Install a Critter-Proof Garden Fence

Install a Critter-Proof Garden Fence

When you’re Elmer Fudd, you thwart carrot thieves by sending an Acme Pest Management robotic after Bugs Bunny. When you’re a seasoned gardener, you realize that fencing in your tomatoes, peppers, herbs, and different edibles is the way in which to go. Our model fends off two kinds of varmints, with broad, welded-wire mesh panels to maintain out rabbits and canine, and tighter, PVC-coated galvanized wire buried beneath to stymie subterranean-bound woodchucks and moles. A gate at every finish means that you can wheelbarrow in backyard amendments like mulch and compost. This Previous Home senior technical editor Mark Powers exhibits you how you can use widespread constructing supplies—and never mechanical mercenaries—to protect and defend your hard-grown produce.

Stress-treated 44 posts, $14 every, and 24 rails, $4.37 every; pressure-treated publish caps, from $4; gate {hardware}, $20; welded wire, $62 for 50 ft; all, The Residence Depot. PVC-coated wire, $110 for 100 ft; Critterfence.

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Step 1

Critter-Proof Fence Overview

Illustration by Gregory Nemec


  • Day 1: Set up posts and rails (Steps 2-11).
  • Day 2: Connect mesh and construct gates (Steps 12-18).

Critter-Proof Fence Reduce Checklist

  • 4×4 nook posts: ten @ 10 ft (or 12 ft if the grade is severely sloped)
  • 2×4 rails: sixteen minimize to suit
  • 2×6 gate high rail: two @ 34 inches
  • 2×4 gate stiles: two @ 57½ inches
  • 2×4 gate backside rail: two @ 34 inches
  • 2×4 diagonal brace: two minimize to suit
Step 2

Sq. the Corners

Photograph by Wendell T. Webber

Decide, roughly, the 4 corners of the fence. Use 2-foot-tall stakes and mason line to mark all 4 sides, extending the traces a number of ft at every finish in order that they cross on the corners. Then sq. the corners utilizing the Pythagorean theorem: Hammer in a stake 3 ft from one pair of intersecting traces, touching the string; then, utilizing a felt-tip marker, mark 4 ft from the identical nook on the opposite line. Measure between the stake and the mark, as proven, and modify the marked line till the space between the 2 is 5 ft. Repeat the method to sq. the remaining corners.

Step 3

Discover the Top

Photograph by Wendell T. Webber

Grasp a string degree on every line and degree it about 12 inches off the bottom, to characterize the highest of the decrease rail. Then, if the grade is degree, notch the situation of the strings on every stake. If the backyard slopes, measure between degree traces and the bottom at every nook; if the distinction between the 4 is greater than a foot, use 12-foot posts within the low corners (as we did).

Step 4

Mark the Put up Places

Photograph by Wendell T. Webber

Use spray paint on the location of every nook publish, as proven. Then measure off the string traces to find out the areas of the sphere posts 8 ft away and mark the areas simply contained in the strings. Lastly, in the midst of two sides, mark areas for the gateposts 36 inches aside, permitting for a gate broad sufficient to accommodate a wheelbarrow.

Step 5

Prep the Postholes

Photograph by Wendell T. Webber

Untie the traces and dig 8-inch-diameter holes deep sufficient to get beneath the frost line and to bury no less than one-third of the publish. Pour 6 inches of drainage stone into the underside of every gap and tamp it utilizing the tip of a publish.

Step 6

Dig the Trenches

Photograph by Wendell T. Webber

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The PVC-coated galvanized wire sits beneath grade in a trench that runs exterior the posts. Lease a trencher for giant tasks, or use a spade and a trenching shovel for smaller ones. With a trencher, information it so it digs simply exterior the postholes, chopping down about 18 inches. Then use a spade to excavate the strip between the footings and the ditch down 12 inches, making a stepped ditch.

Step 7

Mark the Corners

Photograph by Wendell T. Webber

With a publish on a piece floor, use 2×4 scrap to mark the notch location for the higher rail 15 inches down from one finish. Then make a mark for the decrease rail 56½ inches away. Repeat the method on the opposite nook posts, utilizing a rafter sq. to hold the marks round corners. On the sphere posts and gateposts, mark just one face.

Step 8

Reduce the Notches

Photograph by Wendell T. Webber

Use 2×4 scrap as a gauge to set the depth of the round noticed. Make a number of passes between the rail marks on two adjoining faces of the nook posts. Knock the slivers free with a hammer, then clear out the notches with a chisel, as proven. Reduce the sphere posts and gateposts the identical manner.

Tip: To scrub out a notch, relaxation the chisel’s wider face on the wooden. Transfer the innovative in an elliptical sample as you push the chisel ahead.

Step 9

Sink the First Nook Put up

Photograph by Wendell T. Webber

Restring the stakes utilizing the notches made earlier. Drop a nook publish into its gap and add or take away stone till the underside of the decrease rail notch meets the string. The faces of the notched sides ought to contact the string. Use a degree to plumb the publish in each instructions and backfill the footing with a combination of excavated earth and stone, tamping it with a scrap of 2×4.

Step 10

Set the Subsequent Put up

Photograph by Wendell T. Webber

Drop a subject publish within the subsequent gap. Screw a 2×4 rail into the higher notch of the primary publish quickly and match its unfastened finish into the matching notch of the second publish. Verify the rail with a degree, as proven, and add or take away stone from the opening for the second publish till the rail involves degree. Plumb the publish, with its face touching the string, then backfill it. Take away and reuse the momentary rail to set the remaining posts. For the 2 hinge posts, use fast-setting concrete as backfill.

Step 11

Connect the Rails

Photograph by Wendell T. Webber

As soon as all of the posts are set, place an higher rail with one finish within the nook publish notch, leaving area for the perpendicular rail, and the opposite finish within the notch of the subsequent publish. On the overhanging finish, make a cutline on the rail on the midway level of the notch. Take away the rail and minimize it to size with a round noticed. Align the rail within the notch utilizing a 2×4 scrap, as proven, then connect it to the nook publish with a pair of 3-inch deck screws. Connect the unfastened finish with two extra screws. Repeat the method for the remaining rails, skipping over the area between the gateposts.

Step 12

Staple on the Higher Fencing

Photograph by Wendell T. Webber

Start by attaching the fencing to a nook publish, hammering in ¾-inch galvanized staples each 18 inches alongside its minimize finish, so the highest lands in the midst of the higher rail. Staple the fencing alongside the higher rail, unspooling the roll as you go. Use linesman pliers to trim it and staple it alongside the alternative nook publish. Then fasten it to the center posts and decrease rail. Repeat the method for the remaining sides, skipping the area between the gateposts.

Step 13

Add Decrease Fence

Photograph by Wendell T. Webber

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Use linesman pliers to trim the PVC-coated galvanized wire so long as a fence aspect. Staple the highest fringe of the wire to the decrease rail and posts. Push the fence down 12 inches into the ditch, and use your hand to crease the wire away from the posts, forming a shelf that can stop any burrowers from getting beneath, then bend the wire down into the channel. Repeat for all sides of the fence, then backfill the ditch with soil.

Step 14

Assemble the Body

Photograph by Wendell T. Webber

Again on the work floor, overlap the gate rails with the stiles, protecting the width about 1 inch narrower than the space between the gateposts and as tall because the area between the rails. Sq. the corners with a rafter sq. and mark the place the elements overlap. Set the round noticed depth to chop half the thickness of the fabric and notch half-lap joints with a sequence of cuts, as proven. Clear the notches as earlier than, then screw the elements along with a pair of 1¼-inch deck screws at every joint.

Step 15

Arch the High

Photograph by Wendell T. Webber

Drive a nail into the middle of the 2×6 high rail, set in barely from the highest edge. Add one nail on every stile, centered on the rail’s width. Bend a size of scrap over the middle nail and beneath the tip nails; hint the curve, as proven. Reduce the arch with a jigsaw, then spherical the perimeters with sandpaper.

Step 16

Add the Brace

Photograph by Wendell T. Webber

Relaxation a 2×4 diagonally throughout the gate with both finish roughly centered on a nook. Mark the place the brace overlaps the gate, as proven, and switch the mark up the perimeters of the brace. Reduce the brace’s angled ends with a round noticed, then screw by it and into the gate with 3-inch deck screws. Cowl the gate with welded wire mesh utilizing staples. Repeat this course of to construct the second gate.

Tip: To stop the gate from sagging, screw the brace in so the decrease finish factors towards the decrease hinge.

Step 17

Shim the Gate

Photograph by Wendell T. Webber

Place the gate within the opening. Add spacers beneath till the gate’s decrease rail is degree with those on the fence. Middle the gate within the opening by tapping shims in between the posts and the gate, as proven.

Step 18

Add the {Hardware}

Photograph by Wendell T. Webber

Place the strap hinges on one aspect of the gate and mark the situation of the screws on the rails and hinge publish. Take away the hinges, drill pilot holes, and fasten the {hardware}. Repeat the method for the latch, as proven, then set up the second gate the identical manner. End the posts off with caps and finials connected with stainless-steel nails or building adhesive.

Need assistance eliminating pests? Try our critiques on skilled pest management firms.

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