HOW TO ERECT A PANEL FENCE - Erecting a fence around your garden serves a number of purposes, such as creating privacy between you and your neighbors, keeping your pets in and your neighbors pets out and providing somewhere for climbing plants to grow up. Erecting a panel fence is fairly straightforward providing you do the preparation work and erect it to a set plan. This job can be done by one person but it’s much easier if you have a friend or family member help you. Here’s how to erect a panel fence in your garden.
The first thing you really need to do is walk along the line where you want to erect your fence. If there are any plants in the way then remove these and pot them up for the time being. It is very important that you talk to your neighbor and let them know what you are doing. Erecting a fence will require you to work from both sides of the fence which means you will have to be in your neighbour’s garden, so ask for permission and it’s a good idea to pot their plants up to, providing they do not object.
Determine where your fence will go by stretching out a string line. This can be done by placing a wooden peg into the ground either end of the intended length and running a length of string between the two pegs.
Once you have a string line in place you can work out where the fence post will be situated. A standard ready-made fence panel is 6′ wide (1.82m), so place markers where the ends of each panel will go. Allow for 10cm which is the width of the posts you will be installing. When you finish placing the markers you will know how many panels and posts you will need to complete the job.
At the point where you have marked out the posts, you can now start digging the holes for the posts to go in.
To give your fence the right stability dig the post holes to a depth of 450mm. If the ground you are digging into is very soft then dig deeper. Remember that if you dig deeper you will need longer posts.
Once you have your holes, for the post, dug out you have two choices…
1. You can use Post Spikes or;
2. Concrete the posts in place. If the ground is soft or very stony then it is better to use concrete.
Almost all wooden posts come pre-treated, however, it’s always best to give the part of the post that’s going in the ground a little extra treatment. A good idea here is to soak the ends of the posts in a bucket of wood preserver overnight.
Start with fitting the two end posts first. Once these are in place run a string line across the top of each end post. This will help you keep all the posts in the line at the same height. Remember to check that the posts are vertically level by placing a spirit level on two sides of the post. Make any adjustments by tapping the post with a hammer. You need to make up some post supports at the bottom. Once all the posts are in place and all are level, just check your measurements and levels again.
It’s now time to put the panels in place. Instead of using nails or screws, which can split the panels, use panel slot clips. These clips are secured to the posts, about 150mm from the top and 150mm from the bottom of where the panel will site and on both sides where the panel will go. The best part about using panel clips is that if you ever need to replace a fence panel you can simply slide the old one out and slide the new one in.
When all the panels are in place lift each one so that they are approximately 150mm off the ground. This will prevent them from being in contact with the wet ground and rotting. You can fit pre-treated gravel boards to cover the gaps at the bottom.
If the length of your fence requires you to cut a panel to size then remove the middle and side batons, front and back of the panel. Now move the batons to the desired width and fit them back in place, front and back. You can now cut the panel without it falling apart and so that it fits in the space required.
Now that everything is in place you need to concrete in your posts. It’s ideal here to use Rapid or Quick Drying Cement to do the job. You do need to work fast as this concrete will cure within 5-10 minutes. Be sure to wear protective eye wear and a face mask as the cement can kick up a fair amount of dust. Read the instructions on the packaging carefully and follow the manufacturer’s instructions for use.
When the concrete is in place take a trowel and create a mound around the posts. The highest point of the mound should be around the posts. This will allow any rainwater to flow away from the posts and help prevent the posts from rotting.
You can order longer fence posts so that you can install trellis along the top of the fence to create a really nice feature.
Finish the job by fixing fence post caps to the top of each post. This will not only make it more attractive but helps prevent rainwater from penetrating the ends of the posts and rotting them.
You can, if you wish, stain or treat the fence you have erected further. Stains come in a number of colours to suit.
Acknowledgements: Video B&Q