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How To Install A Fence

Landscaping, Siding & Exterior
By on May 15, 2014
How To Install A Fence

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While many homeowners may think fence installation is one of the easier DIY projects, it may not be as simple as you think. There are many factors that go into fence installation, including permits, guidelines, utility lines, materials, fence types and sheer strength for installing post holes. While hiring a professional could save you time and money, certain property owners love a challenge. Before installing your next fence, be sure to read our fence installation tips.

Please note that fence installation largely depends on your fence type. For more detailed instructions, please see our fence cost estimators.


Like any project, you need to plan ahead. No one jumps right into a home remodeling project and fence installation is no different. Before you dig holes, you must check with your city and/or homeowners association. Many municipalities will have guidelines as far as how close you can build a fence to the property lines. Some cities don’t want you building your fence right on top of your neighbor. This can become an issue in certain instances. 

Additionally, make sure your city or county doesn’t require you to pull any permits. If so, you or your contractor must do this before installation.

Call 811 or Utility Company

When a homeowner is installing a fence on their own, it’s imperative to mark your property line and the utility lines running through your yard. If you don’t, you could accidently cut the electricity, causing a huge headache for you and your neighbors. 

An easy way to find your utility lines is to call 811 or your local utility company. Once requested, they should send someone out to mark the underground lines, pipes and cables. After all these precautionary steps have been taken, you are ready to dig.

How to Install Your Own Fence

Add Post Holes

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Beware that this section of the project may be the most difficult. While you can certainly dig the post holes yourself, fencing contractors know how to complete this step quickly and efficiently. Even if you insist on installing your fence yourself, you can hire a contractor to just install the post holes.

Make sure you are not digging on the marked utility lines. Using a post hole digger, which you can purchase at your local hardware store, dig a hole nearly two feet deep. Make sure it’s deeper than the frost line. You want to leave plenty of room in diameter for the concrete if you are installing a vinyl fence. For wooden fences, concrete will not be needed.

Don’t be afraid to add extra room around the post holes. You can add the cement around the pole now or after you build the rest of the fence. We recommend after so you can be sure the fence is even and straight before making it permanent.

Make Sure Posts are Even

Oftentimes, homeowners do not have flat backyards. This will make fence installation more difficult. If you have areas that drop or rise, you will need to adjust the height and length between each fence post. You can buy difference sized fence posts or dig deeper in the ground. After you are done with all fence posts, you can run a line or string from post to post. Make sure the line is tight and straight. This will ensure that all fence posts are of equal height. 

Build Your Fence

This section will largely depend on the type of fence you chose. As you will see in our fence cost estimator, chain link fences are not only cheaper, but easier to install. While many homeowners love the look of wood fences, lumber can be very costly and timely to install and finish. Furthermore, plan on spending extra time installing taller fences. While they do provide more privacy, they take longer to install since the materials are heavier and more difficult to work with. Be sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions for building any type of fence or contact a fencing contractor for extra help.

Add Concrete Around Post Holes (Vinyl)

Now that the entire fence is constructed and straight, it’s time to make it permanent. Mix some fast-drying cement and pour it into the holes. As the DIY Network points out, keep whatever material you used to hold up the posts in there over night. Leave extra space for the concrete. Remove holders the next day and add extra concrete. Even it out and you are done.


Installing a straight, sturdy and attractive fence can take a long time. Given heavy lumber and the dangers of working near utility lines, fence installation is easily one of the more challenging DIY projects. Nevertheless, don’t let fear deter you. If everything were easy, life would be dull and boring. Take a shot at installing your own fence.  

If you have any questions regarding fence installation, leave us a comment or let us connect you with a fencing contractor in your area today.

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