The hardest part of the planning stage is finding the type and style of fence and building materials that will be used, and the rest is easy.
Before beginning construction of a backyard fence, it is recommended to check with the local building codes and ordinances in your county or state. These restrictions could limit or influence the decisions you have as far as height, style, setback and materials. Once you have a clear understanding of what is permissible, you can then begin to explore the many different options and styles available and find the type of fence best suited for your landscaping, yard size and shape and needs.
If you are using wood, it is important that it be pressure treated or wood like redwood, cedar or cypress which is decay and insect resistant. Another important thing to remember to use only rust-resistant screws and hardware for the fence and it will help it be more durable and last longer. Hot dipped galvanized nails, bolts, hinges, screws and latches are also recommended for increasing the life of your backyard fencing hardware.
The first step before building a fence is to plot the fence line, build it 1-2 inches on your side of the property line to avoid accidentally infringing on your neighbor’s property. The accuracy of the fence line will determine the straightness of the fence, so plot the line by clearly marking each corner with a stake. The next step is to run a mason’s line between the stakes by using the line and a level to determine sites for the remaining posts, mark each one of these with a stake as well.
After staking out the fence, the next step is digging the post holes because if they are not set deeply enough into the ground, it may result in the fence tipping, leaning or falling over. If you do not have a post hole digger, one can be rented, and an electric digger will help a person save time and effort. For breaking ground that is rocky, it is a good idea to rent a jackhammer. Fences up to 6 feet require holes at least 2-feet deep and end and gate posts needs to be about 3-feet deep and the diameter or circumference should be about 2 ½-3 times the width of a square fence post.
It is a good idea to set up fence posts in concrete because it provides the strongest and most durable installation foundation. A person should plan this stage very carefully, because if concrete were to seep under a post, it can retain moisture and rot the wood. Begin with corner posts, make them plum and align the remaining posts. Put a flat stone at the bottom of the hole and fill with gravel until level with the stone, align the post while pouring concrete into the hole. Add another 1-3 inches of concrete above the ground and slop it facing downward for water drainage.
Align each fence post to be vertical and straight, use the end post or corner post as a comparison method. Begin with the two corner posts and position other posts with their face in flush alignment with a level. The next step is to nail a spacer block to each post and stretch and tie a mason’s line between the posts, making sure the blocks are between the lines and posts. Tie a second line at the top of the posts and with the lines intact, set and align each individual post to a thickness of 1 by 2 away from the lines. Before filling and setting posts in concrete, use a level to make sure each one is even and aligned properly.
Once the fence posts are set, the most difficult part is done and the next steps are attaching the rails, kickboards and siding, pickets or panels and any other materials you have chosen for your backyard fence. Fences added to the backyard provide safety, security and privacy and are a great investment which improves the outside appearance of a home. With a bit of preplanning and forethought, it is possible to find the type of fence you are looking for and with a bit of time and effort you can install it yourself and save money as well. Investing in a backyard fence can be a great home improvement project for the person that enjoys doing it themselves.