How to Make a Great Garden Fence

Make a Great Garden Fence: There are strong fences. Fences are more precise in their dimensions and more uniform in their materials. Fences that took less time to build because they were planned ahead of time, or even purchased as E-Z prefab kits. Mine I kind of made up as I went along.

We needed a fence because we have deer. Many deer. Also, foxes, bobcats, coyotes, the occasional river rat, chipmunks, squirrels, and a few other things make tracks that we couldn’t identify. I don’t know how many of these animals enjoy eating vegetables, but enough that a fence was a must.

Read More: How to Build (and Restore) a Butcher Block

This is ostensibly an article about fencing your backyard vegetable garden, but even if you follow these number-by-number steps, your fence will turn out differently. As it should be. It’s your yard and your fence, and I’ve learned while building it that fences can have personality. For example, my yard has about a 30-degree slope in the area where my wife wanted the garden, and I wanted the fence to move with the slope. This is one way our fence developed its special personality.

To the plot

Last fall I plowed two parallel strips into the grass, forty feet by ten feet each – these will be the planting beds. I left a six-foot runway of grass between them, which provides both a place to walk without stepping on the greens and an erosion barrier (since it’s on a slope).

I didn’t peel the sod off before planting, I just plowed the grass in. This is not the best way to do this, as it encourages the weed to grow again. But for one thing, I used aggressive machinery: a Kubota BX25D-1 tractor with a fifty-inch power take-off tiller. Each time clawed six inches of clay with each revolution, and there were six times in total. I dragged this thing over both forty-foot plots at least ten times.

And again, it was in the fall, so the grass didn’t come back anyway. We covered all the dirt with a layer of grass, then it snowed all winter, and the grass was put back in place in the spring.

Dig post holes.

I planned to buy four-by-four cedar posts—I don’t like distressed lumber—but then a friend told me about these beautiful, ten-foot, bark-on-pine poles at a local lumber yard in Mahopac. Railroad Tie Corp They were $18 each and I needed 15 posts, but I liked the natural look so I made them.

I rented a two-man General Brand Auger with a Honda engine from our trusted local supplier, Decker Tool Rentals in Danbury, Connecticut. The other guy was my neighbor Andy, and we spent most of the week rowing the corkscrew in very good but very rocky mud. We started with the two holes that would mark either side of the garden gate and worked our way up from there, digging each hole at least 30 inches deep. You have to go at least that deep, especially if you’re not planning on anchoring the posts into concrete, which I wasn’t. Some of the holes were, in fact, less than 30 inches. Because we hit too many rocks and gave up.

How to Make a Great Garden Fence

Set posts.

Drill: Shovel a shovelful of gravel into the bottom of each hole. Place the bottom of the post on gravel (for drainage). Fill the hole, replace a few inches of soil with a few inches of gravel, and top with a layer of sand, which my dad told me keeps bugs away. (Even with cedar, you can’t be too careful.) Don’t worry if some of the letters wobble a bit. Eventually, they will draw strength from each other.

I cut the remaining four cedar poles in half at a 45-degree angle along the chain and used them as braces on the four corner poles (pictured), using four-inch GRK #8 construction screws. Attached are the braces to the poles.

Then I realized that the gate posts should also have braces since they will be under tension every time someone opens or closes the gate. I had no more cool pine poles. So I picked up the brush pile that had grown up behind my barn and found some nice branches.

Wrap them up.

Now for the part that makes the fence work: one hundred feet of 14-gauge galvanized steel mesh, fastened together using ¾-inch poultry fence staples and poultry netting to keep out small rodents. Low course.

First, we dug a foot-deep trench to bury the steel mesh. Some varmints burrow deeper than this, but it was getting hot, so this is as deep as we dug.

Once we nailed the beginning of the mash roll to one of the gate posts, two guys (me and my dad) pulled the roll while a third guy (my brother Mike) frantically stapled the next post. I killed Every time Mike hammered his thumb, we would switch. Then, you can tighten the wire to fit by kinking it with a set of lineman pliers (pictured). Complete the fence by stapling the poultry netting.

Level the tops.

Because our holes were all different depths (remember the rocks), our posts were all different heights. They had to be equal. The only question was what does it mean? The ground collapsed. Should the posts be made for this – that is, should the lower posts be higher so that the upper ones are in a plane? Or should they all be the same height, so they sloped along the hill? I chose the latter. No need for a tablet.

That day, Andy was back, and he sounded them all at about nine feet with my Sawzall. We saved the knobby tops for some future use, which has yet to be determined.

Run the wire.

A strong deer can jump eight feet from a dead spot, so we ran a 16-gauge galvanized steel wire around the tops of the posts, just wrapping once and extending it to the next (pictured). On the last post, I wasn’t sure how to finish, so I just wrapped it ten times and it didn’t go off.

Create a gate

You need the top, bottom, and two sides plus hinges and some poultry netting. Some cedar planks left over from the barn door repair made the bottom and sides. The top was scrap. I braided the four edges together and added a diagonal for strength. My door is a parallelogram, due to the slope, and so far it’s working fine. I’ve never put in a latch, so we kick the river rock back and forth to keep it closed or open.

What type of fencing is best for gardens?

Vinyl fencing is a great choice for gardens because it’s naturally durable and weather resistant. It won’t need to be painted or stained over time because it’s designed to maintain its color with no maintenance.

What is the easiest fence to put up?

The quickest and easiest fence to install is with wood panels. The wood panels are not always the cheapest, but they save time rather than installing the rails and pickets separately.

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