Fence Building for Dummies

Fence Building for Dummies

I WAS a fence building dummy, and now I have been enlightened with some SKILLZZZ.

If I can do it, so can you.

For those of you who aren’t caught up on the life of the Henson tribe, let me bring you up to date:

1. Bought a house.
2. Built a fence.

Ohhhh mannnn, fence building was a PIECE OF CAKE after home buying….Aint that the truth.

Let’s get right to it:

The first thing I did was measure the area. This gave me the details I needed to put together a supply list.

My first list looked something like this:
8 – 4x4x6 CEDAR posts
7 – 4×8 foot pre-built CEDAR picket fence panels
1 – My DAD. I’m sorry for all you that can’t buy him from home depot or menards. He’s the greatest.

Measure where the holes will go, and DIG ’em. This is a MONSTER, literally. Do NOT try to do this without a post digger (rented from home depot). To make a perfect line, we used the string technique. Put posts in the ground (from one end of entire length of fence to the other), tied a string to each end, and pulled it extremely taught. By doing this, we marked every 8 feet along the string & this marked EXACTLY where we wanted our posts to go.

Also, we were told that we needed to dig at least 3 feet into the earth, and so that’s what we aimed for. It took both my dad and I working a one-man digger. When we didn’t run into any problems, it wasn’t too awful. BUT, most of the holes were problematic. When we didn’t get stopped from HUGE ancient tree roots, then we ran into gas lines. Not kidding. See below.
Truth is, we were SUPER lucky here. We hit the line, but didn’t damage it. It did, however, postpone the rest of the project. I called the gas company to come out and examine the issue just to be sure we could continue with cementing. They were actually really cool, and moved the line a couple feet to the south.. Thanks for that guys! Ps We found out that it is state law that before digging any holes whatsoever, one MUST call the diggers hotline and set up a free appointment for someone to come out to declare where all lines are. Do DO this. Please.

After our holes were dug, we cut our 4x4s and  placed them into our holes. The length of your 4x4s is tricky. You have to decide if you want them to be taller than your fence or the same height. This is all aesthetic stuff, and even though we thought we had it figured out, we ended up cutting them again after the were cemented in.

A couple HINTS:
1. Posts NEED to be square and level before you cement them. Buy this $5 tool.  Trust me.
2. Buy rapid set cement, and use it dry, and then use a hose to fill with water.

Stop and smell the roses, or in my case, a tulip (in OUR yard)!!

Step 5:
We bought 4-foot panels, but wanted our fence to measure 3.5 feet high. The reason for this was that anything exceeding 3.5 feet required a permit from the city. So, since we bought 4 feet high panels, we had to cut them down to 6 inches. After cutting, we basically screwed them int the posts. Ok really this is a VERY LARGE generalization. It took MUCH more than this to complete, but I’m lazy and don’t want to explain all the murphy’s law stuff..which I think is cynical anyway 😉

Sort of finished product…

TO BE CONTINUED. Next up: Gates and more pretty pics.

xoxo jules