How to build a fence: Tips and tricks for posts, straight lines, and more

In my world—and in this video—I have two versions of how to build a fence: Laser-straight and awesome-looking. And NOT laser-straight and NOT awesome-looking. This video has a few tips about achieving the first one and avoiding the second!

When I look at fences—yard fashion, if you will—I can tell if whomever installed it knew how to build a fence or just knew how to do some portions of the project. I’m pretty passionate about fences and I love building them; not just installing components, but building something cool and unique. Wood is my go-to for that.

The first thing I need for a straight fence is a straight line, which is easier said than done. What you really need is a straight layout line—I’m talking mason’s string here—that stays straight throughout the entire project.

I use a gas-pipe and hammer it in the ground and an angle. It literally drives in like a huge nail. I use a 4-pound club hammer to drive it straight.

how to build a fence

Build a fence straight from start to finish: Start with a straight line. And that starts with a solid anchor.

Then, of course, you need materials that last long and look good doing it so, I got creative with this fence design (Video here) and used round, pressure treated Southern Pine poles. As I say, I don’t just like this fence, I love it!

build a fence home improvement

Go straight with round posts!

It helps if you know how to tie a few knots like a bowline knot and a trucker’s hitch, which you can see in this knot-tying video. As it turns out, it helps in how to build a fence and about a million other DIY and home improvement jobs.

What goes up, must go down first, as in digging the holes. For some tips on that, may I refer you to this video on how to dig a hole.

Finally, positioning and stabilizing the posts in the holes helps quite a bit too. The 4-pound hammer comes into play again for love-tapping the post. Combined with 2-by bridging across the hole, it keeps posts in place while concrete cures.

how to build a fence

How to build a fence: Love taps with a 4-pound hammer help move the post around in the base of the hole.

I don’t want to lay it on too thick, but a straight, beautiful fence says a lot in very few words (fences don’t really talk, I know that). It says that whomever installed it knew what they were doing and were willing to do the work right and use the best, most beautiful materials. That says a lot about who built it and the owner of the yard it lives in.


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