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Resource Conservation: More on the Fence

May 11, 2018

Since rebuilding the back yard fence, weathering and the slogging decay of ten years has exposed some important mechanical issues that require a change in specifications for a strong durable wood fence.

Besides decay resistance the key components of a wood fence longevity are its structural parts, the posts and rails. For a wood fence the post needs to be the most durable part. My experience for years has been to economize and substitute concrete backfill for free draining rock, and count on the concrete ballast to support post shear strength. The concrete allows use of shallower burial; and an 8-foot post with 2-foot burial allows 6-foot fence post and also, fence height.

The economy of short post length and concrete is causing rotting of posts about 4-inches to six-inches below the surface of the concrete footing.

I was aware that concrete of standard strength caused wood to decay and posts to fail, and broke up several failed post footings to learn. However, felt a weak, crumbly concrete mix would permit complete drainage of moisture away from the wood. Apparently this practice is insufficient.

Public works departments–state and national, primarily–have subscribed to the fifty-percent rule, in which about  one-half of a fence’s exposure is buried at the post. And, clean gravel backfill (free draining) replaces the native soil excavation.

The standard practice in the Puget Sound region is to backfill posts using pea gravel … and, bury posts at fifty-percent of exposure.

Therefore, a 6-foot fence needs 3-feet of buried post, thus requiring a ten-foot post for the basic construction.


Some Site Cleanup

May 11, 2018

Removed links as most were dead.

I retired, but only my licenses

June 9, 2017

This spring, 2017, my Washington Landscape Architects license came up for renewal. Various others I had were retired over the past several years. It is costly, and uncomfortable legally, to keep a certification that has not been used for a year or two previously. So too, with WA #504, earned in 1989.

Landscape design is a lifelong avocation. I intend to post more tid-bits of knowledge, when I am inspired, or see when a “tip” can help other people working to improve the world we all participate in protecting. The landscape technically matures about the age when architecture presently feels its life term ending, planned obsolescence. That is hard to accept, and petunias (literally and figuratively) are a poor choice for landscapes.

Years ago when I was just learning to work for income after school and during weekends, I found employment with a ‘landscape architect’ who preceded the legal certification. Wheelock Wilson was a cranky old man of 83 and had plied his trade for 43 years when I slipped into an eyeful in 1966 at the energetic age of 15. For several months my mentor expounded on landscape in the Midwest, pointing out farms he planted in the 1920’s, elms he replaced for the original owners who lived down the block from me. Those owners sad to see an old friend leave had hired him to replace the lost tree. Mr. Wilson directed his crew to plant the new tree in the same location, because good design does not change.

I will continue working to see choices, and directives, that instill this pride of ownership for a lifetime.

Thanks for the great times of stomach acid, late and 72-hour all-niters. And, thanks to all who shared the great times with me. It was fun playing Real Monopoly; and being paid to do it, in real money.

Saying Goodbye Is Easy

February 1, 2016

My previous post of 2011 about Linked-In had been forgotten. After a couple more alienation moves, the “professional” account was finally closed in late 2015. When I opened the page to start the process those good folks still wanted access to my address book. Contrary to the Linked position, I felt no loss by cutting the cord.

Really? Yes, it is easy to say goodbye sometimes.

I’m Back

January 26, 2016

Life moves on and nearly a half decade absence from here is a wisp.  I wanted to add to this journal in the interim but some things slip out of gear and paths can develop various entanglements. A wish to comment on another blog finally was impetus to revive misplaced security codes to reactivate this site.