backyard fence

How to Build a Sturdy Backyard Fence

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The white picket backyard fence – it’s an iconic phrase that creates an image in your head. The image of bright houses on sunny days with freshly-mowed lawns and a dog running around.

It was the house that every family in every 1950’s sitcom lived in.

Even though we’re far from the fifties today, and life has always been more complicated than Hollywood makes it out to be, there are a few practical aspects to the image, such as the fence.

Fences are a great investment for any homeowner, because they serve many purposes, whether it’s to keep your dog in, strangers out, or just to brighten up the place and add some curb appeal.

The glaring issue here is that you can’t really buy a fence. There are countless places to buy fencing materials, but you have to build the fence yourself.

How would one even go about doing that? We’re glad you asked because, in the next few paragraphs, we’ll take you through the process and give you some advice on how to build the best fence for your home.

Measure Your Property

The process of building a fence starts way before you go shopping for materials. A bit of research will be necessary on your part.

In particular, you will need to know your yard, and, to an extent, your neighbors’ yards. First off, you will need to know your property. What constitutes your yard as opposed to their yard? Where is the boundary?

One of the best ways to do this is with a metal detector. The city buries stakes in the ground to denote property lines. In particular, you’ll find these only near the corners, or other places where the property lines change direction.

You should also consider going to city hall yourself and buying a plot plan. While you may not be able to tell the exact measurements from the plot, it will give you a general idea of where to search with the metal detector.

Once you have the borders mapped out, mark them off somehow so you can find them more easily the next time.

You Must be This Tall

The main function of your fence will probably be privacy, and even if it isn’t, privacy is definitely something to consider. The most important question you should ask yourself when preparing to build a privacy fence is how tall should it be.

Your fence will need to be tall enough to keep prying eyes from seeing into your yard, yet short enough that you don’t waste materials. If you’re not entirely sure, and measuring doesn’t make it all that much clearer, err on the side of caution. Get something a little bigger than you need. It may be a bit more expensive, but you won’t have to go back and tear it down, only to rebuild it again.

The key word here is little. Unless you expect to be attacked by the Mongols, Celts, or Vikings, you don’t need a super huge, imposing fence. Plus, a fence won’t hold back an army anyways, so we would advise springing for something else in that case.

Distance Between Fence Posts in a Backyard Fence

Ever wonder why fence posts seem to always be placed the same distance apart? There’s a reason for that, and it has to do with the integrity of the fence.

You will want to put the fence posts no more than six or eight feet apart. More than eight feet will weaken the fence, leaving some parts unsupported and crooked.

Also, fence sections only come in six-or-eight-foot lengths, so it would be immensely more difficult to build a differently-spaced fence.

Build Gates, and Install Locks

Nobody wants to be trapped in the backyard nor is it very convenient to have to go through the house to reach the front yard, so you’ll want to invest in gates. Locks are also essential to ensure that you have total control over who gets in and out of your backyard. Just remember, power corrupts, so use it wisely.

Another key piece of advice about the gates is that they will need to be huge. You never know what you’ll need to carry into your yard, and you may even need to drive into the yard every once in a while.

In fact, it may even be advisable to make a section of the fence removable, probably the one closest to your driveway. That way, if you need to back something really big into your yard, it will be much easier.

Proper Maintenance

You may want to stain the wood of your fence, and there’s nothing wrong with that, but you shouldn’t do it immediately. All the glues and other things you applied while building the fence need time to dry, otherwise, they will interfere with the finish.

If you paint your fence, remember that paint tends to fade and chip. You’ll want to repaint every few years so it doesn’t look neglected.

Have Fun

Just because a lot goes into building and maintaining a fence doesn’t mean you can’t get creative with it.

If you want to break the mold and paint your fence a less-traditional color, go for it. If you want to switch up designs halfway through for a more avant-garde look, go ahead. This is your fence and your property. Do what you want.

Fences and Beyond

Congratulations on building your fence, and we help we were able to help with the process. The rest is comparatively easy, but if you ever move and feel the need to build another fence, feel free to look back at this article to refamiliarize yourself with the process.

Naturally, the wonderful world of DIY doesn’t end with fences, and we offer some great insights into various projects on our website. You might want to learn how to fix a dishwasher in case something ever happens to yours. We can even help you make a table if you want. It’s all on our website, and there’s plenty more where that came from.

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