How to Build a Privacy Fence in a Weekend, Part One

Plot Your Lines Well

Always be sure that you are building the fence on your property. If you build on your neighbor’s land or on public land this is just asking for a whole lot of trouble. Disputes about property lines are big business for lawyers, so stop that issue before it even starts!

If you don’t already have a plan of your property you can get one from City Hall. Once you know exactly where the plot lines are you can begin to measure and mark the lines on your property. You can mark these with stakes so that you know exactly where you are when you start to build your fence.

Think About Gates

Whilst you are in the planning stage you should always think about how many gates that you need and where you would like to position them. When you build a fence you most likely want to keep people out, but you really need to think about how you are going to gain access through the fence! Think about whether or not it would be better to have two gates instead of one. If you have a particularly large plot would having two or more gates help access to your property?

Another consideration is that you may want to make one of the fence panels easily removable. This can be a smart move if you ever want to access your property with heavy machinery or lots of materials. Think about how you would access your property if you wanted to do some landscaping work. Is there some measure that you can incorporate into the design that would make future projects easier?

How Will the Design Fit Together?

You need to think about the overall picture as to how the fence is going to fit together. You will want to consider how you would deal with any gradients on your plot. This is so much easier to deal with in the planning stage than when you have started your building project.

You may think that you need a six foot fence all the way around your property, but think about this before you make that decision. It may be that you can vary the height around the yard. This can save on cost and also give a better aesthetic effect.

Don’t Cut Corners

If you are trying to get your fencing project finished in a weekend you may be tempted to cut corners. Make sure that you resist this temptation. Make sure that you take your time in the planning stage and this will save you a huge amount of time in the long run. A little planning goes a very long way.

photo credit Ben Baligad

How to Build a Privacy Fence in a Weekend, Part One

If you have never built a privacy fence before it can seem like a daunting prospect, but it really doesn’t need to be. Building a fence is one of those do it yourself projects which is perfectly manageable. All you need is a bit of planning and some basic knowledge. Here is our guide to help you build that privacy fence that you have always wanted.

Are You Permitted to Build Your Fence?

The first step that you need to consider is whether or not you are actually allowed to build your fence. There may be some rules and regulations which restrict your right to build a fence. There are a number of things which you need to think about.

One of the most important things that you must do is to only build on your own land. Always check your property line carefully before you start to build.

You may also need a building permit to build a fence. Always check if you need a permit before you start the job.

Another consideration is that if you live in an area which is governed by a Home Owners Association, you may need their permission to build a fence. There may be restraints of the type of materials that you can use and how high the fence can be.

Always check regulations and property lines first. It is too late to think about this when your fence is already built!

Check The Privacy Levels

The next thing which you need to do is to check that your planned fencing project will actually provide you with the privacy that you want. There is a very simple way to do this. It does take two people so get a friend to help you with this one.

Get a large piece of cardboard and cut it to the size which you think that your privacy fence needs to be. So if you think you need a six-foot-high fence, get some cardboard of this measurement. Get your helper to walk around the yard and position the cardboard for you. All you need to do is to check it at various points around the garden to see if this blocks out the view that you want to block.

You may find in doing this exercise that you do not need a fence to be as high as you thought you did. Or you may find that a five-foot fence just isn’t going to work and you it to be need six feet high. This is a much better way to find this out than waiting until after you have gone and bought all your materials – or even worse, after you have built your fence.

Choose Your Materials Wisely

There are many different materials which you can use to build your fence. Make sure that you think about the purpose of your fence and whether or not the materials will fit in with this. Don’t choose a design with large gaps in it, if the reason that you want to fence is that you need to keep your dog in the yard. If you want privacy then choose something with a full panel, such as a wooden fence. If your yard gets a lot of rain, think about choosing vinyl to cut down on the maintenance. Always think about what the best materials for the job would be.


photo credit wwarby


How to Choose the Right Fencing Material for the Job, Part Two

How Much Can You Spend?

Cost is always an important consideration. Some materials are much more expensive than others. You always need to make sure that the cost is something which you can afford.

When you are adding up the costs of the materials you will first need to know the size of the project. Make sure that you take measurements very carefully as you do not want to realize at the last moment that you have to budget for more money. You may have set your heart on a certain type of fence, but you need to be realistic about whether or not this will fit into your budget.

One of the cheapest materials to use for fencing is chain link. It is a very good material to use if you first consideration is security. It also has the big advantage that is it very durable and will not ever need much maintenance. However, this is one of the least attractive materials that you can use and for this reason it is not very popular in domestic settings.

Wood is a great choice for a fencing material. The most popular type of wood to be used for fences is cedar. It is a great material as it doesn’t need much work to maintain and it is resistant to pest infestation.

You can also customize wood very easily. There are lots of different pre made wood fencing products available. One popular choice for homes is a picket fence. You can also combine designs with solid fence panels and add lattice work. There are many possibilities if you choose wood as your fencing material. You are sure to be able to find a solution for your fencing requirements if you look at wood products.

Vinyl is also very adaptable. It is one of the most expensive materials, but has many advantages. It is very durable and exceptionally low maintenance. There are many different vinyl fending designs available. It is a great alternative to wood as it is so versatile and very long lasting and easy to care for. The only downside is the cost.

Iron fencing is also popular. This is usually the most expensive option though. The sky is the limit with the different looks that you can achieve with iron fencing. You may well find that your budget doesn’t quite stretch to using iron in this way. However, if it does you can have some amazing custom designs to add a very high end look to your home.


photo credit Field Outdoor Spaces

photo credit pb3131


How to Choose the Right Fencing Material for the Job, Part One

Once you have decided that you are either going to pay a contractor to build a fence for you, or that you want to take on the project yourself, the next step is to decide what the right materials are for the job. There are several things which you need to think about when you are choosing the right fencing material for the job.

Why Do You Need a Fence?

The first step is to actually think about why you need a fence. If this is a fence in your home it may be that you need a fence to be simply decorative. A new fence can do wonders for the curb appeal of your home. Here you should consider the materials which will bring out the best in the look of your home.

There are many other reasons for needing a fence than simply wanting to make your home look great. You may want to add more privacy for your yard. You may find that no matter how much you might love your neighbors, you would rather that they don’t have an unrestricted view onto your back yard. Wood or vinyl fences are very good materials to consider when one of your main aims is privacy. A solid fence will give the maximum amount of privacy.

If you are looking for privacy you also need to consider that a fence which will give you that, will also block your view. If you have an amazing view from the back of your property, but you want privacy at the side, you could use different materials for each view point.

If may be that you need a fence to keep things either in your yard or out of your yard. If you have children a fence can be very important to keep them safe. If you live in an area where there are animals or pests which you need to keep off your property, a fence is very important.

Check The Regulations

There may be regulations which restrict your freedom to choose the type of fencing material that you want. There may be zoning restrictions which apply and you must be sure that you are aware of these before you start your fencing project.

If you live in an area which is governed by a Home Owners Association, it is very likely that there will be restrictions about the type of material which you can use for a fence. You will need to look at these regulations to see what course of action you have to take. There may be very prohibitive and detailed restrictions about the materials that you can use as well as the height or the fence.

If you do find that you have Home Owners Association restrictions, you need to work within the regulations. You may be required to get permission in advance of starting the work. It is always wise to plan this ahead of time as sometimes it can take a while to get a decision about what you are permitted to do.

It is never a good idea to go ahead and start the work without getting permission. Some Home Owners Associations have penalties for not adhering to the rules. If you don’t play the game by the rules you could find yourself not only having to remove your fence and replace it, but having to pay a hefty fine as well. Always check first.


photo credit Field Outdoor Spaces


Top 8 Things About Installing a Fence That Your Contractor Won’t Tell You

Are you thinking about installing your own fence? If you can do this project yourself, you will save yourself a lot of money. Depending upon the size and complexity of the project, it may be something which you can realistically tackle the job yourself.

You might be pretty doubtful about hiring a contractor, but there are some good ones out there.  NJ Fence Pro, an excellent fence company based in Middlesex, New Jersey, had some great tips to share with DIYers.  If you do end up hiring pros, this is a great checklist to ensure that your contractor is doing the job correctly.

What do you really need to know before you decide whether you should take on your own fence installation? Here are some things that you need to know before you head on down to the store to buy your materials.

1) Property Lines Are Crucial

fence line photo

photo credit pasa47

The first thing which you have to consider is whether or not you are actually permitted to put the fence on the property at all. You must own the land or have the right to use it, if you want to put a fence on the property. If you skip this step of the process you may find yourself with some very big problems. There are some potentially serious and expensive consequences if you ignore this step. You really do not want to put a fence on property where you do not have the right to do so.

You should check the plans to the property to make sure that you are only working on land which you own or have permission to work on.

2) Measurements Are Crucial

measuring tape photo

photo credit wwarby

This is another essential step. Once you have worked out exactly where your property lines are, you need to make sure that you are working within them. To do this you have to make sure that you have measured properly. Never do this just once. To be safe you should take your measurements at least twice. Check as many times as you have to so that you avoid mistakes.

3) Do You Have Permission?

Once you are sure that you are actually building on your own land, there are some other restrictions which may still apply. There may be local zoning requirements which you need to comply with.

Another common restriction is that you live in an area which has a Home Owners Association. If this is so, you will have to check the regulations to see what you need to do. Many Associations require that you have permission before you make any alternations to the appearance of your property. Usually this includes fencing. There may be regulations on the material, color, location and height of the fence. If you go ahead without permission, you may be forced to remove the fence and pay a fine. It just isn’t worth going ahead without checking.

4) Don’t Cut Through the Gas Line

gas line photo

photo credit choking sun

You need to make completely sure that you are not going to be in danger of cutting through any utility lines if you are planning to dig down on your property. They can be anywhere, so you really cannot take a chance with this. The consequences of making that kind of mistake can cause serious injury and considerable expense. Check before you dig.

5) Plan Your Materials

wrought iron fence photo

photo credit Hunky Punk

Make sure that you are planning to use the correct materials. There are many different choices for materials for building a fence. Make sure that you choose the best one for the job.

One of the things which you will need to consider are weather conditions. Different materials are more suited to certain weather conditions and local climates. Consider how much maintenance your fence will need. You may be tempted to buy cheaper materials in the first place, but this will not be a good thing if they cost a lot to maintain in the future.

6) How Much Do You Need?

When you have chosen your material for your fence you once again need to make sure that you are buying the correct amount. It is so much easier if you know all the things that you are going to need in advance rather than having to keep going back to the store. This can save a lot of time on your fence project.

One thing which is very easy to forget in your calculation of materials is that there will be fence posts to hold up the fence. You need to know the measurements of these and how far apart they will be spaced. Otherwise this will put your materials calculations completely out of line.

7) Think About Posts

fence posts photo

photo credit @cdharrison

Fence posts are a vital piece of your fence construction. You need to follow directions very closely about how you need to fix your fence posts into the ground. If you do not do this, you will soon find out why it is important. Your fence will fall down if your posts are not in the ground correctly. Simple as that.

If the instructions recommend that you dig three feet down that is what you need to do. It really isn’t worth cutting corners with any of this. You want to build your fence to last and you have to make sure that the posts are in the ground correctly.

Make sure that you always complete each stage correctly. If it tells you to wait for six hours to allow for the concrete to dry, don’t cut down on the time. We know it can be tempting to try and get a job done quickly, but taking your time now will ensure that you do the job properly. Trying to get things done quickly often means that you have to spend lot of time correcting the short cuts you took. If you do the job well a fence should last for many years.

8) Is Your Ground Level?

carpenter level photo

photo credit cogdogblog

The most likely scenario is that your ground it not completely flat. That would make your project just way too easy! Most plots will have some gradient. Even if the plot looks flat you will find out when you start fixing your fence that your ground is not a level playing field. You need to know this before you start your project so that you work out how you are going to accommodate the slope on your plot.


9 Things You Really Have to Know Before You Start That DIY Fence Project, Part Two

Here we continue with the key things you need to know before DIYing your fence.  Read Part One here.

6) Measure Up

measure photo

photo credit Sean MacEntee

One of the most fundamental mistakes that you can make is not measuring out your project properly. This can waste a lot of time and money if you do not get it right first time. Always measure things more than once. Ideally, get someone to help you with this stage just to check that you are getting it right.

7) Don’t Forget Your Posts

fence posts photo

photo credit donjd2

When you are measuring out your project it can be a very easy mistake to forget that you have to factor in that there will be posts in the fence. If is easy to forget and just take into account the fence panels when you are in this planning stage. It becomes an annoying mistake when you realize that these add width to the fence! Make sure you take this into account when you are planning your fence project.

8) Fix Your Posts Well

Make sure that you follow the recommendations of how to fix the fence posts into the ground. If it says dig a hole two feet deep, don’t stop short. You will regret it when the fence falls down as the posts are not deep enough!

You must also make sure that if you need to let materials settle you do not skimp on time and rush the project. If you are using concrete to set the fence posts make sure that you wait the recommended time before you attach the fence panels. This is not a job to be rushed. If you take short cuts you will quickly wish that you hadn’t.

9) How Do You Exit?

fence gate photo

photo credit Simon Cuison

Make sure that your planning has accounted for a way to get out! This may sound like a fundamental mistake, but it does happen. If you need a gate in your fence, make sure that this is taken into account in your plans. The width of the gate and the posts to fix it must be taken into account at the planning stage.


9 Things You Really Have to Know Before You Start That DIY Fence Project, Part One

One of the most common jobs which homeowners can tackle themselves is building a fence. This is most definitely one of those jobs which you can do yourself successfully, but it does take a bit of planning.

You really don’t need to pay a contractor to do most home fencing jobs, but you have to take some time to think about what you are doing so that the job goes smoothly. Here are the things that you really do have to know before you start a do it yourself fencing project.

1) Planning is Key

planning photo

photo credit owlpacino

You have to start out with a plan. It isn’t just a question of a couple of quick measurements and then heading down to your local hardware store to get the materials. A do it yourself fencing project starts with some planning.

2) Where Can You Build Your Fence?

You may think this is an easy question, but this is the key thing that you have to get absolutely right. If you build your fence on your neighbor’s land, or public land, you can get yourself into a whole lot of trouble.

You will probably have a plan of your property line. Or maybe you have the blueprints from when the house was built. You must make absolutely sure that you are only putting your fence on your own land. Disputes over property lines are one of the most common sources of arguments and legal actions between neighbors. Stop this problem before it even starts, by making sure that you are working within your property lines.

It is always best to talk to your neighbor to tell them that you are going to be working on building a fence. Usually they will be much more likely to be understanding about things if you talk it over with them before your start the work. This is the time to talk through any problems that they may have with it – not when you have completed the work and they are upset or angry about it. Stop problems before they start.

3) Are You in the Zone?

There may be local zoning laws which you need to be aware of before you start building your fence. Always check these before you start work. You really do not want to find out after you have started your project that it is not permitted by local zoning laws.

4) Can You Dig Safely?

digging photo

photo credit Ciarán Mooney

This is something which you most definitely have to be sure of before you start you do it yourself fencing project. You may have to dig down into the ground up to three feet deep – are there any utility lines under the ground that you could affect when you are working on your project? The last thing that you want to do is hit a water pipe or a gas line. Obviously this could be a very costly mistake. Always make sure that you have checked where the utility lines are on your property, and if necessary get the utility companies to come out and mark where they are.

5) Which Materials Can You Use?

vinyl fence photo

photo credit pb3131

You need to think about which is the best type of fence to build. You will have to take a number of factors into account. How do you need your fence to function? You will need to take into account the weather conditions in your area so that you can choose the best material for the job. Another big consideration is cost. Some materials are much more expensive than others.

Not only do you have to consider which is the best material for the job – you also have to know that you are permitted to use that material. If you live in an area where you are subject to Home Owners Association rules, you need to check with them about what you need to do.

You may have to get permission for your do it yourself fence project. There may be restrictions upon which materials you can use, as well as the height and the position of the fence. You need to plan ahead, as it may take some time to get your plans approved by the Home Owners Association. If you do not comply with the regulations, you may have to take your fence down and pay some hefty fines.

Want more? Continue with the key things you need to know before DIYing your fence – Part Two is here.


8 Mistakes to Avoid When Building Your Own DIY Fence – Part Two

We continue here from Part One where we talked about some of the mistakes made in the planning and construction of a fence.  A fence can definitely be a DIY project, as long as you pay attention to the details.


5) Measure Out the Job

You need to be careful that you know exactly where each fence panel and post is going. You will most likely be using materials which are sold in fixed lengths, so you need to know where each part of the fence material is going. Do not forget to take into account the fence posts.

If you do not go through this planning stage it can cause a whole lot of problems during the installation. It is like putting together a puzzle, but you really need to know exactly where each piece of the puzzle is going to go before you start. This is not a difficult process, but it is one which you really cannot skip.

6) Set the Posts Properly

The posts are going to be the foundation of your fence. They are the part which holds up the fence, so it is very important that you get this part right. Follow the recommendation for the type of material that you are using, but be aware that most fence posts have to be set at least two feet into the ground. If you skimp on this part, you will regret it. You want your fence to last for as long as possible. Depending upon where you live, your fence may have to weather storms and bad weather on a regular basis. Setting your posts correctly is the key to a long lasting fence.

Make sure that your fence posts are properly fixed into the ground before you fix your fence panels onto them. If they need time to settle, make sure that you give them at least the recommended minimum time. If you have set everything up correctly, but do not give the concrete enough time to dry, you will very quickly regret that! Your posts need to be firmly fixed in the ground and standing up straight before you start to fix the fence panels onto them.

7) Think About the Gradient

There are not many sites where you are going to find that the ground is perfectly flat. You are going to have to think about how you are going to deal with the issue of the gradient of your plot. You have to think about this in the planning stage so that you know how you are going to adapt the fence for the slope on your property.

8) Plan Your Way Out

It is essential in the planning stage to think about the type and the position of any gate which you may need in your fence. Always remember to account for the gate when you are at the planning stage of your project. Getting in and out of your property is an essential consideration!

photo credit Field Outdoor Spaces

photo credit dailyinvention


8 Mistakes to Avoid When Building Your Own DIY Fence – Part One

One of those projects which you can do easily for yourself instead of paying a contractor to do it is to build your own fence. Many people still find this task a bit daunting and worry that they do not have the skills to do it themselves. It is a straight forward do it yourself job, if you just follow some basic guidelines. Here are some mistakes to avoid when you are taking on the task of building your own fence.

1) Have a Plan

Before you go out and start to buy materials to build your fence, you need to have a plan of exactly what you are going to do.

2) Stay Within the Lines

An essential thing that you make sure of before you even start to think about how to actually build the fence is that you must know where your property lines are. Disputes with your neighbors are never fun, and many of them arise out of infringing on property lines. You also definitely want to avoid putting any part of the fence on public property, as this can bring a whole set of problems.

You should have a plan of your property line, or some blueprints which show you exactly where the boundaries of your property are. If you make a mistake this can be incredibly costly, so we cannot emphasize enough that you have to be very sure exactly where you are placing your fence.

If is always a good idea to let your neighbors know that you will be doing some work and building or repairing a fence. Unfortunately, neighbor disputes about boundaries and fences are common. Anything that you can do to help prevent these problems starting before they even begin, is time well spent.

Always make sure that you measure your property at least twice. Even if you know where your boundaries are, you have to make absolutely sure that you have marked them correctly. You really do not want to make a mistake on this part as this could be a very costly mistake.

3) Check Zoning Laws

It is essential that you check your zoning laws before you build your new fence. You may not be allowed to put up a fence of your chosen material as it is not permitted by zoning laws.

If you live in an area with a Home Owners Association you have to check with them as to what permissions that you have to have. Remember to do this well in advance, as you may be required to make an application to the Home Owners Association to have the design and material of the fence approved. There can be lots of restrictions relating to the height, material and color of the fence.

There are special considerations if you are building a pool fence. You need to check that you will be complying with all local and state laws if you are doing anything in relation to a pool fence. Failure to do this can have very serious consequence and legal penalties.

4) Check Utilities

Some fence posts need deep holes to fix them in. The last thing you want to do is to dig your hole and find a utility line in your way. This can not only be an expensive mistake, but a very dangerous one. Always call to find out when utility lines are under your property before you start any project which is going to mean digging down into the ground on your property.

 Part Two of our fence mistakes is here.

photo credit @lattefarsan