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Garden Fence Tips

These tips will help you learn about different fencing options for your garden and give you ideas on preventing animals from making themselves at home among your flowers and crops.

Garden with Wire Fencing.

Preventing Animals from Entering Your Garden

Deterring animals is one of the best uses for a fence. Below are some tips to consider when fencing your garden. In all applications, the fence fabric can be placed belowground for added protection against burrowing animals.

There are two factors to consider when deciding on how deep to bury your fence: the animals in your region and the desired height of your fence.

To install a rabbit guard, you can use either a 3-foot or 4-foot post. The difference is that when you use the 3-foot post, you'll have unsupported fabric at the top 4 inches of the fence. With 4-foot posts there will be 8 inches of post above the fabric. Using 4-foot posts may pose a danger to persons due to the posts being exposed. In the case of all other products, the post should be 1 foot longer than the fence fabric for light-duty posts and 2 feet longer than the fence fabric for heavy-duty posts.

When deciding on the fence height, remember this will affect the opening and closing of your garden. Higher fences require either gates or adaptable fence post tabs that easily open and close. A 24-inch to 28-inch fence fabric can be sufficient to keep many animals out. Dogs and other jumping animals may require taller fence structures. And when it comes to deer, a wider netting material is vital to restricting access.

Caution

Before beginning any excavation, check for underground utilities. Call the North America One Call Referral Service at 1-888-258-0808 (or just dial 811) for a national directory of utility companies.

Tips for Installing Garden Fence Posts Properly

Regardless of what type of fence you're installing, the most important step is properly positioning your fence posts. Fence posts provide stability and longevity to your fence. Here are four tips to help you position your fence posts.

  • Garden fence posts should be positioned no more than 6 feet apart. This distance ensures proper holding power for the fence fabric. If you choose to place the posts closer together, consider the fence fabric and the strength of the materials.
  • Both light-duty and heavy-duty posts have tabs along the above ground section, allowing you to anchor or attach the fence at multiple places on the post. If you wish to adjust these tabs, simply use a screwdriver or hammer to open or close the tabs.
  • Light-duty posts can be used on the straight sections of the fence. Light-duty fence posts have their spade positioned 12 inches above the bottom of the post, leaving 1 foot less than the total length available aboveground for attachment.
  • Heavy-duty posts should be placed at the corners of your fence. This provides added support to the anchor points. These posts have their spade positioned 18 inches above the bottom of the post, leaving 1½ feet less than the total length available aboveground for attachment. This positioning of the spade requires the post to be driven to a greater depth and increases the stability of your fence. The chart below will help you determine which posts work with which fencing.

 

Garden Post Size Chart


Sizes
Available Aboveground Height
Rolled Fence Size to Use
Light-Duty Post
3 ft.
2 ft.
24 or 28 in.

4 ft.
3 ft.
28 or 36 in.

5 ft.
4 ft.
48 in.

6 ft.
5 ft.
60 in.
Heavy-Duty Post
5 ft.
3 1/2 ft.
36 in.

6 ft.
4 1/2 ft.
48.in.

7 ft.
5 1/2 ft.
60 in.

Finding the Right Garden Fence

When exploring different garden fences, it's important to understand standard fence terminology. For instance, garden fences are measured by the gauge of the wire. The size of the gauge wire depends on the width of the fence. The higher the number, the more narrow the gauge. Very fine wire (27-gauge) requires more passes through the drawing than a 4-gauge wire.

Fencing is also measured in mesh, which can vary from one type of fence to another. A mesh is a semipermeable barrier of metal fibers. Meshes are commonly used to screen out unwanted things, like rabbits, rats and deer.

Here are some fence options to consider:

Chain-link fencing is an economical way to enclose an area, restrict pets or keep unwanted creatures out. Chain-link fencing is made of galvanized steel and comes in rolls from 25 feet to 100 feet long and 4 feet to 6 feet high, with prefabricated gates up to 5 feet wide. Vinyl-coated chain-link fencing is also available.

Welded wire fencing is perfect for keeping larger animals out of gardens or certain areas of your landscape. With a heavier wire gauge, this fence is strong and durable. Like chain-link fencing, it's also available with a vinyl coating, usually green or brown. And when combined with rail fencing, the welded wire provides a reinforced pet containment area. This material comes in a 14-gauge wire mesh 2-inch-by-4-inch, 36-inch, 48-inch, or 60-inch widths.

Poultry netting, or chicken wire, may be the most economical type of containment fence available. As the name implies, it's generally used to fence in chickens. It's also a good choice for small dogs, rabbits and other small pets.

Rabbit guard is the truest of garden fences because the mesh varies greatly. With smaller openings at the bottom and increased mesh openings as you move up the fence, this fencing system is perfect for keeping small animals out of your garden. With a galvanized finish, this fence is made to last longer and provides protection from rust. This 16-gauge wire mesh varies with 1-inch, 2-inch, and 4-inch, openings in 28-inch, to 50-foot rolls.

Electric fencing is normally used to contain livestock. With low-output chargers, electric fencing can be used in residential settings for pet containment or keeping animals out of garden areas.

Electronic pet containment fencing is an excellent choice for anyone who needs to contain pets without any visible sign of a fence. The system consists of a thin gauge wire, a transmitter and a collar. You can form the fence into any shape you want, covering an area up to 25 acres. Put the collar on your pet, and if it gets close to the fence's perimeter, the pet receives an audible warning signal through the collar. Wireless pet fencing is also available.

Hex netting is a lighter, inexpensive option for protecting a garden. For those looking to keep animals out, the smaller mesh size of the 1-inch hex netting is superior to the 2-inch version. This woven product is made with galvanized wire making it pliable, easy to handle and weather-resistant. This 20-gauge wire comes with a mesh of 1-inch and 2-inch, 24-inch, 36-inch and 48-inch widths in 25-foot, 50-foot, and 150-foot rolls.

Good to Know
Check your local building codes or Home Owner's Association regulations before installing a fence.