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Building A Garden Fence

How To Build A Panel Style Garden Fence

Rabbits, woodchucks, and deer. All three are not necessarily a welcome site for most gardeners to see in their garden. If they can catch them in the act that is. Oftentimes it is the decimated aftermath of leaves, half eaten crops, and plant stems that show any evidence of them being there. If you’ve had this happen to you, I don’t have to explain the sunk feeling you get in your chest after spending months nurturing and growing the vegetables to only be eaten by uninvited guests! No plant is safe. For example, they say rabbits do not like peppers, and yet two years ago, before my temporary fence was in place these were the first things to be eaten. I came out to the garden to find the peppers laying where the plant used to be!

As I mentioned, after that I put up a temporary fence. The fence was just 14 gauge hog wire measuring about 3 ft. tall. The trouble with this fence was that the grass would grow up through the wires, which did not look good as the season went on. Another issue was that the stakes keeping the fence in place were not very strong. They were those green plastic stakes one of which nearly took out my eye as I climbed into the garden one evening. Without a door, the fence was more of a challenge for us then it was for the animals. My wife, more than once, caught her foot on the fence climbing in and was brought to the ground pretty hard. The other inconvenience was that we would take the fence down and put it back up each year. The positive thing about the fence is that it worked for keeping the rabbits out. I did however watch a woodchuck early in the season, lift up the fence with it’s face, and crawl under. When I went out there to chase him away, he lifted it back up and ran out. If only I had that on tape…

Here is what the old fence looked like and the scene where the fall happened.

This year I decided it was time to build a permanent fence. One that not only looked good, but served its purpose of holding some of these animals at bay. The end result was a fence that contains a 1350 square foot area.

As far as the design, I wanted something that was attractive but effective. Watching an episode of “Yard Crashers” on HDTV, they built a hog wire panel fence that I thought would be perfect for the look of the garden I was trying to achieve. This became the inspiration for the design of my fence.

From here I drew up plans for the amount of panels/posts needed and what they would look like. Originally I looked at using cedar for the posts and panel wood, but after getting some quotes, I decided that this would be too expensive and I had better go with pressure treated wood, staining it a cedar color instead. Additional work, but at a more affordable price.

The entire fence would be going from a 40′ x 28′ rectangle to a slightly larger 45′ x 30′ shape with plenty of room to walk around all of the boxes.

 



Some people may look at this and consider it a garden expansion, I ague that it was not intentional!

Here is a rough sketch of the panel and panel with posts that I used as my template.

 

The steps to build the fence were rather easy, but actually doing them, was definitely challenging. If you are thinking this will be a nice Saturday morning project, think again. It does take quite a bit of effort, but worth it nonetheless. The steps I followed were:

  1. Gather Materials
  2. Gather Tools
  3. Cut Boards
  4. Stain Boards
  5. Assemble Panels w/ Hog Wire
  6. Measure and Dig Holes/Trench
  7. Place Posts and Attach Panels
  8. Attach Door
  9. Finishing Touches

Here are some pictures from the build.

First Panel Assembled

Post/Panel Mock Up

Removing Sod

My local big box store had a brand new sod cutter for rent that made this go really fast. It cut well, but let me tell you, sod is not light. Moving it all was a workout for sure.

Digging Post Holes

By far the most dangerous tool we rented was an automatic auger. This thing worked well until you hit a rock. Once in contact with a rock, it would send a shock wave up and toss the user around like a rag doll. My yard must have previously been a quarry as every hole was littered with rocks.

My dog decided the post holes we dug were not good enough and decided to lend a paw.

Placing Posts and Panel

You have to go one panel and post at a time in order to make sure the measurements add up and everything is straight. This was the most time consuming part. Each post was cemented in to hold strong for years.

Corner Section Finished

 

After a couple weekends of work, a few helpers, a pack of beer, and we managed to get the fence finished. It may not be a perfect straight line (not the beer’s fault), but quite close. This is what it looks like now:

Since completing the fence, I can happily say it is keeping out most animals. I say most because we did have a small bunny who is still small enough to fit through the fence. See what I’ve done to stop that in my An Unwanted Guest post.

 


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About the Author

Geoff has been growing plants and vegetables consistently for the last 6 years and actively experiments with, and writes about, all aspects of gardening.

2 Comments

  1. Geoff, your Garden is Beautiful. Love the look of the Fence.
    Grandma

    • It’s come along way from the war zone look we had going when the fence was being built. That’s for sure. Thank you!

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