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Developing Your Fence Project

Before you even begin to dream up your fence, you need to establish a purpose. Am I fencing a garden, building a pet fence, trying keep the kids safe, containing livestock, or defining a boundary in the landscape? What ever your purpose, you will want to build a fence that meets your needs. You do not want to build a 4 board fence to keep pigs in or barbed wire fence to keep your children out of the pool. You will want to be happy with the end result once you have completed the project.

1. Purpose

2. Design of Fenced Area

Now that you know why you are building a fence, you will want to know how much space you are fencing in. This will directly impact how much time and money the project will take. It is best to make a rough sketch of the area and objects that exists near where you want the fence. Property lines, buildings, trees, and other items in your area my require rerouting a fence. Make sure you take into local codes, ordinances, and laws regarding fence construction. During the design phase, you will want to determine where you want to place your gates for access to your area. You may have to make several rough sketches before your final design.

Once you have sketched out your idea of a fence, you will need to mark your corners and measure the distance between them. This will let you determine how much fencing you will need.

Now that you know what is your purpose for the fence and the size of area you are wanting to fence in, then you can select a type of fence that fits your needs. If you go by cost, appearance, and level of maintenance, then the following table can help you select what you are looking for.

3. Determine Fence Type

You now have your purpose, your size, and your fence type. It is time to figure out what material you will need to build your fence. You have two choices for estimating your materials. You can either add the lengths of all your fence segments together and multiply by 10% to give an estimate for total length of feet required, or you can work each fence segment independently.

If you are working with panel segments, it will be easier to go segment by segment to avoid not having enough material at the end. It is hard to piece a section of fence together from the odds and ends of the other segments. The way to calculate the number of panels is the length of the segment divided by the length of the panel. Round each segment up to the nearest whole number. For posts, then the number of posts = number of panels + 1 + (2 * number of gates).

4. Material Needs

Calculating rolls of wire is very similar to calculating the number of panels. If you are working with single strand wire (like barbed wire) and you want multiple strands on the fence, then multiply the number of rolls needed by the number of strands. You can go segment by segment or do the entire length at once.

Total Rolls = (Fence Length/Roll Length) * number of strands

Counting the number of posts will be different. Since you usually stretch the wire between posts, each corner and gate will need to be braced to keep the wire tight. You will also need posts in between your corners anywhere from 8 to 50 feet apart. Terrain and fence type will play a large part in the number of posts. To get an initial estimate on the number of posts:

Posts = (x * Number of Corners) + (Fence Length/Distance between Posts) + (2 * Number of Gates) + (Number of mid braces * 3)

This number will usually be on the lower end of the number of posts required. Depending on the type of bracing used, the number X will range between 2 and 7.

To set the posts in the ground, a lot of time you can just dig a hole and bury them. In some cases, you may want to cement them into the ground. You also will want to secure the fence panels/wire to the posts. Talking to your local hardware store representative will be the best way to determine the amount of these smaller items required.

Design Fence Area
Determine Fence Type
Material Needs
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