If you look at some of the fabulous fencing that gardeners put in place for their clients and worry that it's something of a dark art, we're here today to tell you just how simple erecting a striking fence can be, if you take it step-by-step. We've put together a simple to follow guide for you, which will allow you to enclose your garden safely and stylishly in just one weekend, so come along and see how easy it really is!
Firstly, take a look at the size, shape and style of your garden and work out which style of fencing will be best for you. There's a huge range to choose from, including everything from picket to overlap, but it all depends on how much privacy you're after and what look you want!
Do you want wooden or concrete posts? There are selling points and downsides to both and you'll need to decide whether you want to set them in concrete or use post supports. Post supports are small metal containers fixed into the ground and concrete posts ensure you have a good strong fence, but both take a bit of work to install. Don't forget that wooden posts are at higher risk of rotting, but concrete can be difficult to manhandle.
When you know what posts you are going to use, it's time to start the calculations! For wooden varieties that are sunken into the ground, you need to buy posts that are two metres longer than your fence panels are tall and for bolt-down post sockets posts the same height as your panels. Always check for cabling if you are using spikes though, as that could be a costly mistake!
Fence panels, as standard, are six feet wide. Measure the distance of garden to be fenced, divide by six and that's how many panels you need. Don't forget to buy one extra post though, as you'll need to secure both ends of your fencing, to ensure a neat and immovable finish.
Before you get started, it's vital that you clear your garden completely. Fence panels are usually pre-treated to prevent rot, but it never hurts to give them another coat of protective stain before you install them. A good firm setting is what you need, free of weeds or tree roots, so be prepared to undertake some back-breaking work!
Metal spikes are notorious for always finding underground cables and water pipes, so always carry out a thorough survey of your fencing area before you start driving them in. You'll need to use a sledgehammer to really plunge them into the ground and what's more, you'll need to be determined, as stones can hinder progress as well!
The holes for your posts need to be three times as wide as the post itself, so for a four inch post, the hole will be at least 12 inches wide. The holes should also be two feet deep. Mark out your fencing line with a plumb line and with your hole dug, ram some hardcore into the base to provide a solid footing. You can mix your own concrete, but a specialist variety, such as postcrete, is best, but it sets quickly, so you'll need to work fast. With your concrete poured, use a wooden batten to ensure a tamped and neat finish.
Obviously, you need to keep your fence panels off the floor, or they'll rot within a few months, which is why, with your posts in place, you need to also put treated gravel boards in situ as well. With your gravel boards in place, your fence panels should simply slide into place, ready to be fixed permanently to your posts. Don't negate this step, or you'll have moving panels that make an awful racket when the wind blows!
If you are attempting to add fencing to a slope, you still need to keep your panels horizontal. Do this by simply filling the gaps with gravel board, or consider building a little retaining wall, right under the fence. This will help to make your fencing look more level and natural.
Boom! You're all done!
For more garden tips, take a look at this Ideabook: Home improvement: build your own pergola in 9 steps.