How To Build A Garden Fence: Our Complete Guide
Gardening is one of the significant advantages of having a yard. With your own plot of green space, you can build a place to grow fruits and vegetables that are all yours. Of course, once you get started, you'll realize that plenty of animals want to call your produce theirs as well. It's a natural next step to learn how to build a garden fence.
Learning how to build a garden fence is genuinely quite easy. All you need is some wooden posts, some steel mesh, a couple of friends, and a free afternoon.
With the right techniques, you'll have the perfect all-purpose fence protecting your garden in no time. It will keep out creatures big and small, from deer down to rabbits, leaving your fresh greens ready for the kitchen.
Why You Should Protect Your Garden
You know you work hard for your garden. It's already tricky enough to make sure each plant gets the right amount of water and light to produce beautiful fruits and vegetables. Weeding, planting, and pest control already take up so much of your time.
So once your garden starts producing, why would you let deer, raccoons, and other creatures take advantage of your hard work? Especially when it took so long to get to that point?
Fencing in your garden will keep all sorts of animals away from your hard work. It'll make sure you'll be enjoying the literal fruits of your labor.
How to Build a Garden Fence
If your tool skills don't extend beyond a trowel and hedge trimmers, building a fence on your own may seem daunting. You probably want something that looks good and well-made. But you also don't want such a massive project that it takes away from what's important — your garden.
The good news is, it's not hard to learn how to build a garden fence. All it takes is a set of cedar posts, plus some steel mesh, poultry netting or hardware cloth, and fasteners such as zip ties, and fencing staples.
Of course, you will need a few additional tools. A hole digger or an auger will take care of the real heavy lifting. It'll save you the trouble of having to dig holes 30 inches deep.
Unless you want to anchor the poles in concrete, holes this deep will make sure your fence stays sturdy.
By following these instructions for how to build a garden fence, you'll have a simple but functional structure. It will keep your produce safe and won't be an eyesore.
Creating the framework
The most crucial first step in how to build a garden fence is plotting out your garden. It may seem obvious, but it saves you a lot of time in the future.
If you're building a garden and a fence at the same time, it's especially important to know where your planting beds will be. But, if you already have a garden, you'll have a pretty easy job of mapping it out.
Start with four-by-four cedar posts. These should be 10 feet long. It doesn't have to be cedar, but this wood is excellent for repelling bugs. Using your post-hole digger or auger (which you can rent from a hardware store), and dig down about 30 inches.
Place a layer of gravel for drainage and place the pole, then alternate between soil and gravel with a final layer of sand at the top. You may want to buy some extra poles for the corners. By cutting them at 45-degree angles, you can use them to bolster the edges.
Setting up the fence
The next part of how to build a garden fence is making the fence itself. A bunch of cedar posts will hardly keep out any animals!
With your steel mesh, wrap the posts on the outside. Fasten the wire to each post with staples. It's a job that will be easiest with multiple people. One or two can pull the fencing mesh taut while a third can hammer staples to each post.
That is especially helpful if you set the mesh two feet above the ground as Hobby Farms recommends.
It's a good addition no matter what, but only if you follow these next steps:
Dig a trench a foot deep around the perimeter of the fence. Attach the poultry netting or hardware cloth so that it covers the bottom two feet of the fence and the depth of the trench. There are plenty of animals that love to dig, such as squirrels. This step in how to build a garden fence is essential, but not obvious.
Of course, you'll need a way to get in an out of your garden. How to build a garden fence should also include a garden gate.
Building a garden gate couldn't be easier. In fact, it may be easier than the fence itself. All you need are four pieces of wood for a frame, poultry netting, and some hinges. Bolt them together and add a diagonal to support the wire. Then, just attach your door to the proper post. A simple latch is all you need.
In case your posts were not all at the exact same depth, you may want to clean the tops. Trim them all to be the same height for a clean-looking, uniform garden fence.
While eight feet is pretty good for a fence, deer are prodigious jumpers. They can easily clear that height at a standstill. So, run a wire around the tops of the posts to create a bonus barrier. Once all of these are done, enjoy your garden! You should be able to tend to your plants stress-free from now on.
Fun variations on the basic fence
The steps we discussed are an excellent, simple method for how to build a garden fence. But if you have a little more know-how or a little more time, you can really change up the way your garden looks. There are a lot of different fences that you can build to bring character to your yard.
If you have a little more time and more woodworking skills, you can clean up the most basic method. Treated wood and clean lines will make your garden look precise. With pieces such as packing pallets or reclaimed wood, your garden can take on a more rustic atmosphere.
Poultry netting goes a long way towards protecting your garden. You can use it to complement other fence styles. Split-rail fences, for example, only need a layer of wire behind them to keep small animals out. Just keep in mind that your chosen fence may not be tall enough to keep animals like deer out of your garden.
If you have issues with all sorts of creatures, the best method for how to build a garden fence is the one we discussed above. It blocks larger creatures like deer from getting into your garden. This fence also keeps smaller animals such as squirrels and rabbits from slipping through or digging under.
For those of you who don't need a fence big enough to keep out larger intruders but still want to protect from their smaller companions, don't worry. There are options for you.
While there are many methods for getting rid of rabbits, for example, fencing is the most effective. Your fence should have holes smaller than one inch in diameter. It will prevent even the smallest rabbits from sliding through.
Also, make sure you bury your fence no matter how tall you make it. A buried fence will thwart most burrowing creatures.
Another method you may consider is leaving the top 18 inches of your fence unattached to the posts. This will stay standing under normal conditions. But when a climbing animal like a raccoon tries to scale your garden fence, the floppy top part will fall and keep them from accessing your plants.
You may also want to consider some sort of electric fencing to deter roaming creatures. A single wire carrying a charge that's strung around the top will hold off most of your hungry visitors.
These simple additions may not be immediately apparent. But when it comes to how to build a garden fence, they make a world of difference.
Alternatives to the Garden Fence
If you decide this method for how to build a garden fence won't work for your applications, but still want to keep animals away, there are options. You can protect your plants using miniature barriers without fencing the whole thing in.
Some of these protect individual plants. For example, you can create simple enclosures for your plants using materials such as chicken wire and garden fabric.
A series of arching wire segments over your produce, especially low-growing greens, is one idea. When you wrap this frame in garden fabric, you have a breathable barrier that rabbits and other animals can't get through.
You can also focus on each plant itself. For taller plants, try a simple cylinder of poultry netting. This fine mesh of wires can be assembled for cents per cage. They're easy to construct and rearrange. Just remember to follow the same basic ideas you need for a larger fence.
Keep it tall enough and deep enough that nothing can get over or through. As additional insurance, keep it a few inches away from your precious plants, so animals don't just reach through the holes.
If none of these appeal to you, you can go for a more foundational option. A raised bed with a short fence on top can be quite effective in keeping rabbits and other smaller animals out of your garden. These raised planters are not only effective, but they are also neat and elegant.
Using raised beds will give a very organized look to your garden. Plus, they keep your food safe without you having to learn how to build a garden fence.
Sprays and deterrents
Deterrents are a popular option, although they are often temporary and less effective than other methods. Garlic clips and castor oil give off strong scents that ward off hungry mouths. So do products made to smell like predators, as well as hot pepper sprays.
While using a spray or repellent may seem like the best method to go with, it actually requires the most upkeep. Scent sprays fade away, so you have to keep an eye on them to make sure they don't fade. They're also just not as effective as a physical barrier. There's no guarantee that an animal doesn't just ignore the spray.
It can be an excellent way to keep your garden safe without learning how to build a garden fence. If you're determined to have a garden without fences, you'll have to be prepared to keep spraying regularly. Plus, you'll probably still lose more fruits and vegetables than if you had a fence.
Of course, there are also a few more natural ways you can prevent unwanted visitors from snatching up your hard-earned garden goods.
One of the first measures you can take is by using plants that simply taste worse to the animals your garden attracts. Of course, this only helps if you have plants that you're not planning on eating either.
For example, choosing a different type of flowering bush can keep deer at bay. Plus, you can build a border around your garden with plants the deer don't like.
If all that is a little too much planning for you, why not try going back to nature? Rather than meticulously planning layer after layer to keep your squashes uneaten, try relaxing a bit. Let nature take its course and grow up around the outer edges of your garden.
Natural, local plants are going to be favorites of the animals nearby. And, they're going to be less likely to stray out into the open to risk eating your vegetables.
That all works well if you don't want to learn how to build a garden fence. This method also helps if you're going to keep your yard and garden fence-free. It offers an attractive and natural alternative to a fence.
Helping Your Garden Thrive
Learning how to build a fence is the best and most effective way to protect what you grow from animals. While they may ignore sprays or natural barriers to your garden, it is impossible for them to find their way around a well-built fence.
When building your garden fence, just remember that there's no limit to what you can do. It can be as straightforward or as plain as you like. As for how to build a garden fence, there are only a few things that you really need to do.
First, make sure your fence is mapped for your garden. Give everything you're going to plant room to grow. Also, give your garden room to grow as well! You don't want to have to tear down your fence for an expansion when you could just build it bigger, to begin with.
Second, build your fence tall and deep enough to keep out all of the animals that may want to get in. A beautiful waist-high fence is little more than decoration, especially to deer, squirrels, and raccoons.
Finally, give your garden the credit it deserves. A simple post-and-wire fence like we outlined earlier is excellent for all-purpose gardens. It straddles the border between rustic and sophisticated.
But if you want to lean one way or the other, there's plenty of room for that as well. With a little extra planning and creativity, you'll find how to build a garden fence that's perfect for your yard.
What do you grow in your garden? What did you wish you knew before building your garden fence? Comment below and let us know!