Cost-Effective DIY Fencing

This article will discuss the most common methods of building backyard fencing. It includes traditional timber paling, tubular fencing, and panel fencing that looks “look-alike”. No matter the type of fence you choose, it is easy to build.

Because rendered brick fences are unsuitable for DIY, we will cover them in future articles. They are also very costly to construct, require the expertise of a professional bricklayer, concreter, renderer and painter and can take many weeks to complete.

What’s the deal?

This information includes the steps professionals use to build a fence.

Step 1. Do your research

Before you begin installing your fence, you must fully understand your yard.

(1) To check the location of service lines, call “Dial Before you Dig”. This service will tell you if any services are available in the area where you plan to install your fence.

(2) Tell your local council about your fence plans. Ask for their opinion on the proposed fence. Side boundary fences typically measure 1800mm tall with 400mm privacy screening added (2200mm). However, you should check with your local council.

(3) Know your boundaries. You’d be surprised how many fences don’t run along the boundary lines. A site plan may provide this information in your files. If not, you might need to hire a surveyor to verify the exact location.

(4) Select materials that meet your needs. Your fence might need to:

Look elegant and classy with matching accessories for your home.

Follow all pool fencing regulations.

Be affordable and cheap.

You can block out traffic noises and enjoy excellent acoustic properties.

It looks like a modern, high-end brick fence without the price.

Black tubular fencing can be dispersed into the landscape. If plants are nearby, it absorbs light and visually disappear.

Simple in design and low maintenance

Step 2

Below is a list of the materials and tools you will need for building your fence.

Two stakes

Many strings

Spirit level

Tape measure

Spray paint in a small can

A sharp spade or post-hole digger is recommended.


Bags of cement

Hardwood fence posts, top rails, bottom rails, and palings (or a panel fence kit) are all available at most hardware stores. Most timber paling fencing pieces can be purchased pre-trimmed and cut to size in hardware stores.

Hammer and mini-sledgehammer

Galvanized nails

Nail gun. A nail gun you can rent from a local rental company will make the cladding process much faster.

Circular saw

Step 3 Once you have identified your boundaries, you can begin to prepare the ground.

(1) Clear the area

Clear away all vegetation, including tree roots, from the area to be enclosed by the fence. Now, mark the boundary.

(2) Mark the boundary line

To ensure that the fence is built within the boundaries of your property, it is necessary to mark the line. A professional surveyor should mark the boundary line. Many neighbour disputes start over fences.

(3) String Line

After locating the boundary lines, you can install the string line for your new fence. Using two stakes, string, and spray paint, you can mark a line parallel to the boundary line at 50mm from the boundary.

  • Hammer the first stake into the ground at the beginning of your fence.
  • Next, tie the string to a stake. Then walk the string to the spot where the fence will end. Hammer in the second stake. Before attaching the stakes to the ground, measure at least 50mm from the boundary line. This is the “string line”, which provides a straight line against which to build your fencing.
  • Turn the string line around and level the ground.
  • Push the string towards the ground by pushing it down on the stakes. Spray paint along the entire string’s length. Move the string up to the stakes by approximately 300mm. Your fence will be built using the spray line and string line as guides.

(4) Setting up the post holes

After the ground has been levelled (without any lumps or holes), you can lightly compress the soil with your boots. Then, walk around the area a bit. Now you are ready to place your posts.

Divide the length of your allocated fence space by approximately 1600mm. Spray paint lines the intersection of each 1600mm length. This will be the same as the fence line spray mark.

As most timber rail lengths are 4800mm long (4800/3 = 1600), we suggest spacing posts at 1600mm. The posts can be as far apart as 2400mm, but it would depend on wind loading in your area. Talk to your hardware store and the council.

Step 4

Calculate the required materials based on the measurements, calculations, and fence type you have chosen.

  1. Digging for post holes

Whether you’re installing a traditional Lapped and Capped fence, a timber paling fence, a tubular fence, or a modern modular fence, the principles are the same. You start construction by drilling the post holes.

For each post, dig a hole. This hole is usually 400x400mm in width and 600mm in depth, depending on how large the post is.

(2) Installation of the posts

Make sure you have the right size posts and a spirit level. It would help if you were prepared and ready to work quickly during this stage before concrete firms “goes off”.

Place the first post in the middle of the first hole. Keep the post straight up and pour the dry concrete mix into the hole, filling 3/4 of it. Mix the dry concrete mix with water according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Normally, 1/3 to 2/3 of the dry mix is needed. Use a spade to mix the concrete into the hole.

Once the concrete is firm enough that it doesn’t require holding but not too firm, you can use your spirit level to check the straightness of your posts. This is a crucial step. The posts must be straight and in line with each other. The Spirit should be held vertically. It should rest against the four sides of the timber posts. Tap the post lightly with a mallet or a hammer to ensure the bubble is at the mid-way mark.

The hardest part is installing the posts. After that, it’s almost like building with Lego.

(3) Installation of the rails

Most fencing posts are ready for rails, or in the case of tubular and panel fencing, panels. However, it is simple to install the rails.

To secure the rails, they will need to be diagonally attached three to four times.

The job is done for both tubular and panel fencing systems once the panels have been installed. For panel fencing systems such as the Slim wall, you only need to paint the panels (either smooth acrylic paint or a texture resembling a brick wall).

(4) Cladding

The fence is almost ready to be clad. However, we still need to place a string line between the posts and on top of each post to guide palings. Attach a string line to the tops and ends of each post.

Now you are ready to add the wood palings. A nail gun is a great tool here. The timber must be nailed into the railings four times. It isn’t easy to hand nail hardwood timber. The first nail should be inserted through the first paling and into the top rail. Ensure the string line is aligned with the top of your paling. To ensure that the paling is straight, place your Spirit vertically on the sides of the paling. The paling should be held in place. Next, nail the second nail to the bottom rail. This will secure the paling to support the third and fourth nails.

Once you have created your first straight paling, it will serve as a guide to all subsequent palings.

Last notes

You can choose from many types of boundary fencing that are simple to install. You can save money by following these four steps.

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