Category Archives: Garden

Fence Completed

So I got the fence finished. I will get some photos soon. Getting the rails up was relatively easy. I put a clamp on one post, approximately the height I wanted the rail, then with the one end of the rail resting on the clamp I set the other end by securing it with the saddle at the required height. Then I removed the clamp, set a magnetic level on the rail, got the level, checked the height and set that end with another saddle. I had the gate frame in position and ran the rails straight across it. Then I secured the saddles on the fence frame and cut the rail between the gate frame and the posts.

Putting up the fence sheets was a bit more difficult, because I was doing it on my own and the sheets can be cumbersome. I used clamps again to hold things in position. It took a bit of fiddling to get the sheet at the right height and sitting level. Once that was done it was just a matter of running the self drilling screw in through the sheet to the rail. The next sheet is clamped to the previous one and the height and level checked again before screwing the sheet on.

Running the fence around the corner can be done a number of ways. If you can finish the positioning of the sheets so that the edge is just past the corner post you should be able to set the next sheet (around the corner) so that the edges overlap. Another method is to bend the sheet around the corner. I am not sure that this could be done with any pattern other than corrugated. Bending the sheet around the corner is mostly a case of brute strength and gentle persuasion.

Originally I wanted the gate the open onto the sheeted side of the fence, but the gate I used was not designed for that. It could be swung open but the rails would get in the way and stop it opening more than about 45 degrees. I switched the latch around and it now opens the other way.

So the fence is completed and I have put a temporary fence across to the house to stop the animals wandering off.

We have started working on the front garden now, so I will start a new post to document that.

Where to Start

When I look at the garden I see a vast wasteland. Where should I start to get it under control? Realistically I can’t start anywhere at the moment because pretty much everything I need to do will cost, and we don’t have any money at the moment.

So what can I do to move things along? Well the first thing to do is to break the task into smaller sections. The obvious break is to separate the front garden from the back garden. Kerrie has decided that for a time being we can work on a basic front garden consisting of lawn. That is good as it gives me a target. I still can’t do anything because I need to get some organic material and turn it through the front yard. Then I can prepare for the lawn.

I was planning a temporary fencing of the patio area to allow the cat and dog out and not have them run away. We decided to get the patio concrete done at the same time as the driveway, so that fencing idea was no longer workable (no dirt for them). I have decided to move to a more permanent fencing solution, with a temporary garden shed. See the post in Starting Up for how the fence installation is going.

Preparing for the Fence

I think most people will go looking for the fence, select the style of fence, material, colour and capping and then consider how it is going to be installed. A professional fence will consider the installation as part of the design, because some fences will fit better in certain conditions. For me the type of fence was easy. Whatever was cheapest, as this was originally going to be a temporary installation.

That meant Post and Rail. Kerrie decided on colour to match the roof. The material is colour bond in traditional corrugated style. Some shopping round on the internet and a couple of phone calls and the best deal was from Bargain Steel Centre.

Getting a string line for the main fence line was easy, as I wanted it 3 meters from the boundary fence. I wanted the end of the fence to turn a right angle and go the the boundary fence. The easiest way to do that was with the 345 measurement. If one leg of a triangle is 3 units and the right angle leg is 4 units the distance between the 2 legs (the hypotenuse) is 5 units. Measuring along 4 meters from my end point on the boundary fence and 5 meters from from that point back to the string line gives the point at which the fence turns the right angle.

This time around I had to dig the post holes by hand. About 30 minutes per hole, compared to less than 5 minutes each with a post hole digger. A lot more blisters too. I dug the post holes yesterday and positioned the posts. I had got the centering of the post hole wrong a two of them so I dug some more out of those ones to allow me to centralise the post in the hole.

I found the easiest way to position the post was to have a level on the post and move the post till the post just touches the stringline when the post is upright in that plane. Get some filling in to hold the post in that position and then adjust the post in the 90 degree plane.

At that point you need to get your final filling in. Usually this would be concrete, but a mix of sand and stone can also be used. If using the sand and stone ensure that the mix is tamped down firmly.

Next up will be setting the rails in position.

Post and Rail Fencing

OK fencing. Not a job I have done a lot of. A month ago I replaced the fence on one side of my old house. I did it myself to help save my neighbour some money. He is a pensioner and could not afford a lot for the fence. Doing it myself allowed me to go for a slightly higher quality in materials. It took me a weekend to remove the old fence and build the new one. I had help digging the new post holes by a way of a motorised post hole digger and assistance from my son. My partner Kerrie provided assistance on the Sunday to install the new panels. The fence was 23 meters so it was a reasonable length.

The fence I am doing now is about 12 meters of post and rail, but the preparation is the same. Someone (probably dad) once said to me if you get the preparation right the rest is easy. As far as fencing is concerned the preparation includes:

  • creating a string line to follow.
  • understanding the lie of the land (ups and downs)
  • ensuring that right angle corners are right angles
  • digging the post hole in the correct position to allow the post to be centralised
  • getting the posts completely upright
  • getting the post heights correct
  • aligning the rails correctly

If this is done right then you end up with a fence that helps define the garden rather than just create a boundary,   although it will do that too.