Building a fence is a task that seems daunting and difficult. Once you master these simple steps, building a fence is a breeze.
The hardest part of building your own fence is digging the holes; after that, the structure takes shape quickly. Besides a rented posthole digger, you’ll need only a circular saw and ordinary carpentry tools.
Designs vary widely, but just about all Fence Builder fences consist of the same basic elements: A series of posts sunk into the ground and connected by rails on the top, bottom, and usually in the middle as well; and fencing boards or panels that are nailed to the rails to give the fence its character.
Privacy fences usually require 4×4 posts. Rail and fencing lumber can be almost any size. Lumber yards sell prefab sections of fence in many styles, but custom design and construction usually yield a better-looking fence.
Before proceeding, check community building and zoning codes. Many specify maximum fence height, distances you can build from property lines and the street, and even the materials you can and can’t use. Once you’ve chosen a design and established a location, stake out and measure the site.
Plot post spacing for the most efficient use of lumber. Six- or seven-foot spans usually work well; never set privacy-fence posts more than 8 feet apart. If you’re building your fence on a slope, plan to step the fence down the hill, setting each section lower than the one preceding it. Only if the slope is slight—and the fence design won’t suffer—should you follow the contour.
Editor’s Tip: Always call your local utility companies before you start a project that requires digging in your yard. Have all lines clearly marked before you finalize your plan to make sure your project doesn’t interfere with uderground lines.
Check out more things you need to know before building a fence.
Choosing The Right Materials
When you order lumber, specify construction-heart redwood or cedar or ground-contact, pressure-treated wood for all posts and bottom rails; upper rails and fencing can be less expensive grades of rot-resistant lumber. To minimize rust, buy hot-dip galvanized nails and fittings. If you want to paint or stain your fence, apply the finish to posts, rails, and fencing before you nail up the fencing. Besides saving time, you’ll get better coverage.
See awesome decorative fence ideas here.
Step 1: Set the Posts
Lay out the site, dig holes, and set posts, starting with the end posts. Check each post for plumb by holding a level to two adjacent faces; nail braces to hold posts upright. Check, too, that posts are aligned by tying string from end post to end post.
Step 2: Add Concrete
As you shovel concrete into the holes, have a helper tamp the concrete to remove bubbles. Round off the concrete so water will drain away from the posts. After the concrete cures, cut posts to a uniform height, if necessary. Shape tops of posts so they’ll shed water.
Step 3: Add Rails
Attach the rails to the posts. We installed our rails face up and added extra support with a right angle piece of wood, but you can also use galvanized fence builder tips rail clips to speed up this process. A line level and combination square assure that each rail is level and square with the posts.
Step 4: Finish Fence
Measure carefully and use a square to mark locations on the rails for each fencing board. Wood scraps squeezed between boards maintain uniform spacing. Have a helper align boards—in this case flush with the bottom—while you secure them to the rails.
Using standard pruning techniques, you can train dwarf fruit trees to form a living wall that will enhance your yard’s privacy and provide beauty and fresh produce. In an espalier (pronounced es-PAL-yay), plants grow along a usually flat, symmetrical framework against a wall, trellis, or freestanding support. Frequent pruning and tying of new growth directs the plants into a decorative pattern such as intersecting diamonds, or horizontal arms or elbows.
Plan your espalier to meet your needs. If you want fruit, select a dwarf apple, peach, or pear that is rock-solid hardy in your area. For a purely ornamental fence, choose a blooming tree or shrub such as flowering crabapple, magnolia, or doublefile viburnum.
Although creating an espalier isn’t particularly difficult, it does take time. Expect to wait three years for fruit, and plan to spend some time each year doing light pruning and training of branches.