Garden Advice

How to Erect a Fence

Fences are a great addition to any house. They protect your property from the elements, provide privacy, and add to the overall look of your home exterior. Fences are also less costly to erect than walls, however, they do require some maintenance once in a while.

So, if you:

  • Want to install a privacy wood fence, but have never done anything like this before;
  • Do fencing repairs here and there and have now been asked to install one from the ground up;
  • Have moved into a new property that lacks fencing.

Then read along to learn how to erect a fence!

Table of Contents:

Before you begin

It’s essential to get some things out of the way before you begin installing your new fence. Do not forget any of these initial tasks, as failure to complete them might have consequences down the road.

  • Discuss it with the neighbours – confirm that you’re building a fence and they’re okay with you removing the old one. If the fence is on your side and is your responsibility, their opinion doesn’t matter that much. However, they should know that people might be stepping on their property in the project’s duration.
  • Ensure there are no electric cables or water pipes in the ground – You can either find the utility lines by yourself or hire underground utility mapping services. The second option is much more recommended.
  • Planning permission – usually, you wouldn’t need one. However, there are two exceptions:
    • If your fence, including trellis, is higher than 2 metres.
    • If your fence is higher than 1 metre and you live next to a highway that is used by vehicles or the pedestrian footpath.
  • Choose the right kind of fence – you have many types of fences nowadays such as wooden, steel, aluminium, or PVC. Each with its own set of pros and cons, as well as look. You’d also have to choose the right posts that go with your fence.
  • Obtain safety gear – a dust mask if you will be mixing concrete, goggles, gloves, and proper clothing to protect your skin.
  • Pick the right time – the best time of the year for erecting a fence is autumn or early spring. Then, the temperatures are just right and won’t get in the way of the process.

How to erect a fence

Now when you’ve taken care of the initial details, let’s start with the basis.

Prepare the ground

For a sturdy fence, you need to prepare the ground first.

  1. Remove the old fence – Old fences are relatively easy to get rid of. All you need is a claw hammer and a pair of tough gloves to protect your hands from splinters and nails. Mind you, the posts might give you some trouble if they’ve been cemented into the ground. You might have to hire a cement breaker to remove them.
  2. Remove plants – Carefully dig up any plants or shrubs so they don’t get in your way. You can replant them around your new fence later.
  3. Remove any rocks and even out the ground with a rake.

Mark out the fence

This phase of the fence building process is crucial.

  1. Mark – Go to one corner of your garden and mark a hole in the ground – this is where the first post will go.
  2. Dig – With the help of a post hole digger, dig holes with a deametre 3 times the width of the post. Try to make them as neat as possible. If you make them too large, you’d have to add concrete to make the post more stable. As far as depth goes, the standard is 45 cm, but on soft ground, you’ll have to go deeper. Dig as many holes as you have posts, and make sure they’re equally spaced from each other and in a straight line.

How to erect fence posts

  1. Put the first post into the first hole. Make sure the groove points to the direction where the rest of the fence will go.
  2. Level the post – If the post refuses to stand still, add some wood into the hole as a wedge.
  3. Set the post in place – Many professionals use fast-setting concrete for this purpose. With the post inside the hole, fill the hole with the concrete powder and water. As you do that, have your helper mix the products with a stick. Keep filling until the level of the concrete barely reaches the surface of the ground.
  4. Leave the post to dry – 10 to 20 minutes should be enough. Once done, repeat the entire process for the second post on the other side of your garden.
  5. Tie a string guide line – Take two string lines. Tie the first one to both posts at about 30 cm above ground level. The other string should go at the tops. That way, you will know how high to set the rest of the posts. Each new post between the two end posts should be just below the top line.
  6. Put the other posts between the two end posts using the same method and in accordance with the strings. Do not set them in concrete just yet.

How to erect fence panels

Now that the posts are all in their respective places and you’re absolutely sure they’re evenly spaced and of equal height, it’s time to finish the project.

  1. Set the rest of the middle posts – Again, use fast-setting concrete. Before the cement at the post base dries completely, form it as a little slope. That way, water won’t collect at the bases when it rains and drain into the soil instead.
  2. Use fencing clips for wooden fence posts (also called U brackets) – Screw these clips on each post. One at the top and one at the bottom. If you installed metal posts, simply screw the panels to them.
  3. Slide the panels into the fencing clips of your wooden posts – Use protective gloves against any potential splinters and don’t do it on a windy day.
  4. Raise the panels – About 30 to 50 centimetres from the ground so they don’t rot. Put bricks under each panel to keep it off the ground for now.
  5. Screw the panels into the post clips.
  6. Put post caps on – These are not mandatory, but they will protect your post tops a little bit longer and add to the overall look.

Need a professional?

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Hire professionals

Building a garden fence is not necessarily a hard task, but it does require experience and sometimes help. Many things can go wrong, which can result in wasted time, money, and nerves. If you don’t feel like you’re up to the task, don’t worry, hire professionals instead! Fantastic Services works with experienced and fully-equipped landscapers. They will perform your fence installation service to a T in a stress-free manner. All you need to do is pick the fence type.

Takeaways

  • Talk to your neighbours before starting.
  • Prepare the ground by removing debris, rocks, and uneven spots.
  • Use a string guideline tied between the two side posts.
  • Use fast-drying concrete to make posts more stable in the ground.

***

Do you need more information on how to erect a garden fence? What kind? let us know by leaving a comment below!

Image source: Shutterstock/Michal Bellan

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