Fences 101 - Chapter 4: Fence Installation Basics
Last Updated: 02/10/2012
Now that we've started thinking about the type of fence that we want to build and the material that
we're going to use, its time to develop an installation strategy.
This is not a manual for how to install your specific fence. That will be supplied by the manufacturer.
Two Ways to Install a Fence
There are two basic ways to install a fence: in the ground or on the ground.
In the ground
The majority of fences are installed in the ground using the traditional method of digging post holes, placing your fence posts in them, and filling the holes with concrete. The heavy concrete acts as an anchor, keeping your posts stable, in-line, and secure against wind, and other forces.
Another way of installing a fence in the ground is to use something called a post anchor.
A post anchor
is a is a metal device that you drive into the ground with a
sledge hammer or jackhammer; no digging, no concrete.
On the Ground
The second method of fence installation is to mount them on the ground. This method is most typically used
when the area to be fenced is already paved, such as a swimming pool area or parking lot.
Installing Fence on a Hill or Grade
One issue to consider when installing a fence is the slope of the land. Sloped land requires a
different installation strategy and, in some cases, different fence components than flat land.
Stair-Stepping your fence
Just as the name implies, stair-stepping is a method of
varying the height of your
fence panels to adjust to the slope of the land. It is
achieved by installing each successive panel higher (or lower)
than the previous one.
Stair-Stepping is often the only choice for really steep
Rackable Fence Panels
Stair-stepping works in many situations; but, as we mentioned, it leaves gaps under the fence and
it also disrupts the smooth look of your fence line.
If this isn't the look that you want, you'll probably want to install a
fence panel system that is rackable.
There are two issues with rackable panels. First, panels can only be racked up to a point
(depending on the manufacturer) and may not be able to rack enough to fit your specific application.
In this chapter of the DIY Fence guide, we discussed the basic options for installing a fence. The next chapter is our fence glossary that will equip you with the vocabulary of the DIY fence builder.
Tags: fence installation, beginner, guide, tutorial, basics, install, anchor, post, concrete, frost heave, post holes, rackable, slope, stairstep, stair-step