Printer Friendly

Gardening: Expert panels.

Byline: TOBY MUSGRAVE

WINTER gales always sound the death knell for a fence panel or two. And with more expected in this month's wild weather forecast, you can be sure there'll be a new swathe of fencing fatalities.

So I thought it would be a good idea to run through the process of putting up, or replacing, a fence.

Most garden fences mark the boundary between neighbours and therefore a solid fence is used to provide privacy.

The most effective type for this purpose is the ubiquitous larch lap, although - in my opinion - close-board fencing and wattle hurdles (constructed from interwoven stems of willow or hazel) are much more attractive, as well as longer-lasting.

Putting up fencing may at first glance seem a daunting process but don't be put off because it really isn't that difficult, although be warned that you will need an extra pair of hands.

Most types of fencing - and, for that matter, trellis - come as individual panels, which are then attached to fence posts. But first you have decisions to make.

1. WHICH FENCE PANEL?

There's a wide range of different types of fencing, so your best bet is to get some catalogues or take a trip around some garden centres to see what you like.

2. HOW HIGH WILL THE FENCE BE?

Most boundary fences are 6ft (183cm) tall, but you can get smaller panels. For extra privacy you can add 2ft (60cm) of trellis on top of a 6ft fence.

3. WHICH FENCE POST?

Concrete posts don't rot, but they're heavy to set and nearly impossible to cut to a shorter length, unless you have an angle grinder. I also think they're less attractive than wooden ones, although they can be painted. On the plus side they're easier to use because the fence panels simply slot in and out.

4. HOW HIGH SHOULD THE POSTS BE?

The post height must be the total height of the panel, gravel board (see below) and the amount to be secured into the ground - usually 18in (45cm). For 6ft (183cm) tall panels without a gravel board I use 3in (75mm) square wooden posts, 7ft (210cm) tall - and cut off the surplus.

If your garden is on a slope you must think about the drop and adjust the post height accordingly.

5. SHOULD I USE GRAVEL BOARDS?

Gravel boards are pieces of wood or concrete that sit between the ground and the panel and prevent the panel from rotting. If you don't mind raising the panels, say, a brick's width above the ground you do not require gravel boards and you save quite a lot of money. Nonetheless, gravel boards can be used effectively to raise the height of a fence.

6. HOW DO I SECURE IT ALL?

For concrete posts this is simple. Just dig a hole 18in (45cm) deep, stand the post in it and fill with concrete (one part cement to four parts chippings to dust).

For wooden posts, the best method is to use a post support - but not the type with a spike that is bashed into the ground.

Opt instead for those set in concrete, such as a Metpost 'concrete-in'.

When you're going for it with a 24lb sledgehammer, the spike type usually moves out of position and off the vertical, and this can make putting up the fence panels a nightmare.

By comparison, digging a hole then setting the 'concrete-in' support and post in exactly the right position makes finishing the job a doddle. Trust me, I'm a gardener.

CAPTION(S):

FIRST-CLASS POSTS: secure your supports firmly to hold the fence in place HEIGHT OF AMBITION: a trellis can make your fence taller
COPYRIGHT 2005 Birmingham Post & Mail Ltd
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2005 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

Article Details
Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback
Publication:Sunday Mercury (Birmingham, England)
Date:Feb 6, 2005
Words:611
Previous Article:Homes: 6 for viewing STARTER'S ORDERS.
Next Article:Cars: Over the roon; LIKE WAYNE THE A2 IS A REAL STAR.

Terms of use | Copyright © 2017 Farlex, Inc. | Feedback | For webmasters