A fence looks like a simple thing to build. “Posts, rails and pickets all nailed together…what’s so hard about that?” you may ask yourself. But before you go DIY on your fence, know that it’s not always as easy as it looks, and educating yourself first can make a big difference. We’re here to help with the following advice from experienced fence builders.

Dan Bailey

Dan Bailey

Dan Bailey, President at WikiLawn Los Angeles Lawn Care.

Make sure each post is level

One thing people often neglect to do is use a level. If you have your fence posts pre-cut, you may feel like you don’t need it. However, the ground can shift in height and dimension drastically along a fence line. Make sure each post is level before you set it. If you’re not getting posts pre-cut, it’s vitally important that you follow the old adage of measure twice, cut once. You’ll also want to dry fit everything.

Never eyeball anything. Measure. Mark. Double-check. You don’t want to take chances with the structural integrity of a fence, especially if you’re trying to contain a large dog or a curious child.

You also don’t want to cut corners on postholes. Measuring will help prevent this [mistake]. Put in the effort each time to drive the hole deep enough. If you need more support for corner or end pieces, don’t be afraid to use concrete.

Fencing Do’s:

  • Make sure your fencing plans are in compliance with the code. Noncompliance could result in a major loss of time and money.
  • Use a level. It’s a basic tool, but its importance when it comes to fencing cannot be overlooked.
  • Understand what you’re doing. If you’ve never done a building project before in your life, a fence is not a great place to start.

Fencing Don’ts:

  • Don’t attempt to build a fence if you don’t know what you’re doing.
  • Don’t wing it. You need to measure and plan every part of the fence.
  • Don’t forget to brace the corners. Corner posts have more pressure on them than any other post, and they need to be secure to ensure the integrity of your fence.
Melanie Musson

Melanie Musson

Melanie Musson is a home insurance expert for USInsuranceAgents.com.

Eva Bowker

Eva Bowker is a home improvement coordinator for Fantastic Handyman Australia. She believes that your home is the most important place and that’s why you need to take good care of it.

DIY Fence Installation Do:

Do check your local zoning laws. Every area has its own safety laws and regulations, and you need to make sure your fence is not violating any of them. Find the information at your local zoning office. Make sure the fence you’re planning is the right size and height and that it adheres to any boundary requirements. Some areas allow [residents] to build a fence on the property lines. Others require all fences to be offset. You should also check with your local Homeowner’s Association, as they often have strict rules about the types and colours of fences you’re allowed to install.

DIY Fence Installation Don’t:

Don’t underestimate the slope and drainage. Installing a fence requires [much more] than just placing the fence. This type of barrier will change the water flow on your property while it rains, as well as the entire landscape. Consider where the water will gather when it rains and provide proper drainage. Make sure the slope of the fence allows the water to travel away from the house, not towards it.

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