.

Decks are an extension of our homes’ living spaces—a spot to dine, to read, or to sit back and soak in the sun. But, while they may feel like an outdoor living room, they often lack the privacy offered by the overstuffed sofa in our family room.

Last summer, after staining and sealing a raised deck for a client, she mentioned that as excited as she was to decorate her new outdoor living space, she wasn’t thrilled about the view into her neighbor’s unkempt backyard. I told her I had a solution that would turn her exposed deck into a haven of privacy and then proceeded to introduce her to the wide world of privacy screens.

DIY outdoor privacy screen ideas are limited only by your imagination. Not only do they make your deck more private, they can also cut down on wind and offer some shade—all ways to improve the coziness of your home’s outdoor room. Installing a privacy screen, like lattice work, decorative panels, or a freestanding fence, is also a DIYer’s dream—relatively easy, fast, and low cost with a big payoff. And trailing vines, or the addition of potted plants, can easily add a natural element as well. You could run to the home improvement store this Saturday morning and be done early enough to show off your handiwork to friends at an afternoon BBQ—a private, invite-only deck party (no nosey neighbors allowed).
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How to Easily Install a Fence Post Without Cement Using Wood Post Anchors, Gravel, or a Hydraulic Driver

how to install a fence post without cement

Wood post anchors are some of the easiest ways to install a fence post, and offer other benefits, like protection from water and weed eaters.

Last week I met up with a nice couple who were looking to have a fence installed. Their home was part of a new subdivision just outside of town that boasted beautiful houses with immaculate yards. Their main request was that I didn’t use cement plugs for the posts because they wanted to be able to easily remove the fence if they decided to go with a different style in the future. Thankfully, there are a lot of ways to install a fence post without cement.

I often get requests to forgo using cement to install fence posts; it’s messy, there’s a lot of labor involved with the removal of cement plugs, and some people believe that it accelerates post rot. Whatever the reason you want to avoid it, it’s always good to know what the alternatives are when cement is not an option. Your method of choice for installing fence posts will depend on the terrain and the type of soil in your yard, but there are a variety of ways to go about it. We’re going to take a look at some of the methods I’ve had the best success with.
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