If your fence is ratty looking, or if the Oct. 1 earthquake and its aftershocks knocked down your brick or block wall, you might consider a new fence or fence/trellis/planter combination of redwood.
The California Redwood Assn. has made available an eight-page booklet showing various styles of fences, with planning, construction and finishing tips for the do-it-yourselfer. The cost is 50 cents and the address is California Redwood Assn., Dept. DB-87, 591 Redwood Highway, Suite 3100, Mill Valley, Calif. 94941.
The trellis-shaded fence that illustrates this column shows that fences are not just for rear and side yards. The fence and gate includes built-in planters and provides privacy for the brick-paved front-entry courtyard.
To keep costs down, all the wood shown is Construction Heart redwood, much more affordable than the Clear All Heart or Clear grades that are often specified by those who don't have to come up with the money to pay for the wood.
A fence should provide a feeling of seclusion and protection, while at the same time defining and shaping your outdoor living areas. This is especially important in today's small lots.
Whether you do the work yourself or have it done by a contractor, make sure that your design complies with all the building codes. In most areas, fence height and location are regulated, while in others, style and materials are also specified.
The booklet contains construction tips and advice on finishes, including a way to get that silver-gray weathered look while still providing protection for the wood.
MORE HARDWARE STORES: I have more "readers choice" hardware stores to list. Several people in the South Bay singled out Anza Hardware, 2441 190th St., Redondo Beach. James Clark of Torrance finds the store's plumbing department far above average: "When I experienced problems with American-Standard replacement hardware, they not only supplied me with the name and address of the supplier, but told me exactly who to address my letter to for quick action."
Nicola Nelson of Redondo Beach is another Anza fan: "I can't tell you how helpful John and his employees are to those of us who not only need pieces of things but who need explanations of how things work and what our options are for fixing them. And they are just as helpful to a female who feels a bit uncomfortable discussing leaking plumbing or an older guy who needs a 29-cent bolt as they are to an apartment building owner who wants to order several hundred dollars worth of parts."
She also patronizes United Hardware, 13245 Hawthorne Blvd, Hawthorne.
Carole Hayes of Glendale is succinct in her description of Sanwest Hardware, 6614 San Fernando Road, Glendale: "A Real Hardware Store . . . anything you need plus lots of personal help on projects."
Frank Liggett of Anaheim finds Yorba Linda Hardware, 4901 Main St., Yorba Linda, to his liking, especially its location on Main Street. Sounds like a man who isn't afraid to say Norman Rockwell is one of his favorite artists!
Jim Peters of Redondo Beach has been going to Triangle Hardware, 403 Pacific Coast Highway, Hermosa Beach, for more than 15 years and finds owner John Workman a very knowledgable hardware man.
Several Orange County residents mentioned Clark Dye Hardware, 210 S. Main St., Santa Ana. Bob Cooper of Newport Beach calls it "the Rolls Royce of hardware stores in Orange County".
Ed Brown of Westminster says it is "one of the best remaining old timers."
Cooper also nominated Crown Hardware, 1024 Irvine Ave., Newport Beach, part of an Orange County chain of stores, and Wright Hardware, 126 Rochester, Costa Mesa: "worth a visit."
The Pomona/Claremont area has two excellent stores, according to Robert Haage of Montclair: Conley Hardware, 4346 Mission Blvd., Pomona, and Powell's Hardware, 123 Yale Ave., Claremont. Conley is a large store, while Powell's is typical of a small-town hardware store, but Haage believes both are excellent choices for a person "who has had a lifetime involvement in do-it-yourself tinkering."
More in a future column.