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How to Build a Small Garden Fence

What is a picture without a frame? In the same way, a garden is incomplete without a fence. The fence not only adds to the beauty of the garden but also gives the entire landscape a more sculpted look. A fence can be erected around the front yard, backyard, or around the entire property. Luckily, when it comes to how to build a small garden fence, the steps are pretty straightforward.

How to Build a Small Garden Fence: Types and Materials

The different types of fence styles that you can choose from include picket fences, post-and-rail fences, and shadow box fencing. You will also need to take into consideration the average cost of popular fence types which include wood, vinyl, wrought iron, and chain link. A drive through Portland, Oregon makes it clear that the cedar wood fence is the fence of choice for most of the residents.

The western red cedar is the most popular type of material used for fencing in the Portland, Oregon area. Cedar is also a natural insect repellent. Cedar oil acts as a deterrent to mosquitoes, termites, and other bugs. Thus it protects itself as well as the property.

As the wood contains natural thujaplicin, it makes it one of the most durable woods. This prevents the wood from rotting away due to decay-causing fungi and the like. Hence this type of fence will have a long lifespan if it is properly cared for. It is also ideal for sawing and nailing, thus making it the perfect choice for fencing material.

However, if you want to give your property an elegant look, wrought iron or aluminum fencing is your best bet. At the opposite end of the spectrum, a chicken wire fence is a simple, DIY garden fence. These are ideal if you’re looking for something simple to keep vegetable-loving critters from getting their fill.

Tips for Building a Small Garden Fence

Even building a small fence requires planning, tools, and some work on your part. A simple garden fence may just be four posts and some wire fencing, but you still need to figure out where it goes, the shape, materials, and so on. Here’s a handy checklist for building a small fence:

  • Decide on the purpose of the fence
  • Choose the material for your fence
  • Determine the height of the fence
  • Mark out the area where you will be building the fence with chalk or string
  • Dig holes for posts using a post hole digger
  • Place posts in holes and fill with concrete
  • Attach fencing material

Decide the purpose of building a small fence

Do you want it to keep animals out or keep small animals in? Is it simply to add decoration to your landscape or a quick and easy backyard fence project? This will give you a better idea of the materials you’ll need and how much time will be spent on the DIY project.

You don’t want to overthink a simple fence and you don’t want to underestimate how much you’ll need for something more involved. In fact, when looking at materials, you may need to adjust your plans to better fit your desired goals or purposes.

Choose the material for your fence

Wood is a popular choice for fences, but there are also other options like vinyl, aluminum, and chain link. Wooden fencing is the popular choice in the Portland area because of its natural good looks–even after a decade or two of use. But it might be overkill if you’re just trying to protect your raised beds from animals.

Determine the height of the fence

For a decorative fence, 3-4 feet is usually sufficient while a privacy or security fence requires 6-8 feet. However, make sure that it adheres to the local regulations for residential fence heights. The state of Oregon requires you to acquire a building permit if you decide to build a fence taller than six feet.

If you’re protecting your garden from small animals, you probably don’t need more than a few feet. Larger animals, such as deer, will require something a lot taller. Think about whether you will still be able to tend to the garden without a gate to enter the area. You want to protect the garden, but you also want to be able to access it.

How to build a small garden fence: Mark out the area for building a small fence

Before you start digging post holes, determine where you will be building the fence. You can outline the area with spray paint or string held in place with little stakes. This will help you visualize the size and placement of the fence. Make marks where posts will need to go and keep an eye on the property line.

Depending on the fence the depth of the holes will vary. Your standard cedar backyard privacy fence requires posts to be no more than six feet apart if you’re using metal fencing posts or pressure-treated wood 4x4s. With smaller fences, you’ll probably want to bring the posts closer together, especially when using chicken wire or chain link fencing.

Dig holes for the posts

The depth of the holes will depend on the height of your fence posts. Typically, you will need to dig holes that are at least 24 inches deep for stability. Before you start digging the holes make sure that the depth is within the regulations and check with authorities so as to not damage underground pipes or wiring.

Place Posts

After the digging is done place the posts in the hole and pour concrete in the hole to keep them sturdy and in place. Use a level to keep the post straight and leave for 24 hours. Sturdy posts make it easier to build the rest of the fence. Before placing the posts, ensure they are the right height (taking into account the buried portion of the posts as well).

Attach Fencing Material

For wood fences, you need to attach top and bottom rails to the posts that will hold the pickets or slats. There are brackets you can buy, although, for smaller fences, you may just screw them directly into the posts. For wooden slats or pickets, make sure they don’t come into contact with the ground to prevent rot.

Vinyl fencing usually comes in panels, so you’ll just attach the ends to the posts. For chicken wire, it’s easiest to get a staple gun or even a regular stapler and staple the wire to the posts. Use heavy-duty staples and don’t be afraid to go a little overboard to help keep the wire taut.

Is Building a Small Fence Too Much For You?

Depending on the size of your fence, it’s a benefit if you have some experience with carpentry or if you have a neighbor to help you out. However, you also have the choice of calling your local landscape professional to help you do it, too. They may have additional fence ideas to make your small garden fence that much better.

Building a DIY garden fence can be a lot of fun and you can even learn a thing or two–and we’ll have all the supplies you need to get it done. For larger projects, consider having Pacific Fence & Wire to do the work for you. For a century, we’ve been building privacy fences, ranch fences, fences for public security, and more. Get in touch with us and see how we can help.