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How to Build a Fence for Your Garden

This Article Shows you How to Build a Fence

If you want to know how to build a fence or other kind of garden separation, it’s a good idea to first think about what you want:

  • Why do you want the fence?
  • How will the fence look with your garden or house?
  • Consider the effects on light entry and shadow
  • Will it need to contain children or dogs?
  • Do you want the fence to be closed, or should it allow light entry?
  • Consult your neighbors, and find out what they think. You might even be able to share the costs!

Attention points
If you’re unsure if you need a permit, then check first with your local authority

Types of fence

There is a wide range of fence types and styles.

how to build a garden fence

Marking out where the fence will go

marking out a garden fence









Decide where you want to place the fence and make the ground surface as flat as possible. Measure out the length of the fence and where the center and end-posts need to be placed. Divide these into equal sections. The end-posts are placed at the ends of the horizontal planks, which have lengths of 4 meters. First make an overall drawing, and then decide which materials you will need and of which lengths. Once you know where the fence will be placed, you can mark out the height of 1.80 meters. Use a cord to ensure all the posts are in a nice straight line.

Standard garden fences

You can find a choice of different types of fence section and materials in garden centers. Most of these have fixed lengths and heights, and vary in quality and price.

Digging the holes for the posts

Digging Holes with Post Hole Digger

You start by placing the corner posts. Dig a narrow hole of 60 to 80 cm deep with a narrow spade or ground drill. To ensure the post is firm, you should dig right down into the solid ground. If the ground is dry, it’s a good idea to first moisten it to make it easier to dig or drill the holes. You can also get galvanized post holders which you can drive directly into the ground.

Preventing rotting of the posts

fence post rot

The posts should be treated to a height of 10 cm above ground level to prevent rotting of the wood. You can get different kinds of preservatives or bitumen to protect the wood. Or you can use acrylic resin, which is completely waterproof after hardening. Another alternative to prevent rotting is to place the posts in a PVC pipe of a larger diameter.

Placing the posts

Place the post in the hole on the center of the markings. Using a step-ladder, carefully drive the post into the ground with a sledgehammer until the top of the post is at the same height as the cord. Check with the spirit level that the post is still vertical after each blow of the hammer. If the post goes out of alignment while you are driving it in, so it is no longer properly square, you can correct it using an adhesive clamp at the center of the post. Always wear working gloves to protect your hands from splinters.

Pouring concrete

cementing fence post

You can fix the post in place using concrete mix. Prepare the mix and pour it into the hole. The proportions are: 1 kg of course sand, 1 kg of gravel and 0.5 kg of cement. You can also use pour quick‑drying dry mortar out of a bag into the hole, and then add water. Make sure the post remains vertical and properly aligned. Check this with a spirit level or a plumb-line. Finally, stamp the fence post firmly into the ground with the handle of the sledgehammer.

Use a spirit level

using a spirit level

To make sure the tops of all the posts are in line, use a pipe level or transparent garden hose filled the water. Make sure there are no air bubbles in the garden hose. If this doesn’t work, you can always saw the tops of the posts to the right height afterwards.


wooden fence gates

It can be useful to install a gate in the fence. The standard width is 90 cm, and the height is the same as that of the fence. For extra strength and to prevent flexing, fit two diagonal planks at an angle of 45°. The posts for the gate are fitted in the same way as those of the fence itself. You’ll need: hinges, a latch or lock with a key, and nuts and bolts. If necessary use two longer posts at the left and right, and fit a connecting cross-beam to divide the weight of the gate.

Using End-caps

fence post end caps

Finish the posts with end-caps to prevent the entry of rainwater which leads to rotting of the wood. As an alternative, use a piece of roofing felt fixed with nails, or saw the top of the post an angle.

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Information regarding Local Building Regulations