Putting Up Fences Around Your House


There are a few things to consider when you put fencing around your new house.

1. What does the fence do?

2. Which fence kinds or designs do I prefer?

3. What kind of fence will accomplish the task I need it to?

4. What is the price?

5. Can I set it up on my own?

6. The most crucial question is: Do I know where my property lines are?


A post-hole digger, a long-handled pointed shovel, a measuring tape, a power saw with a plastic-cutting blade, extension cords, a concrete mixing tub, and a 4′ level. You can rent a tripod and level, which, if your land slopes, will be helpful to keep fencing lines level as you go down (or up) in different sections, as well as excellent work gloves and safety glasses. Clamp bolts must be tightened with a wrench, but a decent ratchet and socket will speed up the process significantly.


fencing complete with all necessary caps, rails, fittings, etc.

Redi-Mix Concrete (bagged)


Whether to paint or stain wood fencing, a few bits of wood for temporary braces.

Today, a wide variety of fencing options are available, including chain link, wood, aluminum, plastic, and PVC, to mention a few. Although they are all fences, their capacity to do various tasks vary. A soft plastic roll-type fence most certainly wouldn’t work if you installed a wall to hold a 150-pound pit bull. If you build a wall to secure your garden, soft plastic roll or chicken wire fencing might work. The fencing appropriate for your needs will depend on what the wall is used for. Let’s use the installation of a barrier to safeguard an underground swimming pool as our example. Numerous fencing kinds are suitable for this use. High-strength materials include PVC, chain link, steel, and wood. Most states mandate a minimum 48″ high fence around an in-ground pool, and when these varieties were examined, they all met that requirement.

Although expensive, PVC fencing has a long lifespan and requires only occasional washing. This fence has locking gates, finials, corner posts, and other decorative accessories that can be added to create a beautiful fenced-in area by your pool. DIY Self-installation? Most handy homeowners can finish this work in a day or two.

Wood fencing requires support posts installed in concrete and comes in various forms and heights. Panels are typically 8′ in length. Therefore assistance will be needed to handle these vast pieces. Wood fencing can be altered by cutting and re-nailing for unusual shapes and obstructions.

Chain link fencing is available in rolls from 4′ to 12′ wide and galvanized (gray), black, and green wire colors; plastic-coated varieties are also available. Top, middle, and bottom rails may be needed to support the fencing and keep it straight and taut. Fencing is held to steel upright posts set in concrete with heavy gauge wire loop ties. A unique ” come-a-long ” tool is required to bend these ties.

This fencing is not inexpensive to buy or install, so spend wisely for long-term use. Different gauges (thicknesses) of wire are available, and you get what you pay. Thin wire types will have a shorter life span than heavy wire.

This type of fencing is considered temporary use only and is frequently seen at construction sites and along highways. Soft plastic roll fencing typically comes in 4′ wide rolls, with steel or wood support posts required to mount the fence. Fence posts can be driven in with a sledgehammer and may have pre-made hooks to engage the fencing holes. This fencing is inexpensive and considered disposable. Wind does a mean job on this fence and requires high maintenance.


Carefully lay out your fence line to measure the length, corner posts, gates, etc., needed for the job. Gates come in 3′, 4′, 6′, and 8′ widths; larger widths are available by particular order. WRITE down the measurements; do not try to remember when you get to the store. With your measures, get a beverage, and we will determine what you need.

We decided we need one 3′ gate for a sidewalk and one 6′ gate for mowing, cleaning, etc. Please write it down on your materials list. In our example, our fence is 36′ long on each side to form a square. Gates are one on each of the two sides. Therefore, the other two sides need 2 x 36′ fencing or 72′. Please write it down. One side has a 6′ gate, so 30′ fencing is required. The other gate is 3′ wide, so 33′ fencing is needed for the last side. Now add all the fence figures together, and we find we need 135′ of fencing required. Posts-If we know the fencing we have chosen comes in 6 ‘ lengths, we will need a post every 6′ feet and on each side of each gate. A little math shows we need 25 posts. One post every 6′, plus one extra to hold the 3′ gate. Please write it down. You will use approximately one bag of bagged concrete per post for anything over 4’ high. These are your essential materials plus some misc. Nails and scrap lumber for braces are also required. Purchase your items and place them in the area they are to be installed.

The lengths of pressure-treated fence posts typically range from 6 to 12 feet. This is because a 6 foot fence requires a position to be buried at least 3 feet into the ground to support it. Other wood types, such as cedar, redwood, and willow, are available in some areas. If left untreated, willow posts can re-root and create a “living” fence in wet areas.


Now that we have everything let’s start digging the first post hole in one of the corners.

Avoid cutting corners; a 12″ wide hole is sufficient for fence posts. A narrow gap can weaken your fence and reduce its lifespan. Continue digging holes along one side of the fence line until all are filled. If you use a pair of hand post-hole diggers, your arms are now tired. This task should be easy to complete if you use a power post hole auger you rented. Put the two end posts in their respective holes. Use your 4′ level to plumb them, then attach two temporary braces to keep them level. I’ll spare you some work now that this is over. Each hole should have a bag of dry concrete poured into it. Where is the concrete, I ask you? You didn’t understand, did you? Did you record it? Upon reflection, I didn’t order you to. OK. You should get the concrete because you need a break. Making a list of everything you need before shopping is a smart habit to develop. It cuts down on wasted time and additional journeys.

Now connect your garden hose without a nozzle after placing a dry bag of concrete in each hole. Start adding water to the dry concrete; it will mix perfectly in the spot if you use your shovel to poke it up and down and in and out of the concrete. Avoid overwetting the area. Although a little soupy is acceptable, avoid separating the ingredients with excessive water. Redi-mix bagged concrete comes in a variety of brands, and they all function in the same way.

While the concrete for the first two posts dries, you can begin digging the holes for the second side. Until all corner posts are anchored in concrete, carry out the identical operation with the following corner and fourth posts. Observe your first two posts once more. Ensure your string line is as taut as possible by tying it to the first post, running it to the corner posts, and then tying it off. Whether you use the inside or outside, as long as they are both the same, ensure the string is tight against the same side of both posts. Now, installing the mid posts won’t require as much measurement. You may get them all in a line by simply pacing the position against the string. Make sure your post spacing is accurate by carefully checking it. It’s okay if the seats are not exactly in the middle of the holes. Pour concrete over the posts while positioning them all along one side. To prevent children or animals from falling in or for protection against the rain, try not to leave holes open overnight. Work your way around it until all your fencing posts are in place.

Each type of fencing has a unique installation process.

Wood fencing can be cut to the desired height and length using a hand or circular saw if necessary. The wood panels should be fastened to your posts using high-quality galvanized nails or screws. Keep the panel tops level. Nothing looks worse than a fence with sloping or uneven tops. Pin at least 12″ on the center to assure good support for the panels. Wind can cause severe damage to a wall that is not nailed correctly. If the ground level changes, step in the top of the wall to accommodate the slope, but in all cases, keep the top level. Many states have laws regarding who gets to “see” the good side of the fence. In my area, the rear neighbor see

The post setting is roughly the same, except that chain link fencing uses steel posts and requires different equipment to complete the job.

After placing the posts and pouring the concrete, you must unroll the fence alongside the posts, slide in an end bar—a flat piece of metal the height of your fencing—place end clamps around the base and the end bar, carefully stand the end of the fence up against the first post, and insert the supplied bolts securing the wall to the center. Ask your retailer for post spacing recommendations for the height fence you purchased.

Now, when you pull on the fence to stretch it, you are pushing on the post and the bar rather than the actual fencing.

Ask your dealer about a specific wire tool that will bend the wire tie loop over the chain link; you can also use pliers, although doing so is more challenging. Wire ties come in a variety of lengths and gauges.

The chain link does stretch and will sag if not pulled tightly, so once it is fastened to the first post, you must try the fencing to achieve a taut condition between the posts. Using another end bar, insert it at the opposite end of your fence run, at a corner, or at least several positions away from your start point. Wrapping the come-a-long around the pole and hooking it to the end (termination) bar. By cranking the come-a-long up tight, you will pull.

Come-A-Long, available at hardware or tool stores, will hook to the post on one end, and the hook will connect to the end or termination bar for pulling.

Corners are a bit tricky to tighten the fencing, but after a few posts are done, you will get the hang of it. Once the fencing is tight, you can install the wire ties on the intermittent post, tying the fence to the posts. Place one at the center’s bottom, middle, and top using a minimum of three links per post. Once all the bases are tied, you can carefully release the come-a-long and move on to the next section of the fence.

Remember: If your fence is longer than 4 feet, you may want to install a top rail to prevent the fabric from bending or bowing between posts. You may, of course, use one on a 4-foot fence as well, but it is generally unnecessary. Each time you end the fence, you must install an end or termination bar, and a four-foot fence requires at least three clamps per bar.

You could also wish to build a bottom rail if your fencing is for security purposes or, for example, around a pool to prevent trespassers from bowing the fence and slipping underneath.

To prevent rats from entering your garden, you can bury the fence fabric about a foot underground because many mice only burrow a few inches below ground.

Plastic or PVC fencing may be the way to go unless you prefer staining your wood fence every year. These fences are often high-end (expensive) goods, but they are becoming increasingly popular today due to their long-lasting appearance and extremely little maintenance.

Regarding post-installation, installation is essentially the same as wood or chain link. Still, extra caution must be used when handling and screwing the parts together to prevent damaging the PVC finish.


However, if you are installing a property line fence, MAKE SURE you know where the property lines are. Bushes, tree lines, or stone walls are NOT excellent and reliable indicators of property lines. You may have been mowing a section of lawn for years, but that doesn’t make it your property. You may have just been nice to your neighbor.

Survey maps will show the shape of the property and the location of nearby streets, and the majority will show the precise locations of corner pins. I have heard numerous stories about people who are sure that their line is where it needs to be before learning that their neighbor will sue them and remove the fence after they have it put up.

If you don’t know where your property lines are, have the lot surveyed and legal corners markers established so that your investment in your fence won’t be squandered. A steel pipe or concrete monument typically marks property corners.

However, with some care, you can have a lovely finished project and save money on labor. Fencing is typically a several-weekend effort.

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From schools to treatment plants, private homes, and condo projects to sizeable residential landscaping projects, Pete Ackerson has worked in the building design areas and field construction in the Eastern US for more than 30 years. In 2006, he cofounded Wagsys LLC with two other building inspectors, which produced software for municipal agencies in building department management.

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