A DIY backyard fence takes time (and a good deal of patience if doing the project with a perfectionist) but it is well worth the payoff!
Typically, I wouldn’t sign up for a massive project like this but it had to be done.
I had dubbed the backyard VOasis (the V stands for our last name) Our DIY Backyard fence was a multi-weekend project but satisfying to complete.
Cost vs. Time
We had three quotes for our backyard fence supplies and installation. The quotes ranged from $6000-$7000. After left brain and I got the backyard flattened we knew it was time to decide. We needed to pay a contractor to do the fence or have a DIY backyard fence construction party.
This is the backyard we inherited. There were no boundaries. We had to coordinate backyard parties with the neighbors. Forget any privacy.
One U-Haul truck, 3 weekends, 50 bags of Quikrete, 20 Bags of River rock, and $1500 in materials, I’m very happy to say we did this.
There is a particular pride that I feel when we sit in the backyard knowing that our sweat went into this project. The backyard is my oasis any time of the day.
The money we saved on this DIY backyard fence will go towards the many other construction projects that we are about to start and some of those projects we will need to hire help.
At the end of the day, a DIY backyard fence is possible if you follow our tips. It will take time and sweat but if you are looking for a way to save money but get what you want, this is a good project to tackle.
Steps to Complete a DIY Backyard Fence Project.
- Rent an Auger. It is worth the effort not to dig the holes by hand and there is the added benefit that it will provide endless entertainment for the kids (maybe not so much for the neighbors). It cost $60.00 and hooked to a tow hitch of a vehicle. The single man auger was perfect to use.
2. Measure and mark where the posts need to be located. We ran a string 6 inches inside our property line and used spray paint to mark the grass where we would dig the holes. (No, X did not mark treasure to the disappointment of our 7 year old)
3. Bore each hole and make sure that you go at least as far down as your frost line should be. Another rule of thumb would be about 1/3 the length of the post. We drilled 2.5 feet for the 8 foot long 4 x 4 posts. The left brain, brilliant as he is, after digging the second hole marked a board the depth that we needed and which saved us tons of time.
Admittedly, if this task was left to me I may have used the tape measure or worse yet, I would have guessed when we had drilled deep enough. The measuring stick made it quick and easy to decide if we had drilled deep enough.
4. Use fast-setting concrete to put the posts in the holes. We used a few inches of river rock in the bottom of the hole before adding any concrete.
Next we simply followed the instructions on the bag which were quite simple. We poured an entire 50-pound concrete bag and the recommended amount of water onto the concrete and stirred it in the hole. The bag does not require that you stir the water and concrete together but my left-brain husband slight OCD tendencies insisted on it. Continue adding concrete and water until the mixed concrete and water are a few inches below the surrounding dirt. The concrete did set 30 minutes later which was amazing and each hole took about two 50 pounds bags of concrete. The Quikrete fast-setting mix does cost slightly more but we were able to start installing the fence panels the very next day instead of waiting a week or so until conventional concrete would be ready (a MAJOR plus in my book!). After an hour or so the concrete was firm to the touch and we pushed the dirt back on top of the concrete.
5. Rent a U-Haul to get the fence panels home. I’ve got to say this was one of my favorite days with the project. I had to upgrade to a bigger size because it was the only one available and it was a blast to drive down the highway blasting some country music station as I drove a 15 foot truck. Apparently, I hadn’t been out much!
6. Hang each panel and make sure that it is level. We found a little trick: Clamp a 4-foot level to one of the horizontal boards so that it doesn’t fall off as you position it.
Our fence was built on a gradual slope so we had to shim under each panel. To make this part go quickly, we took two scrap 2 x 4 and cut angles into them to make them into wedge shapes. This allowed us to easily move up the fence by sliding the shims in or out.
TIP:Be sure to leave a 1-2″ gap between the ground and the fence panel or else the fence will absorb moisture from the ground and begin to rot within a few years.
After shimming up the fence level, we drilled two pilot holes and used two screws to hold the fence in place and so that the helper could let go. This allows the fence to be easily readjusted if it isn’t level or positioned appropriately without having to remove all six screws on the fence panel.
After we were sure that the panels were level and positioned how we wanted them, we used two cordless drills: One drill had a drill bit for the pilot holes and the other drill had a Phillips bit to screw in each screw. This saved time swapping out bits.
7. Remove the excess clay after filling in the holes. We used a wheelbarrow to collect the debris. My sweet father-in-law took this task very seriously and did an amazing job. By this time, left brain was exhausted and I had moved on to decorating the backyard. While we may not have hired help, we did have help which was appreciated.
8. Accessorize– This is my favorite part about any project. I love putting final touches to any space to make it pop. I choose two large planters with tropical flower trees and two lanterns that are perfect for night parties. I wanted to keep it simple for upkeep as well as focus.
We are very pleased how this project turned out. It really has added a wow factor to our backyard as well as giving us much needed privacy.
We constructed a custom semi-private fence using lattice on the opposing side of the yard so stay tuned if you want to see how we built that structure with our tips and tutorials.
As always, thank you for reading our story and please comment below.
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