Two weeks into the project and we finally started measuring the post locations for the front and sides where we planned on putting the spruce dogear. Keep a few things in mind when you’re gleefully running around the yard dreaming of the landscaping possibilities though or you might end up making a TON more work for yourself. Try and keep the fence line straight if you can. Not only does the end product look a lot better, but it makes measuring everything out and slapping in the panels easier too. Check the level of your yard. Is it flat or does it dip up and down? If it dips do you want to fill it in so the fence lies straight or do you mind if it steps down to conform to the ground? We spent a solid day of digging a trench in the front yard so that the front fence could go in level and we STILL needed to back fill about an 8 inch gap below the fence with sod. We really wanted a level front fence, but didn’t mind a step down effect along one side of the property.
After the initial recognizance the handy-dandy Really Long Measuring Tape came into play. This thing enabled us to start at one point and not only measure 8 feet evenly spaced across long distances but also kept a straight line. Another quick tip: make sure you measure appropriately for gates. If your securing your fence through the front panels into 4×4 like we did then your measurement from one post for line-through fence panel is going to go from the midpoint of one 4×4 to the midpoint of the next 4×4. This rule has two exceptions. The first exception is at the beginning of end of a fence line. Generally, you’ll want the panel to cover the full front of the 4×4 so these post will be set roughly 2 inches closer then the other posts. The other exception is your gate openings. You’ll also want the panels to cover the full front of the 4×4’s as the gate hardware is set on the inside of the timber. Trust me when I say that it sucks to realize this after setting a post. Moving them is not easy and you might not have the luxury of being able to move your anticipated gate location over one panel like we did.
Next on the agenda is actually digging some holes. Two feet deep and sometimes as wide as whatever rock we needed to unearth to make the depth possible. This is crucial folks. You don’t want to spend all this time and money for your fence to blow over because it didn’t go into the ground enough do you? Make sure it’s set at least 18 inches deep, preferably 2 feet – especially at the corners. Use the pry bar to loosen any rocks you might come across, the axe (or as we later learned, a saws-all) to break up any really thick rocks and the post hole digger to.. well… dig the post holes.