Attention: New reports on the massive efforts underway at the Manic Maker compound, previously dubbed the "Fortress of Solitude."
The plans were initialed by the Mrs.'s, and ground was broken with new 4 x 4 framing installed between our neighbors' fence posts. The adjacent property owner has been very accommodating with our intent to build on the backside of their existing privacy fence.
In order to return the favor, I offered to straighten out some sags in their fence rails. With new timbers installed horizontally between the posts, it provided enough structure to anchor support braces. Using a scissor jack from my car, I was able to raise the middle of the fence rail until it reached the plumb line. This hack worked surprisingly well as the entire section of fence gently eased towards level, with all the boards moving in tandem. While still supported by the jack, I inserted a short piece of 2x stock and screwed the fence in place. Of course this is not as good as rebuilding the entire fence, but that would have been cost prohibitive.
It is also worth mentioning that I had studied the fence well before coming up with this fix. Aside from the minimal structure, the main culprit of the severe sagging was pressure treated lumber. I have learned the hard way that this material is only good for posts and ground contact. I do not recommend this material where strength is required.
The wood appears substantial enough for the task, but weather soon reveals significant weaknesses. On a piece of 2 x 4 pressure treated lumber, the hundreds of perforations in the surface reduce the integrity down to about a 1 x 3. I have witnessed 8' sections of 3-rail fencing drooping after a few short seasons. In other words, use quality lumber for your rails and avoid PT lumber if possible.
This first phase of our intensive, summer long projects is intended to further reinforce the privacy boundary with our closest neighboring property. The new landscape bed houses (3) large black pine which can grow at a rate of 12" - 18" a year. This will create a soft, permeable screen above the fence line. The new cedar cladding on our side has also created a cozier, more intimate yard enclosure.