Gardening

Fix a garden fence

When a garden fence blows down, someone needs to repair it. This is a fairly easy job that can be taken on by most unskilled people. A bit of strength is needed to lift fence panels and posts.

Most garden fences are made from pre-built wood panels. They are a standard 6 foot wide and can be 4, 5, 6 or 8 foot high.

post top

If bought from a reputable source they will be pressure treated and can be erected without the need for extra waterproofing. However an additional protective coating will make the fence panel last twice as long.

The panel can be joined to the upright posts with simple galvanised nails. 6 nails per side are all that is required.

join fence to post with nails. Join the top of a new fence panel to an old upright post. Witha simple nail hammered through the side of the panel and into the post.  There are two further nails spaced in the middle and bottom of the panel and a further three on the other side of the panel.

Alternatively a more robust and attractive fence can be constructed from joining two or more horizontal beams to the posts and then nailing or stapling thinner uprights to these to make a more traditional open lattice fence. These are more likely to survive storms than per made post and panel fencing.

Either way, the key structural element of the fence is the line of upright wooden posts. These must be secured into the ground and there are two common ways of doing this.

1, Add a metal spike at the end using a ‘met post’ or similar system and driving this into the soil. You will need a sledgehammer and a special insert to stop you damaging the post as you whack it in.

2, Dig a hole and concrete the post directly into the ground. Actually easier than it sounds. Your hole should be 18 inches deep and 18 inches across. Place the pole in the middle and pack hard with a fairly dry cement and aggregate mix. make sure the post is vertical and leave overnight before nailing the panels to it.

Problems occur when you have to replace a rotten post that was concreted in. Your options are to either

dig out the old concrete and start again
drill and bolt a flat met post base to the old concrete surface
dig out the rotten wood from the concrete and place the new post in the original hole. (this is the easiest option if the post was a regular size and the concrete was well done in the first place.)
If you are putting a new upright post into the garden, don’t forget to add a post top. These little blocks of wood at the top of your posts are not meerely decorative. The grain of the fence post runs vertically, so water can easily penetrate the post from the top, shortening its life. A small cap acts as a hat, keeping the rain out. If the cap ever needs replacing, this is far easier to do that to replace the whole post.

 

post top

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