After almost 4 years of living at the Den we decided it was finally time to fence in the whole back yard. It was the reason we bought the house, but up until now only about 1/3 of the yard was fenced in.
The Friday before a three day weekend found Wolfy driving around to two different home improvement stores to gather our supplies. I didn’t quite understand what we had gotten ourselves into until I saw the trailer loaded down with 26 6X8 fence panels. Then I actually put together all the numbers that had been in my head… 200 linier feet of fencing, oh crap.
I’m not going to go in depth on how to install a fence. I’ll share an overview of what we did but if you don’t have a clue please do more research! Take this as anecdotal evidence that if the Wolves can do it, so can you.
Step One: Cut a hole in the box Figure out where you fence is going to go.
To do this we put stakes into the ground (that’s a lie, we used garden tools i.e. shovels in place of stakes) and connect with string to indicate the perimeter. I followed that up by using marking paint on the grass so we could remove the string and get it out of the way.
Note: We did not put the fence on the edge of our property. We met with a fencing company two years ago to get this quoted (scary!) and were advised to keep the fence away from the property line so that you can still mow on the outside of your fence. You never know when your neighbors might move and the new neighbor could be a real jerks. Ah, town living.
Step Two: Take down the old fence. Pretty self-explanatory, we needed the old fence out of the way to put in the new one.
Step three: Install the first panel. A multiple step step.
This panel needed to be attached to the wood fence we had installed a few weekends ago. It was also on a hill. First we needed to dig out the hill enough to install the fence in the ground. This area is highly dog sensitive by bury the fence we are giving ourselves added security that if Makanda decides to dig she isn’t going anywhere.
Once the area was dug out so it would be fairly level with the existing fence we started digging the holes for the post. Allow me to introduce the newest member of our family, Errr… we never did manage to name it but this is our very own auger. We purchased it from Home Depot for around $250 which I think was a great investment.
You may wonder why we bought one. To save time and energy. If you have ever had to dig a hole with a manual post hole digger you know that gets old real fast. So why didn’t we rent one? This one is smaller than the ones we were planning to rent. Wolfman was able to operate this on his own. We were able to use it Saturday and Sunday without worrying about having to get it back to the rental place. And most importantly, this isn’t our forever home. We will move at some point. And that place will need a fence, or a deck, or a pergola, or trees planted – all of which this auger will come in handy for. Buying the auger was about twice the fee to rent one, so if we ever need it in the future it will be paid off.
Public service announcement: If you plan to dig more than 12 holes, please get ahold of an auger. Rent it, buy it, but trust me the time and effort it saves will be worth it.
Okay back to hole digging.
Once the holes were dug we added a 4X4X8 to each hole. The fence panel went up and was installed slightly differently than any other. The first post was about a foot inside the panel. The end of the panel butted up next to the already installed fence so it would look seamless. The panel was screwed in there using 3 inch deck screws and to the first post we installed. The second post was held level and lined up so the panel would be on half of the 4×4 (a second panel will attach to the other half) and screwed in. The panel was held in a level position and a bag of dry concrete was added to each hole.
This is called dry setting. It allows more wiggle room while working on a project while still keeping the posts level. When the project is done you can come back and water the holes or like us just wait until the first rain. After adding the concrete to the hole I filled the hole the rest of the way with dirt and we moved on.
Step 4: Just keep digging
Really that’s it. Measure you next panel (don’t believe the advertised measurements, even ¼ inch can mess you up) and mark that distance from the end of the current panel. Dig your hole. Attach a panel. Dry set the holes. Move on.
The two sides we did were 75 feet long and the back was 45 feet. Wolfy and I managed to call in a favor to our good buddy Gaston and he came over to help. We started Saturday morning at 7 am and called it a day at 8:30pm. Sunday morning started at 7:30 am and went to 12:30 pm. Three people worked 18.5 hours to accomplish that. The motto which kept me going was “This is saving me at least $5000”. Sweat Equity.
Installing a fence is hard hard work, I would recommend having three people if you are working with panels more than 4 foot tall. If Wolfman and I had to install these ourselves without our friends help it would have taken a lot longer. We ended up with a system of the two men holding the panels up and level while I screwed them in place.