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How to install fence panels

11 January 2021

Check out our guide and video tutorial to help you build a wooden panel fence, with the help of a friend, in just one day.

Putting up a new fence is a straightforward job for anyone with basic DIY skills. With two people it's even easier – with an extra pair of hands to help, it's quite possible to install a standard wooden fence in a day. Here's a video to show you how, followed by some detailed step-by-step instructions.

How to put up fence panels

  1. Prepare your ground and fence posts
  2. Measure out and dig post holes
  3. Install the posts
  4. Measure up the posts for the fence panels and attach them
  5. Add your finishing touches!

The process for this guide has used 6ft feather edge panels and 8ft dip-treated posts. We used postcrete to secure the posts in the ground.

Panels are typically 6ft wide and are available in a variety of styles. The principles for installation remain the same for each style.

You’ll need:

  • Drill
  • Screwdriver
  • Shovel for digging
  • Trowel
  • A spirit level
  • Postcrete or concrete to set your posts

Prepare your ground and fence posts

clear the ground for your fence installation
Make sure the ground you're working with is clear from weeds, obstructions and old fencing

  1. Measure out the length of your garden to figure out how many posts and panels you'll need. Remember to take the width of the posts into account with your calculations!

  2. Make sure the posts are at least 2ft taller than the panels. This makes sure there's a solid foundation for your fence.

  3. Clear as much of the area of your proposed fence as possible to give yourself more room to work.
  4. treating the ends of fence posts
    Proper treatment is essential for extending the life of your fence posts


  5. Before you install your post, treat the ends with a good quality spirit-based timber preservative to extend its life while it's in the ground.
  6. Measure out and dig post holes

    measuring fence posts
    It's vital to get your measurements correct so that you finish up with an even fence


  7. Measure and mark a 2ft point on your post. This needs to be at ground level when you put it in the earth, to give you the best possible anchorage.
  8. digging holes for fence posts
    Dig the post holes deep enough to make sure they'll stand up and be stable


  9. Dig a hole for each post that's two feet deep, and three times the width of the post.
  10. Mark out six foot lengths along your fence line with string to give you an idea of spacing, and to help you erect your fence in a straight line.
  11. Install the posts

    putting gravel into a fence post hole
    Gravel will help with stability and drainage


  12. Put three to four inches of gravel in the bottom of the post hole to act as ballast for the pole, and to help drainage, which helps the post last longer.
  13. installing fence panels
    Wooden stakes will help keep your posts upright until they can stand alone


  14. Put in your posts, and support them using wooden stakes either side to keep them upright while you prepare the cement. Use a spirit level to make sure they're exactly vertical.
  15. filling a fence post hole with postcrete
    Postcrete is ideal, as it's quick-drying and easy to use


  16. Fill the holes around the posts with cement. Postcrete is ideal, as it dries and sets within a few minutes. follow the instructions on the bag and add water. Wear goggles to keep dust out of your eyes.
  17. smoothing cement round fence post
    Make sure you slope the concrete so that water runs away from the post and not towards it


  18. Use a trowel to create a slight slope in the drying cement so that water runs away from the post. Fill in the hole. Repeat for every post, and remove the supports.
  19. Measure up for the panels, attach them to posts

    measuring fence post for panels
    Again, be careful and double check your measurements


  20. Measure and mark on the post where your panel clips should be positioned. Attach the clips at the top and bottom of each post using galvanised screws.
  21. screwing fence panel to attachment clip
    Putting in the panels is probably the most satisfying part of the job


  22. Slide the panels down between the clips, and secure them in place with screws. Double check that your panel is level.
  23. Add finishing touches!

    postcaps on a fence being screwed in
    Postcaps make your fence look better, as well as protecting your posts


  24. Finish the post by screwing on a postcap. Make sure you pre-drill the screw holes to avoid splitting the wood.
  25. finished fence with wood preserve
    Now your fence is finished, treat it with a good preservative to keep it looking great


  26. Treat your fence with a good quality wood preservative to ensure that it's protected from the elements. Check and re-treat annually to get the longest life from your fence.
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