A sturdy, well-made fence can make a huge difference in a garden or yard. Not only can it provide the privacy that’s so important to homeowners, but it can also become an integral feature of the property in its own right. Choosing a wood that complements existing timber garden furniture will help homeowners create a beautiful outdoor living space. The nuts and bolts of building a fence are actually fairly simple, but buying the right materials for the job and following careful instructions are the keys to success.
Determine Property Boundaries
It is important for any homeowner to clarify the legal boundaries of their property before starting to build a fence. Speaking to the local council, assessing the property’s title deeds, or liaising with neighbours can help clarify the legal boundaries in advance. The location of the main fence posts can then be marked with white boundary pegs, which should be 50mm inside the property’s grounds.
Set Fence Posts
For the best results and a longer-lasting fence, it’s usually best to set posts into the ground using concrete. Fence posts should be at least 600mm longer than the fence panels they hold in place. It is possible to use metal supports, but these tend to buckle under the pressure of the elements over a long period of time.
It’s a good idea to connect each white boundary marker with string, as this provides guidance when digging the holes for the initial two posts. Decide where the fence will start and end, and dig holes of at least 60 cm in depth at these locations. The holes should then be cleared of debris and half-filled with a specially formulated concrete for fence posts. Both the starting and ending posts should be put in place first, as they will be used as sighting posts for the rest of the work. After each post has been put into position, fill the rest of the hole with the excavated earth.
Instead of using the string attached to the boundary markers, it should now be possible to tie string from the first to the last fence post. The string should then be used to carefully position each subsequent post. The more posts that are fixed into place, the stronger the resulting fence will be. However, there should never be more than two metres between each post.
If a gate is to be attached to the post, the hole should be dug 100mm deeper, and an additional 100m should be dug if the location suffers from high winds.
Fix Fence Rails
There should be one fence rail for every two posts. The best way to create a strong fence is to attach rails using rail brackets and galvanised nails. There are some excellent exterior wood screws on the market that are made specifically for this purpose. It’s always best to use at least two nails to attach railings to posts. If the design of the chosen rail brackets allows it, each nail should be hammered into the posts at an angle so that they dovetail one another.
Attach Fence Panels
Once the posts and rails are firmly in place, it’s time to start attaching the fence panels. This is a relatively straightforward job that involves nailing or screwing each panel into the railings. However, it’s important to leave at least 2mm between each panel, as the wood will need space to expand when it gets wet. Each post can be fixed into place simply by performing a visual check to ensure that it’s in line with the previous post.
Choose panels that are slightly shorter than the posts they are attached to - protruding posts can always be cut to length using a circular saw afterwards.
The key to building a strong, long-lasting fence is fixing the posts securely into the ground. Using post concrete and never placing posts more than two metres apart should provide any fence with the strength it needs to withstand constant punishment from the elements. By choosing the right materials, which can be found at a hardware store or through online retailers, and by following instructions carefully, a fence can be a fulfilling home improvement job to complete.