Building the Pillars
Drive stakes into the ground and tie string to them to mark the fence line. Mark the location of the pillars on the ground along the fence line, keeping spacing them according to the lengths of iron railing you have selected.
Dig a hole 8 inches deep and 2 feet square for each pillar. Level the soil inside the holes.
Pour 2 inches of gravel into each hole, then level it and tamp it to compact the base.
Mix concrete following the manufacturer's instructions and fill each hole with concrete. Smooth the surface by dragging a 2-by-4 board across the top of the concrete. Allow the concrete to cure for at least four days.
Mix mortar for the cinder blocks, and place it around the perimeter of the concrete base, applying it wide enough to cover the width of the cinder blocks. Apply a layer 1/2-inch thick.
Set the first cinder block into the mortar, and place a level on top of it. Adjust it, if necessary, to make the block level.
Apply 1/2 inch of mortar to the side of the cinder block that is not on the edge of the slab, and place another cinder block in the mortar on the slab against the first block, keeping it level with the first block. When placing the second block, rotate it so that it forms a 90-degree angle with the first block. Lay two more blocks on the slab using the same technique. When finished, there will be four blocks around the perimeter of the slab, with a small, open area in the center.
Continue laying blocks until you reach the desired height for the pillar. Stagger the blocks in each row so that the joints in consecutive rows are not aligned. Construct all of the pillars using the process. Allow the mortar to set for the time specified on the packaging.
Spray the pillars with a hose to dampen the cinder blocks. Adding moisture to the blocks prevents them from drawing moisture out of the stucco as it cures, which can cause the stucco to crack.
Mix a batch of stucco using 4 parts sand and 1 part mortar, stirring it until it has the consistency of mashed potatoes.
Place two scoops of stucco onto a hawk — a metal tray that contains a handle extending from the bottom of the tray and is used when applying stucco and plaster.
Spread the stucco onto one side of the first pillar, starting at the bottom of the pillar and working toward the top. Apply a layer of stucco about 1/4-inch thick to each side of the pillar.
Wipe a sponge trowel over the surface of the stucco with circular motions to help prevent the stucco from cracking. Scratch grooves into the stucco with a comb-like tool called a scarifier. The grooves will help the top coat of stucco stick to the base coat.
Apply the base coat of stucco to all pillars, and allow it to set for the time specified on the packaging.
Mix the top coat of stucco using 3 parts stucco sand, 1 part cement, and pigment to color the stucco.
Cover the pillars with the top coat of stucco, using the same process you used for the base coat. Apply the top coat in a layer 1/2 inch to 3/4 inch deep. Cover the pillars with plastic for six to eight weeks as the stucco cures. Every few days, remove the plastic to spray the stucco with a light mist to keep it damp, then cover the pillars again.
Installing the Railings
Measure and mark the top edge of the railing on each side of the pillars at the height you want the fence.
Hold the railings in place between the pillars with the help of an assistant and mark the bolt holes for the railings on the pillars.
Drill pilot holes into the pillars where you marked them for bolt holes, using a hammer drill fitted with a masonry drill bit.
Remove the bolts from the concrete sleeve anchors and slide the sleeves into the holes in the pillars. If you experience difficulty, tap them into the pillar with a hammer until the surface is flush with the pillar.
Lift the first section of railing into position between two pillars, aligning the bolt holes on the railings with the holes in the pillars. Bolt the railings into position by tightening them with a socket wrench. Don't overtighten the bolts, however, as doing so can break the anchor sleeves.
Install the rest of the railing, using the same process.