If your garden needs some extra privacy or is lacking that “something” that seems to complete it, installing a fence is a great solution. This is also a solution you can complete yourself. With the right tools, and this guide, you can easily find out how to erect a fence on your own property.
Fences erected around the perimeter of your garden add some privacy and can complete your landscaping. You can also add fences to different areas of your garden to define spaces. For example, you could add a short, knee-height fence around a patio, or a fence to block off an area for your vegetable garden.
A wood fence can also add to the way a garden looks and feels. You can leave the wood natural, and just treat it to protect it from the elements, for an earthy look and to make the fence blend in to your landscaping. Or, you can paint the fence to add some colour or to give the area an updated look.
When you take on this project, it’s very important that you use the right tools.
Before you start, gather the following tools:
• Safety Glasses and Gloves
• Fence Posts, Rails and Boards
• Tape Measure
• Shovel Holer
• Post Driver
Before you start this project, read the instructions that came with your equipment and make sure you fully understand how to use it.
Step 1: Plan the Fence
First, decide where you will erect the fence and take measurements so you will know how much lumber to buy. One easy way to do this is to make a sketch of the fence on graph paper, marking where posts will go and measuring exactly how many posts, rails and boards you will need.
A rule of thumb is to install posts about two or two and a half metres apart. You will need rails to attach the posts together on the top and bottom, horizontally. The fence boards will be installed between the fence posts by attaching them to the rails.
You can make the fence as tall as you want, but keep in mind that one third of the post’s height needs to be buried underground so that the fence will be stable and sturdy.
Step 2: Dig Post Holes and Install the Posts
Use a shovel and shovel holer to dig enough holes for all the posts you will be using. Once you have dug the holes, add a few litres of gravel to each hole to help stabilise the posts.
Start at one end of the line of holes and add a post to the first hole. A post driver can help you push the post down into the gravel and make it level. Use a level to make sure it is perfectly straight and then use stakes to temporarily hold the post upright while you work around it.
Now, using a shovel, fill the space around the post with dirt, packing it as tightly as possible. The goal is to make the posts very sturdy so that when you remove the stakes and install the rest of the fence, they will be able to stand alone and support the rails and boards. Continue installing each post this way until you have installed them all.
Step 3: Install the Rails
Now, starting at the first post, install the top rail between the first and second post. If you are cutting your own lumber, you can use a heavy duty saw to cut the rails to length. Use a hammer and nails to make sure the rail is installed securely. Then, continue adding rails between all the posts by attaching them to the tops and bottoms of the posts.
As you do this, use a level to make sure each rail is level and straight so that the fence will work and look the way it should.
Step 4: Add the Boards to the Rails
Once all the rails are installed, it’s time to add the boards. Again, you can use a saw to cut these so they are the right length and width so they fit perfectly for your fence. Install each board, vertically, along the fence to cover the length. Use the level to make sure each board is straight and then nail it to the rails, on both the top and the bottom.
This is the final step in erecting the fence itself, so now is the best time to make sure all the boards are attached firmly and that everything is level and sturdy.
Step 5: Treat or Paint the Fence
Now that the fence is up, it’s time to finish it by treating or painting the wood. It’s not a good idea to leave it as is, because rain, sun, snow and wind can cause a lot of damage, including cracks and mould that can eventually ruin your fence.
If you like the natural-wood look, use a product that seals the wood but doesn’t alter its look. In most cases, you will need to retreat and reseal the fence once a year. This will keep your fence in top condition for years. For a different look, consider painting the fence. There are paints that are formulated to be used outside so they can withstand heat and moisture. Pick a colour that complements the exterior of your home or one that adds something new to your garden.
Wood fences are extremely sturdy and tough, but they do require regular maintenance. Replace broken or cracked boards, rails or posts as you find them to ensure your fence is sturdy. Nails can rust, become loose and even fall out, so be sure to replace those as needed too. Periodically, you may need to sand and refinish sections of your fence as they wear down or sustain damage that is unavoidable, like water or wind damage.
Installing a wood fence in your garden is an excellent project that enhances the way your home looks from the outside and can bring your garden to a whole new level of beauty.
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