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Install Bracing and Line Posts

If you're looking to protect your garden from uninvited intruders, installing a fence is a great solution. But before you install a fence, you need to install bracing and line posts. Follow this intermediate task to help you set the stage for your new fence.

Bracing and line posts

Tools & Materials

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Things to Consider

  • Check local building codes
  • Identify property line (surveyor)
  • Identify underground utilities
  • Obtain proper tools
  • Sketch a map of the project
  • Consider long-term additions
  • Make sure you have the correct product
  • Will this addition improve resale value?
  • Obtain cost share from government agency or adjacent landowner
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.
Wear heavy gloves, eye protection, boots and protective clothing when handling and installing brace wire and woven wire or barbed wire fencing.

Installing Bracing Line Posts


Step 1

Installing end posts: Locate placement of end posts, leave enough distance to wrap the wire around the post. Drive or auger & tamp both end posts (or corner posts) for the run you are fencing. Concrete or gravel may be used. Do not concrete within the top 4 inches of the ground. Posts should be set with 4 feet, 6 inches above ground and 3 feet, 6 inches below ground. Wet or sandy soils may require 5-6 feet in ground.

Step 2

Establishing the fence grade: Tie one end of a guide wire (12 ½ ga. high tensile wire works well) about 2 inches off the ground to one end post and stretch it to the other end post. Tighten it with a come-along or chain grab. It will now indicate your fence line. For shorter lengths a builders-grade string may work. For best appearance, adjust the height of the guide wire to roughly follow the terrain but aim to keep it 1-2 inches off the ground.

Step 3

Marking posts: Determine how high on the post you want the top line wire to be positioned (usually 4 inches from the top). Add this measurement (4 inches) to the 48-inch height of the fence and mark all posts at 52 inches from the top. (This mark will be aligned with the guide wire so the post height can be set without repeatedly looking for a tape measure.)

Step 4

Locating the brace post: Lay the cross member post against the base of the end post (along the guide wire.) Install the brace post at the end of the cross member.

Step 5

Installing the cross member: The cross member should be installed between the 2nd and 3rd line wire of the fence or 12 inches from the top for barbed wire.

Step 6

A) In the inside of the end post, drill a 3/8-inch by 2-inch deep hole at this location. For the brace post, drill a 3/8-inch hole all the way through the post.

B) Using a hammer, drive a 4-inch brace pin 2 inches into the center of the cross member. Also, start to drive a 10-inch brace pin into the hole through the brace post. (Note: Drive the pin from the side opposite the end post. Stop driving before the pin exits the post.)

Step 7

Obtain sufficient help to do the next step. Insert the 2-inch pin protruding from the cross member into the hole in the end post. Next, lift the other end to align with the 10-inch pin. Drive the 10-inch pin into the brace post flush. (Caution: Do not walk under the cross member until it is secured by the brace wire.)

Step 8

Installing the brace wire: Drive a staple about 1 inch into the end post, near ground level on the side opposite the cross member. Drive another staple on the opposite side of the brace post parallel with the top of the cross member. This will be used to hold the brace wire in place.

Step 9

Guide the brace wire through the staple in the end post, diagonally across and through the staple in the brace post, back through the staple at the bottom of the end post and back through the staple at the top of the brace post. This will provide a double wrap for the brace wire. Repeat if a triple wrap is needed. The brace wire needs to be tensioned to keep the brace intact. This can be done using a come-along and wire crimp or an in-line ratchet type wire strainer. Install the ratchet on the opposite side of the brace that the wire fabric will be on. Tighten the brace wire until the wire is tight or there are no gaps between the cross member and post.

Step 10

Installing line posts: Set line posts at 10- to 15-foot spacing unless you are using high tensile fence. High tensile can be 15- to 20-foot spacing. Post spacing will be determined by terrain, type / size of post, bends in the fence and animal pressure.

Step 11

T- posts: weight should not be less than 1.25 lbs. per foot. The anchor plate should be at least 3-4 inches below the ground. In rough terrain closer post spacing will be required. A wood post should be placed on top of all hills and in the bottom of all dips. A wood post should be used after ever 5th t-post. Severe valleys and hills may require another brace system.

Step 12

Wood post: Dig holes for line posts 24 - 30 inches deep. Fencing taller than 4 feet will require longer posts / set deeper in the soil. Back fill with sand, pea gravel, dirt or a combination. Tamp post solid after every shovel full of fill.