How to Build a Garden Fence | Contemporary Garden UK

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How to Build a Garden Fence

How to Build a Garden Fence - Workman with a toolbelt

When it comes to how to build a garden fence, preparation is key. With this guide, we hope to give you a good outline of how to build a garden fence safely and securely so you can enjoy your fencing for years to come. We will primarily focus on timber fencing but most of this advice can be applied to other types of fencing.

How to build a garden fence: A step by Step

Step 1. Choosing the right type of fence

The first thing you need to decide is what type of fencing you want, both from a material perspective and decorative elements. We have written several guides on How to choose garden fence panels. Here are some extra resources on the best way to choose the right type of fence.


Step 2. Choosing the right posts

You need to decide whether you want wooden or concrete posts as well as whether you will use post supports or lay directly into concrete. Concrete posts ensure you have a good strong fence but you will likely need a professional to install them unless you have experience doing this yourself. Wooden posts are easier to handle as they are lightweight and can be installed in several ways. Utilising post supports will improve the structural integrity of the fence and protect against rot and weather damage.


Step 3. Consider the post lengths & fence height

You will need to decide on the height of the fence and therefore the length of the supporting posts, to ensure accurate positioning. A few things to consider when it comes to the height of your fencing.

Once you've decided on the height of your fence you can work out how long the posts need to be.

  • If you're burying wooden posts in concrete, your posts should be 600mm (2ft) longer than the fence height. So you would need posts that are 2400mm (8ft) posts for an 1800mm (6ft) fence.
  • If you use post spikes or bolt-down post sockets, you'll need 6ft posts for a 6ft fence.


Step 4. Calculating the number of Panels & Posts

Fence panels come in a range of heights but they are nearly always 1800mm wide (6ft). Measure the length of the area you wish to fence and divide the length by the width of the panel. For example, if your boundary is 36ft then you would take 36ft and divide it by 6ft. This equals 6 panels. Add one more fence post to the number of panels needed so you have enough posts to support both ends of the fence.


Step 5. Preparing for placement & installation

Before you start, make sure the area in which you'll be working is clear. This includes moving anything you can out of the way for construction. It is also a good time to clear away weeds and plants that will cause issues later on. Our fence panels and wooden posts are pre-treated to prevent rot and insect attack. But if you have to saw any ends, it's good to add an additional wood preservative to protect raw edges. Make sure you have someone to help you. Not only will it make the job easier and quicker, but you'll also probably find your work is more accurate. Use a string line and pegs to mark out where the fence is going and mark the position of the first post. Measure twice and triple check all your measurements before you start placing posts.


Step 6. Supports & Spikes installation

Before laying your first posts, it's important to check the location of any water pipes or power cables. You could damage these if they are not placed particularly deep down. So if you're unsure, talk to your local council, your water company or the Power Network before commencing work.

  • If using spikes, first make a pilot hole. Then use a scrap piece of timber for the socket of the spike and drive it into the ground using a sledgehammer. Use a spirit level as you hammer the post in to check it's staying vertical.
  • If using sockets with a flat square base, make sure the concrete is level and bolt down the post with quality, deep bolts to ensure maximum durability and security.
  • If using concrete posts, the holes for your posts should be three times as wide as the post. So for a 4" post, the hole will be at least 12" wide. The holes should be 2ft deep to ensure good stability. Following your string line, dig a hole for each post with a post spade or a post-hole borer. With the post in place, ram broken brick or stone hardcore into the base of the hole to support the end of the post. Pour concrete into the post hole. Check the concrete bag for instructions or use a professional to ensure this is done correctly. The concrete should be just above ground level. Trowel the surface smooth, sloping the concrete away from the post to let any water runoff. Check the post is vertical with a spirit level and prop it in position while the concrete sets.


Step 8. Fixing the fence panels

If you've used concreted posts, you can place the fence panels on to the posts once the concrete has dried. If you're using wooden posts, when the panels are all in place trim the tops of each post so they're all the same height. Then screw on a post cap (drill a hole in the cap first to prevent splitting). Screw on a post cap to make the fence even more secure and aesthetically pleasing.


Choosing & Installing your garden fencing

The best time to put up a garden fence is in early spring or autumn. This is because there are usually fewer border plants you may damage and the weather can usually be a bit nicer to work in. We have a whole host of fence panel sizes, styles and colours to choose from, for those that love the contemporary garden look. Shop our fence panel collection now, or get in touch if you need any help deciding on your fencing panels.