Installing a Fence; Considerations for Purpose, Style, and Layout


A well-constructed attractive picket fence, garden fence, wood fence, (such as a pine or cedar fence) or privacy fence can greatly enhance the value and appeal of any property.

Before undertaking a fence construction project, important considerations

  • The main function of the fence

    1. security

    2. boundary
    3. confinement
    4. noise reduction

    5. privacy

    6. decorative appeal

  • The exact location of the property line

  • Any land use easements (right of use granted other persons who require passage through your property in order to access their own).

  • Any underground utilities present

  • Local zoning laws and building permit requirements

  • How plans will effect neighbors

  • Discussing fence building plans with neighbors

Planning Your Fence and Obtaining Materials

Once these aspects have been addressed, you are ready to plan type and design of fence, and purchase fence material. The type of fence you plan will be somewhat dictated by the purpose of the fence.

For privacy, a solid 6-foot fence with closely spaced pickets might be best; confinement or boundary fences, 4 to 5-feet tall. For decorative purposes consider a spaced picket fence; 4-foot tall or less, that still allows for surrounding views.

A shadowbox fence utilizes alternately spaced vertical pickets or slats on both sides of the support rails, and suits multiple purposes. Privacy, confinement and boundary are all provided, in addition to decorative appeal since it has an attractive look from either side. And since pickets are spaced on either side, this type fence also does not restrict air flow the way ordinary wood fences do.

One alternative to making a fence using individual planks or boards has become a popular trend. Easy to install fencing available in kits that include decorative fence panels sections in various styles; quickly installed to posts once properly set in the ground.

Installation Begins with Main Post and Line Post Placement

Whether installing a prefabricated kit or a more traditional wood privacy fence, the procedure on how to build a wood fence is much the same.

4X4 ACQ pressure treated wood fence posts are commonly used as main post and line post supports for most fences. Because these type posts make direct contact with the ground; using lumber with a wood preservative like ACQ is best. ACQ helps protect against wood decay and wood destroying insects.

Corners must be marked and a main post properly installed on each corner; use a post hole digger or post hole shovel. Special care must be given to ensure each fence post is accurately in place and plumb.

Dig holes a little wider at the bottom than at the top for a more “locked-in” fit; secure posts in place by filling the hole with pre-mixed concrete (widely available in 30 to 40 lb. bags.)

Open the bag of cement, pour contents into the hole, and mix with water according to bag instructions. Make sure that fence posts are securely in place, and remain plumb until concrete is set.

For a less permanent fence installation, posts may be positioned in holes, filled in with soil, and soil tamped and packed firmly around posts. 

Once main corner posts are secure, stretch twine tightly between them; this will be your mark line for line posts. Pay special attention to measurements for proper spacing when using prefabricated panels. While some panels may be cut to fit an irregular space, others may not.

Line posts are installed in the same manner as main posts, depending on permanent or temporary installation procedure. Remember to keep posts at a uniform depth as well as the same above-ground height.

Once posts are properly in place and cement set, post tops can be cut to compensate for any inconsistencies. Gate posts and fence gate hardware must be taken into consideration when deciding over-all measurements, layout, and when installing line posts.

Adding Rails, Panels, and Pickets

Once all posts are securely in place, support rails are added for traditional fences. For prefabricated kit installation, each fence panel is secured between posts. For a rustic or decorative rail fence, once rails are in place, fence installation is complete.

Depending on fence type, traditional or picket fence, pickets or slats are spaced and installed vertically to fence support rails. Once pickets or slats are securely fastened, the fence is ready for the paint or stain of choice and final weatherproofing.

Consider Hiring a Professional

While many DIY project homeowners are capable and knowledgeable about how to build a fence, many opt to enlist the services of a fence contractor.

An experienced fencing contractor can accurately layout the fence design, assemble the fence quickly. A fence contractor builder is also an expert when it comes to installing troublesome fence gates and fence gate hardware.

Want to locate an experienced Ontario fence contractor, a residential Quebec ornamental fence builder, an Alberta fencing professional, or a fence installation professional anywhere else in Canada quickly? is your best resource.

For any Canada fence project, homeowners can sign up for free, with no obligation, and post their project online with our easy-to-use tools. Reliable local contractors interested in the project will provide competitive bids in days, even hours after posting.

To sign up and find just the right fence installer for your project, To sign up and post a project, visit It's as easy as 1-2-3; post your project online, sit back, and collect bids!

Posted by: TrustedPros
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