For a temporary pool, a temporary fence seemed ideal. There are a number of them on the market but only one seemed to have a solution for when the fence would run over grass, Pool Fence DIY. Granted, the grass solution isn’t nearly as good as a concrete solution. But when you consider the purpose of a pool fence is to protect small children from getting in a pool when they shouldn’t and that the fence is basically making an “attractive nuisance” unattractive, a temporary fence over grass will work fine for me. So I spec’ed it out using the Pool Fence DIY estimator and ordered it up. Here are my thoughts after it is now installed.
The delivery came in 5 boxes. 4 of them arrived together with one late. Super weird since they shipped at the same time. Just a UPS goof, it seems. No big deal since they arrived during rainy days and I wasn’t planning to put the fence up until things dried out.
The boxes themselves arrived damaged. The 2 larger gate boxes were mostly unscathed apparently made of a sturdier brown cardboard. But the 3 white boxes that had the fences in them were made of a flimsy white cardboard that did not hold up well at all. 2 of the boxes were full of inner boxes of fences so they held up okay with only superficial damage. But the third box arrived with a big hole and that was particularly bad because it contained small loose items that could fit through it. And indeed, I was missing 3 parts as it turned out. Fortunately, they were extras that I had ordered in case I damaged stuff during install and I ended up not needing them.
None of the boxes had a “start here” sticker or anything, so I figured I would start with the gate. And that appeared to be the right way to go because the gate instructions seemed to imply that the gate was a starting point. And since I had a specific place where I wanted the first gate to go, that made sense.
Actually, there were two sets of instructions included in the gate box. They were in separate places but after inspection I was able to figure out that the colored nicer printed version was for an older revision of the gate and the newer revision instructions were the plain white photocopied paper with a few more detailed steps.
It’s also confusing because the gate kit includes a closing mechanism that comes with its own instructions that aren’t entirely complementary. I think the newer revision of the instructions is partially intended to address that. So in the end, the best advice is to throw out the two smaller sets of instructions that come with the gate latch mechanism and throw out the glossier older revision of the instructions and just go with the photocopied version.
But even there things are not great. The new revision still has tons of flaws. It took me hours to sort through it all and figure out the right way to do it. The second gate I did took me about 20 minutes to do. So to save anybody else the same hassle I had, here’s my “edited” version of the gate assembly instructions preceded by a few highlights of the edits.
- Do the gate assembly before you start the gate layout so you can go right from laying out and drilling to putting the pieces in place.
- The gate kit has instructions to install more screws than they give you (I got 11, the kit says it comes with 11, but it has places where 12 screws are installed).
- Gates are installed with the mesh panel on the outside of the pool and the hinges are on the outside of the pool so the gate always swings out from the pool.
- The striker bracket goes on top of the molding of the gate but you need to remove a molding screw so it will fit.
- The newer revision omits the pictures of adjusting the tension in the gate and just tosses in a minor reference to a part called a hinge slip
For me with a lawn install, I didn’t need a drill guide and not doing the drilling saved a lot of hassle. But I got extra hassle because my yard is effectively a rock pile with a green veneer on top. So places that had not been previously dug up needed to be now to clear out all of the rocks, then I needed to put the dirt back in place with additional dirt to make up for the rocks removed, then I could drive the stakes in. The lawn stakes are a pretty clever design with a super sharp pointy tip on the end. And in the cases where I was driving in the stake to an area that had been previously dug up (like within a certain space from a tree that was planted) the stake just scooted right into the ground. However, in neither case does the resulting stake end up as secure as I’d like – the soft ground allows too much wiggle room and the dug up and replaced ground isn’t compact enough yet. Oh well, that’s my yard’s fault and that’s what I expected.
The rest of the fence layout went pretty well. The color instructions for the fence section installation were pretty good overall. I might have made a few edits to that too but definitely no need to hack it up like I did the gate install instructions. And when I got to the second gate, knowing the way through the installation made that one go way faster.
The instructions for cutting the last fence piece to size worked well and it seems like a good result – it looks like the fence came in that size. And the overall look of the fence is very nice. If it was going in concrete, I’m sure I’d have been able to make it even more taught and look even more professional.
One thing I’d suggest the Pool Fence DIY people change is the way the pieces attach to each other. They use an eye and latch system on the outside of the fence which relies on the spacing being perfect and the hole angles being correct. But if they had a system that used a turnbuckle that would allow for adjusting spacing, that would enable tweaks around the perimeter which would clean up any inaccuracies. It would also mean fewer drilled holes needed to be done by the installer – since they recommend that you drill to match the spacing needed at the gates. And less drilling in place means less aluminum shavings that you have to worry about cleaning up around where people are likely to be walking barefoot.
I don’t want to post pictures publicly of the finished product because it includes pictures of my yard. And because I really wouldn’t encourage people to try it on a lawn exclusively like I did. But it does look nice in the end and it is exactly the kind of temporary fence I needed.