How to Build a Garden Fence
Before planting the garden having Free Range Chickens wasn’t a big deal. They would quietly stroll around the yard uttering the occasional crow or cackle. They’d scratch and peck through the yard searching for tender grasses, bugs or seeds. Our flower beds are a mix of established Iris, Azaleas and rose bushes so they were in no danger of chicken assault. The tender flowers on the homestead are contained in large pots placed on the various decks that surround the house. We didn’t really need a garden fence.
Vegetable Garden Planting
The first garden produce we planted was cole crops. The chickens didn’t seem to notice. The next day we planted onion starts and again the chickens were oblivious. This all changed when the beets and carrots started to come up and then we planted tomatoes and peppers. It seems once the chickens discovered there were tasty treats in what was once a dead zone of leaves and mulch everything we’d planted was fair game. What they didn’t peck at they tried with all their might to uncover. This led to a week of confinement that I’m sure if chickens could blog would paint me as the villain.
We Need a Garden Fence
As I sat by the tattered garden putting together the plan in my head and even later on paper, I was focused on building a permanent fence. The fence in my head would be complete with wooden corner posts set in cement and braces to prevent the heavy weight of stretched fence from pulling them over. I would need 4 gates so that I could enter and exit from any side I happened to be on. This fence was going to cost nearly $800 in materials alone (I don’t get paid for labor).
Why Does the Garden Fence Have to be Permanent?
I was struggling to justify the cost and effort of building such a monument while searching for other alternatives for posts and fence materials. My wife asked the simple question, “Why does it have to be permanent?” Good question; we are in the process of planning to move in the near future. This means that there will be new owners of this fence. We could have to negotiate some remedy if they don’t like where or how I build it. A temporary fence would serve our needs and is easily moved by us or the new owners. If they do like where it is they can make it permanent easy enough (or I will but on their dime).
With my list and drawing in hand I headed into town early on a Friday morning. I really enjoy spending a morning in a big box hardware store. First I needed a cart but they didn’t have any lumber carts on the end of the store I entered. A short trek to the lumber side of the store to acquire a cart and I was ready to roll. This isn’t the first time I’ve done this sort of thing so I knew better than to load up my cart with lumber then try to navigate the hardware aisles with 100 pound 8 foot long train car. Problem is the hardware I needed was at the other side of the store, you know, where I originally came in. With gate hardware and screws bouncing around (and off) my buggy I made it back to the lumber side. The good news is I’d only been in the store for an hour.
Lumber: Aisle 1, or 4, maybe 2
My plan calls for building my gates using 2×3 lumber. They’re cheaper and lighter than 2×4’s and for my purposes plenty strong. Problem is that they hide them away from most of the other dimensional lumber. I eventually found them and picked through the stack until I had ten good boards (one perk of loading your own).
Excuse Me Sir, Where is the Fencing?
Once I had lumber on my cart I looked in the building materials section for fencing. It was no where to be found. I was starting worry that I’d never get out of the store so I asked an associate for the location. Oh, its in the garden area, on the other end of the store again. I found and loaded the fence rolls with little issue. Thank goodness they don’t charge mileage on those carts.
Oh I Need Some of THAT!
On my way to the register to check out I remembered I wanted to look at mulch. There is a green waste dump in town where I can get wood mulch for free but I have to load it in the truck by hand and then shovel it into the various places I want it so I wanted to see if there was a bagged option that was appealing. Part of being efficient is saving time and my back when I can do so without adding prohibitive cost. In the case of the mulch I didn’t even make it to the cost comparison due to the fact that all they had was dyed one color or another. Even “brown” mulch had dye in it, seriously? As I was pushing toward the finish line one more time, trying to find an aisle I could get through dodging forklifts and small children I passed the super glue. Oh ya, I do need some of that.
Lunch with the Wife and Then Homeward
After a quick lunch I arrived home about 1:30 PM. A smart man would have already had corner locations marked out but I did not. I quickly gathered up four T-posts and stuck them in the ground where it “looked” like they should go. Then I used my 100 foot tape measure to measure and as a straight line to ensure I didn’t run into any obstacles. Oh, one word of caution here. If you are not 100% positive where your utilities such as electric, water, phone, cable, gas etc. are located DO NOT DIG OR DRIVE IN T-POSTS until you call someone to locate them for you (don’t ask me how I know). Once I was sure where I wanted my corners to be I drove in the posts with a T-post Driver. Then I supported the corner post with other T-posts driven in at an angle and wired to the main post.
Roll Out the Fence
This was honestly the hardest part to do alone. I had one 100 foot roll of fence and another 50 foot roll. I started out setting the big roll next to the first corner (end) post. Snipping off the last stay (vertical runner) allowed me to have a 2 inch wire to wrap around the fence. Hmm that’s confusing, here’s a picture.
Once I had the fence attached to my first post I rolled it (dragged, pushed, motivated it with verbal assault) to the next corner. I pulled it as tight as I could by hand and hooked it to the post by just pulling it around the 90* corner. I continued on around the second corner the same way and luckily the roll ended almost exactly where I wanted the gate. This meant I wouldn’t have to splice it. I ran a string line along the side where I wanted the gate to make sure my fence wouldn’t be crooked. With the string in place I was able to set the gate posts and tie off the end of the fence roll the same way I’d started. The small roll went up much the same way and viola! In a span of only 3 hours I had a fence.
I still need to build the gate. For now I just have the left over fencing stretched across the opening and wired to the post to keep the chickens out. I’ll link the gate build here when I get it done.
Thanks for stopping by. I hope you enjoyed this article.