The 5 Basic Steps to Installing a Fence

Fences keep what you want in the yard and protect your shrubs, gardens and home area from unwanted guests. They also add interest and decor to your backyard or garden. A home without a fence can instantly take on a classier appearance with the addition of top quality fencing.

Putting up or installing a fence may seem like a labor intensive or technically challenging project, but it doesn’t have to be. You can buy pre-made fences, buy kits to make your own or—for those truly artistic—you can make any kind you want. You can also hire a fencing company to assist you or to install the design you have in mind.

What do you need to install a fence?


• Boards & Posts (use posts with rounded or capped heads to prevent accumulating water)
• Power Saw
• Post Hole Digger
• Gravel or Sand
• Paint or Outdoor Stain
• Tape
• Pencil
• Small Axe
• Nails
• Hand Saw
• Hammer
• Work Gloves
• Level
• Concrete (Ready-Mix)
• Chisel
• Tamping Rod
• Wood Preservative

Step 1. Space the fence posts.
Typically, you want to space your posts 6’ to 8’ apart. However, the spacing depends on the type of fence you build, the area where you are installing the fence and the purpose of the fence.

Step 2. Set the fence posts.
Set your posts with 2/3 of their total length above ground and 1/3 below. Use a post hole digger to dig your holes and to dig them straight. If the holes are slightly larger at the bottom then the top, you can place gravel in the bottom of the hole before you place the post. This adds stability and allows for proper drainage.

Step 3. Pack the posts.
Pack your posts with either dirt or concrete. Whichever you use, place gravel in the bottom of the hole before you place the post. Be sure the posts are straight in an upright position. Brace the posts with stakes when you have it properly situated. Tamp it thoroughly to pack the dirt.

When the post is in position, build a mound around it to prevent water standing at the base. Slope the concrete slightly away from the post; tamp it lightly to eliminate air bubbles left in the mixture. On corner posts, be sure to provide extra bracing because it must hold the weight of two lines of fence.

Step 4. Add rails.
Attach a top and bottom rail to the fence posts. You can do this in one of several ways, depending on what type of fence you’re installing. Some methods use a groove: attach a rail to the post with a groove. You can also use a lap joint, butt joint or slotted joint.

Step 5. Measure.
Be sure to measure from the top rail to be sure the bottom rail on each is in alignment. After you measure one, cut a measuring stick to prevent having to make an actual measurement. You can use the stick to measure on the remaining posts.