Installing a Wooden Privacy Fence

Privacy fences are great for keeping neighbors from looking into your backyard and keeping dogs inside your backyard without having to chain them up. Installing a wooden privacy fence takes only a few tools, and can be done by one person, but if you want the job to go faster, it helps to have a second person. You will need (other than the correct number of panels to fence in the yard) a set of post hole diggers, a shovel, hammer and nails. If you live in a high-wind area or have a larger dog that may jump on the fence, you will want to purchase cement to cement the posts in the ground. Cementing the posts is not mandatory, but the fence will be easier to knock over without them.

Most wooden privacy fence panels are 8 feet long and 6 feet high. The posts need to be at least 8 feet in height. Dig the first post hole at the side of the house. Make the post hole 2 feet deep. Measure out 7 feet 8 inches from the center of the first post hole along the fence line. Dig the second post hole at that point. Continue measuring and digging post holes until the entire fence line has enough post holes. The last post hole may be shorter than 7 feet 8 inches, depending on the size of the yard. Dig the post hole at the corner junction of the yard, where the next side of the fence will start, and then begin measuring and digging along the next side.

Once all the post holes are dug, center a 4- by 4-inch post in the first hole. Mix the cement according to the instructions on the package. You can mix the cement in a wheelbarrow. Center a post in the first posthole. Have a friend hold the post upright. If you do not have a friend, prop the post up with another post. Fill the hole about three-quarters full with cement. If the post will not stand up straight, prop it in position with another post. Continue installing posts until all the post holes are filled. Allow the cement to cure overnight.

Fill in the rest of the post holes with soil. Pack the soil in around the post. If you wish to sod, put the sod around the post holes before you put the rest of the fence up. Stand a fence panel against the fence post. Make sure the fence panel only covers 2 inches of the second post. Nail the fencing to the post using 3-inch nails. Make sure you nail through the 2- by 4-inch boards holding the fencing together. If you nail through the fence pickets, they will not be strong enough to hold the fence on the fence posts. Each fence panel should overlap each post by 2 inches. Continue installing the fence panels on the entire fence line.

If you want a gate, make sure to measure the gate and adjust the fence posts at the gate for the width of the gate. If the gate did not come with hinges, you will need to add hinges to the crossboards on the last fence section and the gate piece. Use large screws to hold the hinges onto the gate and the fence section.

About this Author

Cayden Conor has been writing since 1996. She has been published on several websites and in the winter 1996 issue of "QECE." Conor specializes in home and garden, dogs, legal, automotive and business subjects, with years of hands-on experience in these areas. She has an Associate of Science (paralegal) from Manchester Community College and studied computer science, criminology and education at University of Tampa.

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