Why do you need a fence?
You must have seen country or suburban houses on picture postcards that have neat little fences built around the yard that look really beautiful and secure. Well, even if you don't live in the country but have a backyard or a small garden, you could secure it by building a fence around it.
A lovely picket fence around your property will add real aesthetic value to your real estate. Wooden fences that line the perimeter of your house provide protection and beautify the landscape as well. Fences are ideal for landed properties and homes that lie so adjacent to each other that there is no room to place any other form of visible demarcation along their perimeters.
If you are looking to keep out people and secure your home against burglars, fencing your compound in is not the solution. You need compound walls made of brick and mortar to keep out unwanted human intrusions. However, these walls are costly to build and also shrink the already meagre space that is available if you live in a suburban home or on a housing estate. The other option is to go for a tall fence that seals your compound securely against trespassers belonging to any species.
The security element that comes with building a short picket fence around your home is minimal. At best, it would prevent the entry of small animals like dogs or cats into your backyard or front garden. Even that is suspect as most cats and dogs jump over these fences easily or can dig under them to find a way in. Come to think of it, the only beings that can be kept out of or secured within the perimeter of these fences are little kids and toddlers. Therefore, if you live in a suburban home and have small kids then having a short picket fence built around your home would be a great idea to prevent your toddler from trudging off onto the busy street.
If you seek privacy or seclusion, then building a fence around your yard that is high enough would prevent your neighbours from prying on you when you are taking a bath in your backyard or garden Jacuzzi. If you have a pool, building a high fence around your yard is all the more important to keep out small animals that could fall into the pool and die.
Ease of building
The good thing with fences is that if you have the time, energy, skill, and willingness, you could install them by yourself without seeking the help of a contractor or a specialist. You could buy all the material including the planks, the fence posts, and the fitting materials from the local home depot or home accessories shop. There are pre assembled kits which do not require you to do anything else but stick them in the ground along the perimeter of your land.
There are different types of fencing materials that are available to choose from and the vendors could assist you with your purchasing, if you have with you the dimensions of the fence that you intend to build. The building methodology is very basic and simple but the task itself is labour intensive and if you do not enjoy constructing then it is advisable to seek the help of experience builders who could do it for an affordable fee and save you the headache and backache associated with the task.
Of the many home improvement activities that you could undertake, building a fence is right up there next to painting in terms of being an enjoyable activity to engage in. More often than not, depending on the materials you have chosen, you would also need to paint the fence after you finish building it which makes it all the more enjoyable as you can customize it to how you want it.
Materials used for fence building
There are different kinds of building materials that you could use for building your fence. Wooden fences incorporate wooden planks that have either been pressure treated or are made of redwood or cedar which are both naturally resistant to attack by pests and corrosion. A wooden fence lends an unparalleled natural beauty to your home and is probably the cheapest fencing material available. Although the initial cost is low, a wooden fence requires periodic repainting and maintenance.
Vinyl or PVC fences are extremely durable and last a long time. They are also maintenance free and are not affected by the weather nor do they require periodic painting like wooden fences do. They are usually made of material that is tough enough to resist splintering and cracking. They also are smooth and scratch proof. The only issue is the cost of buying these fences. They cost much more than wooden fences but in the long run, the initial costs even out as you save on maintenance and painting.
Very ornate fences are made of aluminium and can be installed only by professional installers. The aluminium ornate fence is impervious to the weather and is durable and stronger than any other material. It is however the most costly fencing material available.
Different types of fences
There are many different types of fencing styles that you can choose from depending on your requirements. A high fence or a privacy fence would have its planks fitted tightly together, sparing no gaps that afford sneak peeks. These fences are perfect if you have a pool or a hot tub installed and require some privacy or if your front or back yard is not so pretty and you do not want the mess within to be revealed to your neighbours or passers by. They usually range between four and eight feet in height and could have gates and entries built into them.
Picket fences are short and cute but have more to do with making your home look good rather than securing it against intrusion or offering privacy. They rise to a maximum height of three to four feet and beautifully complement a front garden. A picket fence offers a lot of design variation since the primary idea is to improve the aesthetics.
How to build a wooden fence?
Poly Vinyl fences and ornate fences made of aluminium or other metal alloys should always be installed by professionals. Most of the vendors and manufacturers offer free installation and would probably do a much better job than you would if you were to install it by yourself. Moreover there is no reason for you to sweat it out and waste your time and energy when you can have a free installation.
If you enjoy building and are looking to build a fence by yourself and save on labour costs in addition to unleashing your creative fury, you should always go in for a wooden fencing. A wooden fencing is less complicated and does not require you to have expensive tools and equipment to get the construction underway.
The steps involved
The first step in building a fence is to accurately figure out the dimensions and perimeter of the fence that you need to build and then go buy the required material and tools for building. It would be a good idea to buy a little extra material as a precautionary measure in case you bungle in between and need to replace some parts.
There are three main components to a wooden fence. The first is the foundation which determines how strong or weak the fence would be. The second component is the fence post which gives shape and structure and holds the entire framework together. The third component is the fence plank or panel. Before you start building, ensure that you comply with local municipality rules and have either notified them or received permission to carry out the construction.
If you want to construct the house as a rectangle whose perimeter goes around your house, then start by choosing a corner of the rectangle and digging a hole that is deep enough to contain up to one third the length of the fencing post which you would install in the hole. Make sure you dig down this deep so that your fence is secure and stable.
You can hold the fencing post in place by filling up the base with concrete mixture or mortar or even dirt pack. Install the four fence posts in all the four corners in this manner while making sure they are properly erect and accurately aligned and do not lean or slant. You could use a string or cord that stretches from one fence post to the other to make sure they are properly aligned. Other fence posts should be installed in between the corners so that they are six or eight feet apart from each other. Make sure that you leave a gap to install a gate at the right place.
You could have a gate installed by fixing two fence posts at a certain distance from each other. The gate would be hinged from one of these posts and can be latched to the other.
The installation of the fence posts should be done a few days before you start installing the planks or the wooden panes that would form the body of the fence. Once the concrete or the base of the fence posts hardens and is well settled and strong, you can connect these posts using rails.
The rails connect one fence post with the other and are made of lighter wood. They can be nailed in or coated with wood adhesive and fitted into niches carved into the side of the fence post itself. There might be two or four horizontal rails that connect two fence posts and you can choose to attach them equidistant and parallel to each other or have two rails at the top and two at the bottom.
In order to install the planks which would sit adjacent to each other, a small trench or groove that is not too wide but is at least a quarter of a foot deep and stretches from one fence post to the other has to be installed.. The trench would form the base into which you can stick the fence planks when you install them so that they are held in position and have more stability.
These planks can be nailed onto the railing that stretches from one post to the other and you have to make sure that they are nailed in tight and leave no gap in between. If you are building a picket fence, then the gaps you leave have to be equidistant.
The last bit is painting the fence with a colour of your choice and voila you have a pretty strong fence around your yard that was built all by yourself.