Choosing Fence Panels
Here are some fairly basic things to consider when thinking of buying a new fence.
The old adage “good fencing makes good neighbours” may be true but it must surely be wise to tell your neighbours what you would like to do. When they realise that they will benefit from having the new fence themselves they will probably be enthusiastic.
Number of panels and posts required
Measure the length of the proposed new fence line. As a rule your new panels will be about six feet wide, so divide the length of your fence in feet by six to get the number of panels you need. For example, for a fence 48 feet long you will need eight panels. You will probably want new posts – eight panels will need nine posts if you want posts at both ends. The main alternative to panels is closeboard which is built in situ generally in 9ft sections using arris rails and morticed posts.
Types of post
You have a choice between the strength and longevity of concrete posts and the natural appearance of wooden posts. For wooden posts you have a choice of two sizes, 4 inch square or the cheaper 3 inch square. You also have a choice of post caps.
Using gravel boards underneath the fence panels is a good way of ensuring that your panels will not rot prematurely. Both wood and concrete gravel boards are available.
Remember, your fence is only as good as your posts, so if you opt for one of the more expensive panels use the appropriate posts. Don’t be necessarily fooled into using concrete posts. They have no give and if susceptible to strong winds, the panels can just bend and blow out and damage the concrete post. This is unfortunate as wooden posts can easily be repaired but concrete posts have to be replaced.
Methods of securing posts
There are two methods of securing your posts into the ground. One is to concrete them in, the other is to use metal post anchors. Metal post anchors are only suitable for wooden posts. Choose the correct length of post for the job. If you are concreting them in the posts will need to be 2 ft longer than the height of the fence. If you use metal post anchors the posts will not need to be as long. When I started fencing we never used to concrete in posts. We used to place the posts in 3ft into the ground and ram hardcore/soil in to secure the posts. The choice is obviously yours! The modern post anchors sound great but are almost useless in clay soils. With any wind the anchors can move in the wet clay.
Fitting Panels to Posts
For wooden posts fix the fence panels to the posts using panel clips to avoid splitting the wood. Concrete slotted posts do not need fixings – the panels slot straight into the posts. However panels in concrete slotted posts can chatter in the wind especially after they have weathered and shrunk a little. My choice has always been wooden posts preferably 4inch (100mm) with panels carefully nailed to them from both sides of the panel.
Repair of the posts
Wooden posts when snapped or rotted can be repaired with the use of a concrete spur. These are bolted to the offending post and set 2ft into the ground in wet concrete. Spurs are available to suit 3inch or 4 inch posts. Preferable fix with bolts rather than coach screws which can easily pull away in strong winds. Incidentally there are arris rail repair brackets to repair old damaged closeboard fencing
Below will be a few styles of fencing and gates that we have erected over the past few years.
The most popular fencing is by using a lap panel of either 3ft, 4ft, 5ft or 6ft high and 6ft wide. These can be mounted on timber or concrete posts. Timber does rot but does have a little flexibility. Panels just blow out of concrete posts in strong gale!
Closeboard fencing is the next most popular and is stronger than panels
Closeboard can be fitted into concrete posts with concrete gravel boards
Palisade fencing is popular with rounded or pointed tops
Post and rail is popular in rural areas. Posts can be sawn or cleft. stock netting is often attached to restrict unwanted sheep and even deer.
We obviously complete a lot of gates!
A very good local site from where we buy most of our gates is Beacon Fencing
Trellis is used considerably, either on its own or integrated with various panels
Below was some fan trellis to brighten up Plumpton racecourse
Just one of our many pergolas! I dont seem to have photographed many!
We use rolls of mesh in various sizes to make fruit cages or runs and to rabbit/dog proof stock fencing