Build a Fence Like a Pro – Follow These Tips
You’ve just finished moving in to the new property it’s taken you ordeal after ordeal to close on. Getting all your possessions packed, moved, stored an unpacked was a trial in itself, and you’re glad to finally have some time to sit back and rest in your new digs, but for the fact that buyer’s remorse is starting to kick in. You’re beginning to notice little improvements you’d love to make, but putting a fence in is a huge task. When you’re setting up a new perimeter around that dream home, remember to consider a few of the following basic do’s and don’t s for total success with less stress.
Most fences are constructed on the same pattern, regardless whether they are made from wood posts and timber beams, chain-link mesh on steel tubing or vinyl panels mounted on covered wood. Essentially, vertical posts sit in the ground, supporting the weight of the horizontal elements that make up the fence in between. If the posts are set and leveled correctly, the fence will look perfect and serve as a good barrier for privacy and security.
Plan your new fence with a mock up. You’ll need to make sure you clearly define the area you want to enclose so take a walk around your property. Have your local utility services come and mark every power, sewer or gas line buried, because you definitely don’t want to make a hole in any of these. Trees and large shrubs have extensive root systems that may preclude digging in certain spots, so be flexible in your planning.
Since you’ll want your fence to look nice, you’ll have to start by ensuring your fence posts are spaced apart at a regular distance, usually 6-8 feet. Fence posts can be closer together when you come to spaces where gates need to be erected, or when you reach the end of a fence, but for strength, it’s better not to stretch the distances between posts in an irregular fashion.
Most professionals simulate the posts with thin, straight, pointed wooden 1×2′s they can simply jam a few inches down into the soil without even needing to dig. Once you’ve erected this model, you can tie twine around the tops, connecting one 1×2 to another. If you’re careful to make your knots at the same place on each, ensuring that you don’t pull the rods from a perfect upright position, you’ll soon be looking at a line that should mirror the slope of your yard, giving you a good idea of how your fence sections will slant to match the terrain.
Excavating and Building
The first step in actually building that fence you’ve planned out is to dig holes for the vertical posts between the sections. This is where the vertical 1×2 markers you put in come in handy, because each one marks the spot for a hole.
Digging holes is one of the most labor intensive parts of building the fence. Each hole should be about 18-24″ deep, so that the vertical wood timber or steel post can rest inside securely without wiggling once it has been concreted in place. Shovels are generally not used to dig by hand, as their blades are often too wide, instead use a post-hole digger, a special tool that looks like two shovels joined by a hinge assembly. Post-hole diggers allow you to dig down and scoop out in a small space. For even quicker holes though, go with the automaic auger machine, a giant bladed screw that rapidly digs 8-12″ diameter holes, powered by a gasoline engine. Be careful not to force your tools. If you hit a tough spot, stop inspect thoroughly, because rocks or unmarked lines can cause serious injuries.
Once you’ve dug all your holes, you can set the posts with cement. Once the posts are firm, install your sections between, kick back, and enjoy!