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Fence Installation: More than Meets the Eye

submitted on 26 July 2023 by
So, you've finally decided to claim your stake in the suburban dream with the perfect fence to keep out nosy neighbors, rabid raccoons, and the ever-present threat of door-to-door salespeople. But before you start digging postholes and posing with your newly purchased power drill, let me tell you something, my friend: There's more to fence installation than meets the eye. Now, strap yourselves in as we embark on the uproarious journey that is fence installation.

Choose Your Weapon: Pick the Right Fence

First things first, you need to pick the right fence for your battleground. There's a veritable arsenal of fence types out there, and you must choose the one that best suits your needs and style. Do you want a classic white picket fence that screams "American dream"? Perhaps you're more interested in a fortress-like privacy fence to keep prying eyes at bay. Or maybe you're just trying to keep the dog contained with a simple chain-link number. The choice is yours, but choose wisely, for a fence is not easily un-installed.

The Art of War: Know Your Enemy (Local Regulations)

Now that you've got your fence style locked and loaded, it's time to perform some reconnaissance on the enemy: local regulations. They may seem innocuous, but these crafty codes and permits can trip up even the most seasoned of DIY warriors. Check with your local authorities to ensure that your fence doesn't violate any height, style, or setback restrictions. Keep in mind that some neighborhoods may have additional regulations, so make sure to double-check with your Homeowner's Association (HOA) if you're part of one. Better safe than sorry, as they say.

Measure Twice, Install Once: Plotting Your Perimeter

With your fence choice and local regulations squared away, it's time to plot your perimeter. This step is crucial, as any miscalculations can lead to wasted materials, frustrated neighbors, and a general sense of despair. So, grab your trusty tape measure, some brightly colored flags or stakes, and a friend or two (preferably ones who won't sabotage your efforts) to help you walk the line and mark the corners of your soon-to-be fence domain. Make sure to leave room for gates and walkways, lest you find yourself fence-bound in your own backyard.

Bury Your Dead: Digging Postholes

Alright, it's time to break ground and dig the postholes! The depth and diameter of your postholes will depend on the height and style of your fence, so it's important to consult the manufacturer's instructions before you start hurling dirt skyward. Generally speaking, holes should be about 1/3 the height of the post and 3x the width, but it never hurts to check. And don't forget to call 811 before you dig – they'll help you locate any pesky underground utilities just waiting to wreak havoc on your fence project.
  • Pro tip: Use a clamshell digger or posthole auger to make the job easier!

Setting the Scene: Installing Posts and Panels

With your postholes dug and ready, it's time to heft those heavy posts and panels into place. This part of the process can be a bit labor-intensive, but it's also where the magic starts to happen. As you set each post and secure it with concrete, your fence will begin to take shape, and your dreams of suburban bliss will be one step closer to reality.
  • Pro tip: Rent a fence post driver to make quick work of setting your posts!
Once your posts are set and properly leveled, you can begin the satisfying task of attaching the panels or rails. This is typically done using brackets, screws, or nails, and can be accomplished with relative ease. Just be sure to double-check that everything is level and aligned, as a wonky fence is not the status symbol you're looking for.

The Final Victory: Finishing Touches

With the hard work behind you, it's time to celebrate your victory with some finishing touches. Depending on your chosen fence style, this might include painting or staining, attaching decorative caps, or installing stylish gates. These details might seem small, but they're the icing on the cake that will transform your fence from a mere barrier to an object of admiration and envy.

Conclusion: The Triumph of the Fence

There you have it, my friends: A step-by-step guide to fence installation that will have you basking in the glory of your newly enclosed domain. Of course, there's always more to learn, and no two fence projects are alike. However, armed with this knowledge and a healthy dose of determination, you'll be well on your way to conquering the suburban battlefield one fencepost at a time.
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