How to Build a Garden Fence

Our experts share tips and tricks for installing the perfect garden fence! Learn how to transform your yard with a beautiful and functional garden fence in this guide.
Renee Lewis
Renee Lewis
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Last Update:
December 21, 2023

Are you ready to build a DIY garden fence! Read on for all the information you will need to gather your supplies and understand the steps to build your fence! Whether you are looking for a fence to add to the aesthetic value of your own garden or for a more utilitarian use like keeping critters such as bunnies from eating the veggies in your vegetable garden, we have all the tips on building your new garden fence in this step-by-step tutorial full of garden fence ideas!

What You’ll Need

Tools:

Brad nailer

Container for mixing concrete

Crown stapler (optional)

Drill

Hammer

Jig

Level

Measuring tape

Miter saw

Staple gun

Tamping Bar

Supplies:

2.5-inch pocket hole screws

2-foot stakes

2-inch brad nails

2-inch exterior wood screws

80-pound bags of concrete (one per post)

Fencing roll

4 by 4 6-foot treated posts

Gate hardware (hinges and latch)

1 by 4 by 8 treated planks

Spray paint

String

Two 2 by 4 treated planks

Utility flags (optional)

Planning Your Garden Fence

Step 1. Choose the Fence Style and Height

Before you begin constructing your new garden fence, you need to decide what types of materials you want to use for the fence and fence posts. A wooden fence is a classic choice and can last up to 15 years. Chicken wire fences have really seen a surge in popularity in recent years and are a great inexpensive choice for a garden fence. The chicken wire is perfect for keeping unwanted critters out of your garden. And, because it is a see-through fence material, it won’t block your view of the garden like a wooden fence would. Other options for fence materials are vinyl or metal, although those are not often used for garden fences.

Step 2. Determine the Fence Layout

For this step, you should draw out the layout of what you want your garden fence to look like. The best way to determine the fence layout is to use measuring tape, stakes, and twine to precisely calculate the fence perimeter. Remember to add in a gate if you want one!

Step 3. Check Local Regulations and Acquire Necessary Permits

Another important preparatory step is to make sure that you are following any local regulations - perhaps HOA rules about what styles of fences are allowed - and getting any permits that your town requires for constructing a fence of this type. Also crucial to the process since you will be digging in the ground is to call your local utility company or call 811 to find out if it is safe to dig where you are planning to dig.

Installing Your Garden Fence

Step 4. Gather Necessary Tools and Materials

As laid out at the beginning of the article, although this is a great DIY project that can be done in a couple of days, installing a garden fence does require quite a few different tools and supplies. So you will want to compare the list of tools to what you have available and find out which ones you may have to buy, rent or borrow for the project. Finally, go to your local hardware store to purchase the needed materials!

Step 5. Dig Holes for the Fence Posts

Every good fence requires buried fence posts. This allows the fence to be stable and hold up over the years. The rule of thumb for fence posts is that you want about one third of the fence post to be buried underground. Use a shovel or a post hole digger to create holes that are deep enough to make the posts strong.

Step 6. Set the Fence Posts

For this step, you will need a friend to help. Once you have the post holes dug out for your garden area, you will need one person to set the fence post in the hole. For this step you will need to use your level to ensure the post is plumb. Once it is level, pour in one bag of mixed concrete around each post and again check that the post is plumb with a level. Some people prefer to put a few inches of gravel at the bottom of the post hole to help with drainage, so that is something to consider before you pour in the concrete. Work one post at a time and repeat until all the posts have been set in the post holes.

Step 7. Attach Fence Panels

Depending on the fence materials you have chosen for your garden fence, this step could look a little different. First, if your priority with the fence is to prevent animals from burrowing under the fence and into your garden and eating up your food, then digging a trench along the perimeter of the fence would be a good idea so that the fence panels extend underground for a foot or so. This helps prevent animals from squirming underneath your fence and into your garden.

Next step is attaching the rails to your posts: this includes top rails, bottom rails, and middle rails if you want. First, secure the rails to the fence posts first using your drill and screws, starting with one of your corner posts. Next, add the wooden panels or roll of chicken wire fencing and attach to the fence posts. Make sure to first measure out exactly how much fencing you will need between posts and then use the brad nailer and 2 inch brad nails or a staple gun to attach the chicken wire to the wood posts and rails. Be sure to nail or staple the chicken wire about every foot and a half along the upper rail. Repeat the process for the bottom (and middle if applicable) rails. If you had dug out a trench, fill that back in with soil now.

Step 8. Install a Gate

To build a garden gate, you will need to use a miter saw to cut the wood railing to fit in the gate space. Use the pocket hole screws to assemble the railing pieces into a rectangle. Using a jig, drill two holes into each end of the side pieces. Use the brad nailer and brad nails or a staple gun to secure chicken wire to the gate. Finally, attach the hinges and latch to the gate and hang it from the posts. Make sure that the gate is plumb using your level and have your friend hold the gate level. Put the gate hardware in place and use a pencil to mark the spots where the screws will go. Use a drill to make the pilot holes and attach the hardware to the gate - hinges on one side and lock and handle on the other side!

Step 9. Staining and Finishing

If you have chosen a wooden fence for your garden fence, or if your garden fence has wooden elements, you may want to consider staining the wood. Stains are important for protecting your wooden fence from the elements, especially moisture, and helps your fence last longer. Stains can accent the natural wood grain patterns, enhancing its beauty. Stains also come in tinted and solid color options as well, and if you get a more solid stain color it will offer some additional protection against UV rays.

Popular Types of Garden Fences

Wood

Wooden fences give a classic look to your backyard garden, and have a lifetime of between 10 and 15 years. If you are making a picket fence, it will not do much for you in terms of keeping unwanted critters out of your garden. But if the fence is more about aesthetics, then a wooden fence is a great choice.

Vinyl

Vinyl is a little more expensive than a wooden fence is, but it is easier to maintain over the years. It is also strong enough to keep out larger animals. You can find vinyl fences in various styles, heights and colors to choose from.

Metal

Metal fences make great garden fences as well! Metal like aluminum, wrought iron, or steel are beautiful choices for fences and will definitely elevate the look of your backyard. Most of the time these fences are made of posts and pickets, so while they will allow a great view of the garden - and those raised garden beds you built yourself earlier - they will not keep out small animals as effectively as a vinyl fence or chicken wire fence.

Fence Installation FAQs

1. Is it hard to build a garden fence?

Technically it is not hard to build a garden fence, but it does require quite a few different types of tools. So the main question to ask is whether you have the means to access the tools needed - whether by heading over to Home Depot or borrowing from a friend - or whether it would financially make more sense to hire a contractor who has all the tools already.

2. What is the average cost for a garden fence?

The average cost of a garden fence is between $100-$500 dollars depending on the materials and type of fence you choose.

3. Is it better to build the garden fence myself or hire a professional?

Hiring a professional to install the fence can speed up the process but that does add to the overall cost significantly. The cost of a wooden fence is usually between $7 and $15 per linear foot and a chicken wire fence is between $2 and $5 per linear foot. The cost of professional installation is between $17 and $45 per linear foot just for labor. Keep in mind that garden fences are projects that the average DIY-er can accomplish in just a few days.

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