How To Install A Fence On A Sloped Yard
While building a fence on a sloped yard seems tricky, it can be done with some time and effort. The easiest method is to outsource the task by searching for a “fencing company near me” and hire professionals for the job. When you’re trying to do it yourself, it’s best to take ample time planning the project before buying the materials and tools required for the job. Let’s check out how you can install a fence on a sloped yard.
- Factors for building a fence on a sloped yard – When you’re planning to build a fence on a sloped yard, you have to ask yourself a few questions and take certain things into consideration. First of all, you need to figure out how you want the top to look. Some people like to keep a leveled top despite sloped ground. Some have it angled and others like it stair stepped. If the slope angle is too high, keeping a straight top would be very difficult.
When you’re done planning the top, you also need to figure out the same for the bottom. Having a straight bottom on a slope is very challenging and requires a lot more materials. You also need to think about leaving any gaps at the bottom. You may want to leave out a few gaps to invite the local wildlife or block it off to keep out pests. Finally, you also need to figure out the cost-effectiveness of different approaches and choose one that best suits your needs.
- Contoured fencing – There are different methods for building a fence on a sloped yard and a contoured fence is a popular choice. You choose this method when you want to build an angled fence that follows the slope. However, this kind of fence is only possible on slopes with a slight incline.
As you plan out the fence, use 2 feet metal stakes on the ground to mark out the position of the fence. Start by driving a single 2 feet stake into the ground at the top of the slope. Go to the bottom of the slope and drive it in the second one. Now use a level mason’s line between those stakes and measure equally positioned gaps between those two. Mark those positions with tape. Next, use a plumb bob to transfer those tape marks to the fence line. Once that’s done, mark those positions with chalk. These would be the locations of fence posts.
Before you prepare the gear for digging out post holes, you need to figure out the frost line of your location. It’s how deep the ground freezes during the cold winter. The frost line guides you on the depth of the fence post holes. The posts need to dig deep below the frost line so that they stay stable and don’t move around due to expansions and contractions caused to the ground by temperature fluctuations.
Dig holes at the chalked positions and install your posts. The posts don’t need to be of the exact same height since they can be trimmed later on. To make your fence more stable, you can pour concrete into the fence post holes. Once the posts are installed, start measuring around 3 or 4 inches above the ground to lay the bottom rails. Mark the posts for bottom rail placement and measure out from that position towards the top to lay the top rails. Make sure to cut down the rails to make them meet at the middle position of the posts and secure them with 2-½ inch deck screws.
- Stepped hillside fencing – As the name suggests, stepped hillside fencing goes down the hill in a successive set of steps. The top resembles a staircase when seen from the lateral view. Homeowners opt for this kind of fence when the slope is too steep. A stepped fence offers more stability on slopes compared to contoured fences.
Similar to contoured fencing, drive a stake at the top and bottom of the slope and string them together with a mason’s line. After that, you can level the line with a line level. Measure out the line between the two stakes so that you can equally divide the distance for placing the fence posts. Use masking tape to mark those equal gaps on the line. The height gap between each fence post should be roughly equal to the height gap of the slope in that section.
For a stepped fence, it’s best to use coordinating posts and prefabricated panels. They come in pre-measured dimensions that work perfectly in this case and remove the hassle of a lot of complicated calculations. Once you get the right materials, start by digging holes and installing fence posts on the marked positions. Install the bottom and top fence and draw a line between the two. Now as you keep installing fence posts in between you can trim them to the perfect height.
As you install each post, level with the line and trim it off, move your way from the top to the bottom. Once the fence posts are installed, you’ll need to install the panels. This step would depend entirely on the type of premade panels you’ve bought from the supply store. Different types of premade panels come with specific installation instructions from the manufacturer and there’s no set standard. Everyone’s trying to innovate and improve the installation method to make it easier for regular homeowners.
If the panels don’t come with instructions, you can check out the manufacturer’s website or contact them for the installation procedure. In some cases, you may need to rent specialty tools for the job.
Fencing is quite straightforward when you can do it on a plain and level yard. However, it can be quite tricky when you have a steep slope. You can either follow the above-mentioned methods to build yourself a fence on a sloped yard or search for a “fencing company near me” and hire professional help.