Fencing tips, hints, or ideas?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by larkflying, Jun 9, 2011.

  1. Hi,

    I need to build about 500 ft of fence this summer, along our road, to keep the kids and birds safer. I'd like it to be a permanent, long lived fence (hate fencing!) so I know it will be on the more expensive side. Any tips or tricks people have discovered while they have fenced? It will all be in a straight line, with a couple corners around the drive way -- I have electric netting to use for the other sides. If we fence that one section, it ends up blocking off most of the access for our troublesome neighbor dog.

    I'm also interested in gate designs. We are going to need a couple large, tractor sized gates, and I know the swinging kind are prone to sagging.

    We'll be buying supplies and doing it in sections as we have time / money, so any advice/pictures are great. We have experience in fencing and know about the basic design, just wondered what types of fence people used. My husband would like to fence the first half, about 250 ft, in with a wood privacy fence, and then the orchard with some kind of wire/wood combination . . .

    I read on a different post that you could lay a section of fence flat under the fence line and then cover it with a thin layer of dirt to prevent digging, but you would still be able to mow over it. Has anyone tried that? I've always heard that you have to bury the fencing to deter digging animals. I was really hoping NOT to have to dig a 500 ft ditch, but If I have to, I have to . . .

    We also have an organic farm, and can't spray fencelines to keep down grass. Does anyone have a good method to block weeds out around the fenceline? Trying to keep it low maintenance since I know we aren't going to be able to weadeat all the time.

    Thanks for any help! Pictures are great too!
     
  2. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

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    Quote:My main advice would be not to try to cheat on a) the size/bracing of the posts, especially at corners and gates, nor b) the depth they're sunk to. Even just the difference between 3' and 3.5' deep can be really significant in terms of how the fence holds up.

    If possible, the best way to do wooden posts is to hire someone to pound them in with the appropriate tractor attachment (buying the driveable, pointy-ended posts, not the normal flat-ended ones). That gives you the most secure and lasting job. At least price it out.

    I have electric netting to use for the other sides. <snip>We also have an organic farm, and can't spray fencelines to keep down grass. Does anyone have a good method to block weeds out around the fenceline? Trying to keep it low maintenance since I know we aren't going to be able to weadeat all the time.

    Make sure you realize that having electronet is a COMMITMENT to either spray (which you can't) or move-fence-and-weedwhack (which you therefore MUST do) whenever the fence needs it, promptly, no "it'll have to wait a week".

    If you let grass/weeds grow up thru electronet, not only does it ground out the fence and render it nonelectric (and kill your charger battery, unless it's a plug-in charger of course) it also is an invitation for dogs etc to rip their way through your previously-expensive-but-now-becoming-scrap fenceline. Also it is a real bugger to try to remove overgrown electronet from the enmeshing vegetation!

    And yes, you do need to *move* electronet to weedwhack -- you may think "oh I will just be careful" but chances are pretty good there will be an oopsie even in the very first mowing and certainly you can't expect the dice to roll your way over and over and over.

    So, it's not HARD to do, but if you can't do it whenever the fence needs it, within a couple days, then I would strongly suggest not using electronet. Instead consider maybe 4x4" sheep/goat fencing on T-posts with a few wooden posts thrown in here and there?

    I'm also interested in gate designs. We are going to need a couple large, tractor sized gates, and I know the swinging kind are prone to sagging.

    I've seen very few homemade wooden gates over the years that don't fairly rapidly self-destruct or rot out, and they do weigh a LOT. Also they use a good bit of lumber and serious hardware, which needs to be taken into consideration when comparing prices to storeboughten metal gates. If you are feeling experimental you can use the old-timey version with a counterweight but the couple of those I've known have not operated real well and seem better in theory than in practice.

    So unless you are a welder with a good supply of cheap metal to work with, I'd really suggest just BUYING gates, e.g. the metal tubing ones. Secondhand can be more affordable. You can wire on some fence mesh to keep animals from going thru the gaps, although for a driveway you will have an issue with dogs going *under* unless you're in such a snowless area that you can mount the gate only inches above the driveway surface.

    The best two things to prevent sagging are a) make your gatepost extra thick, extra deep, and SUPER well set (concrete in the lower part of the hole helps too), and b) never ever let the gate hang free... there should be blocks (rocks, whatever) to prop the far end up on both when it is closed AND when it is standing open. Thus the only time the hinges/post bear the weight of the gate are when you are actually in the act of swinging it open or shut.

    I read on a different post that you could lay a section of fence flat under the fence line and then cover it with a thin layer of dirt to prevent digging, but you would still be able to mow over it. Has anyone tried that? I've always heard that you have to bury the fencing to deter digging animals.

    Many people do that for digproofing short areas, like dog runs or chicken coops/runs. It does work well IF done right. However it gets pretty expensive for a long fence. If you want to mow over it, do make real sure the outer edge is turned down into the ground *and* the whole thing is pegged down well enough that the mower can't catch it, or it makes an AWFUL mess.

    One good way to deter dogs digging under a fence is to find someone with a whooooole bunch of concrete rubble they want to get rid of (like from breaking up a slab or sidewalk or etc). Lay that in a close-set strip, like random pavers set right against each other, at least 18" wide along the outside of the fenceline, and wait for weeds to grow up and "consume" it to knit them tightly into place. (That can be accellerated by dumping some manure or compost over the line of concrete rubble.... but it will still take at least half a season before it is maximally-predatorproof). However you cannot, obviously, mow over this. You can use large pavers (like 18x24") for short fences, and they can be mowed over, but the cost for a 500' fence woudl be prohibitive.

    Good luck, have fun,

    Pat​
     
  3. bryan99705

    bryan99705 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Can you get combination livestock fence? Probably be a good start and plenty tough.

    As to gates, why not go with two small ones instead of one big, less leverage to cause sagging

    As you know, don't skimp on corner posts size or it's depth. Otherwise have fun

    I was lucky enough to have 15 rolls of 6' medium weight welded wire, problem was the openings were 6x6. Ran a second run and raised to 3" and it works great, the skirting finished it off, watched 3 fox tru to go thru (before a ,223 ended it) and no one got thru.
     
    Last edited: Jun 9, 2011
  4. Bear Foot Farm

    Bear Foot Farm Overrun With Chickens

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    I've always heard that you have to bury the fencing to deter digging animals.

    The fact that things get repeated doesn't make them true.

    If something can't dig through wire a foot in the ground, it can't dig through the same wire 1 inch underground.

    If part of your fence will be electric though, it will be far easier to just run some hot wires down low to prevent digging, instead of laying down a barrier between the posts

    We are going to need a couple large, tractor sized gates, and I know the swinging kind are prone to sagging.

    They only sag when installed incorrectly.

    Set some 8 ft posts, 4 ft deep and your gate wont sag.
    I used telephone poles for all my corners.

    Does anyone have a good method to block weeds out around the fenceline?

    Keep the bottom of the fence high enough that the deck of your mower will fit under it.

    Weeds can also be killed with salt or vinegar, and you're still "organic"​
     
  5. FlipFlopFarmer

    FlipFlopFarmer Chillin' With My Peeps

    my personal opinion if all you are keepin in/out is children and chickens, hurricaine fence. it comes in a roll and is galvanized. it is attractive and can actually be installed by almost anyone with a little research. it is lightweight and doesnt succomb to wind/rain/rott like wooden fencing AND if you are going to do weed control for 500 feet of fence year after year, in my opinion again, a propane torch is the most cost effective method. I live on 18 acres and typically use rolled welded wire/barb wire combos with a strand of electric fence at the appropriate height to keep animals from touching the fence. Horses and goats LOVE to rub on fence. I keep the fence lines clean year round to keep the desire to eat the grass against it to a minimum and help maintain the integrity of the fence. I learned along time ago that spraying roundup gets really expensive, partly due to cost in chemical and partly due to weeds building up a resistence to it over time. Having said that, if you want privacy, wood fence is one of the more attractive routes, but i have seen some very nice metal privacy fences with trim. have fun and please post pics and pros and cons.
     
  6. savingpurple

    savingpurple Chillin' With My Peeps

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    As for the fence post, TSC sells T-post. They are steel post, and are very sturdy. I would persoanlly use the round wood post on all your corners for stability. The t-poat can go about every 10 ft. and be okay.

    You can get goat fence. It is 48" tall and comes in rolls of 330'. Not cheap but sturdy. Cattle fence also is very sturdy. Galv. wire and woven together makes it all very strong fence.

    As for the gates, If one long one is not suitable, you can as suggested go with 2 small ones. TSC also sells wheels to go ont he inside of the gate, to help support the insde end, and easier to roll the gate open. They are callled tube gates. You can but wire filled tube gates.

    Good luck !!
     
  7. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    Brace all corner posts before you stretch the wire. Brace them well no matter how deep you set them or what type of soil you have. And use substantial corner posts, not the cheaper smaller stuff.

    I suggest putting a sill under the gates top deter things from getting through underneath. Gates are often the weak point. Since you are organic, treated wood is out, which makes it really tough coming up with a suitable sill that won't have to be replaced on a regular basis. Maybe something metal off Craigslist? Ground is not level. It is hard to get a gate that is big enough for a tractor and equipment close enough to the ground that can still swing open yet keep critters out. I find a sill solves that problem, either one high enough to bump the gate against or positioned to just barely be under the gate when it swings.

    To avoid digging a 500 feet long trench, you could maybe cut out the sod, lay the apron and replace the sod. This buries the apron where you can mow over it and is a lot less work than digging a trench unless you have some trenching machinery. It is still a fair amount of work, just less than a deep trench.

    Good luck!
     
  8. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

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    Quote:Is this chainlink, or something else? (I've heard the term used before but never really sure what exactly it means [​IMG])

    if you are going to do weed control for 500 feet of fence year after year, in my opinion again, a propane torch is the most cost effective method.

    For metal fencing it is ok (doesn't do the galvanized coating any good tho) but won't work for electronet at all. (Mentioning b/c that's going to be the o.p.'s major weed-control issue)

    Pat​
     
  9. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

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    Quote:Cinderblocks (or poured concrete w/rebar running thru it, if you want to be fancy) works real well.

    Not, however, for gates on a driveway, unless you want a big ol' speedbump LOL

    Pat
     
  10. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    Quote:Cinderblocks (or poured concrete w/rebar running thru it, if you want to be fancy) works real well.

    Not, however, for gates on a driveway, unless you want a big ol' speedbump LOL

    Pat

    An obvious solution. You can tell I am pretty inorganic this morning even after two mugs of coffee.

    If you mound the dirt or gravel up to the cinder block/concrete sill, it is not too bad, but you would have to position the gate/sill where the gate just barely swings over the sill, not bumps up against it. This type of construction also keeps water from running off a road and down a driveway, washing it out, as a couple of neighbors recently experienced. I started to say "learned" but I think they just experienced it.
     

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