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10 Important Tips To Consider Before Building A Fence

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So you want to build a fence…

DIY (do-it-yourself) projects are all the rage these days. It seems everyone is DIY enthusiast. For some, this can be a great way to save money on home improvement projects, while also honing your DIY skills and boosting your confidence when you successfully complete a project all by yourself.

While many of us are great with DIY projects around the house, some have more energy and enthusiasm than actual skill and knowledge. I would classify myself in the latter category! That’s why, with spring upon us, and yard work staring us in the face, it’s important to keep in mind certain things when planning any DIY project in or around your home.

Take building a fence for example.

We’ve all had that friend or neighbour who has built their own fence, and then eagerly tells us how easily we could build our own fence too. That may be true for some of us, but for others, that’s simply not true. All DIY projects, including building a fence, take a significant amount of prep work and planning to get the job done right.

I am by no means an expert on how to build a fence (just ask those who know me!), however, I have experience when it comes to having fencing installed, so I thought I would share a few tips with you in case you are thinking of fencing your property this spring or summer.


  1. Contact a land surveyor before you start your fencing project to have them stake out your property. You want to make sure the fence you build is built ON the dividing line between your property and your neighbour’s, or better yet, built on your side of the property line.
  2. Call before you dig! This may sound like an obvious tip, but one that many people forget about. Those gas lines are buried pretty deep underground, but you don’t want to risk hitting one. Your gas company should provide a free service to mark your property for lines, so you know where NOT to dig.
  3. You know the old saying, do unto others. Be sure to let your neighbours, who may be affected by your new fencing, know about your plans in advance. This could help prevent neighbourly problems in the future.
  4. Research and understand city bylaws before putting that first shovel/auger into the ground. Different cities have different bylaws in regards to what you can and can’t do when it comes to fencing your property. You may find you need a building permit to complete your fencing project.
  5. Be sure to include an entry/exit into your yard when planning your new fencing. For safety and convenience, it’s best to have two access points to your yard. This may seem obvious, but sometimes people neglect to include plans for this important part of building a fence.
  6. Don’t forget to plan the size of your entry/exit points. Can you fit large machinery through them? Your snow blower? Your patio furniture? Other equipment?
  7. Make sure you have all tools and materials, required to build your fence, on hand before you start your project. There is nothing worse than being immersed in your project, all sweaty and dirty, and realizing you forgot to pick up an important piece of material or equipment.
  8. Have a clear idea of WHY you are building a fence. It is to keep dogs in your yard? If so, perhaps all you need is a chain link fence. Is it to have privacy or block noise? Then a taller, solid wood fence may be the answer to your fencing needs.
  9. Consider the types of fencing for your specific needs/skill level. For example, wood fences need regular maintenance such as staining and sealing, and they may rot over time. On the other hand, vinyl fencing is low maintenance. You could even consider something like a “living wall” and plant a line of cedars, trees, or other bushes, but remember, this type of fencing requires a unique type of annual maintenance (pruning). If price is a concern, you can always look at mixing and matching these options.
  10. Here in Canada, we live in a very cold climate during winter months. You need to keep in mind that, for this reason, concrete anchors for fence posts should be installed at least 3 feet into the ground (or at least 6 inches below the frost line).

Have you ever installed your own fence? Have you got any tips to share with us from your fence building experiences? We’d love to hear them!



  1. June 30, 2015

    Callie Marie

    Thanks for the warning about what to think about before installing a fence. It would be awful if we got the fence up, and later found out it had to be moved due to dividing lines. Letting your neighbors know that you will be planning a fence is the polite thing to do, so be sure to be a good neighbor.

    • June 30, 2015


      Exactly Callie! It’s all about being a good neighbour – and making sure you won’t need to go to the expense of having to move the fence later! Thanks for stopping by!

  2. July 2, 2015

    Virginia Davis

    Thanks for the tips. I really appreciate your tip about calling the gas company before digging. I didn’t even consider how the gas lines might be problem when building a fence. It also never occurred to me that there might be different bylaws for each city about what you can and can’t do when building a fence. I will definitely consider these things when I am fencing my property in the future.

    • July 2, 2015


      Thanks Virginia! There are so many things to think about when building a fence…and gas lines are most definitely at the top of the list in my mind 🙂 Thanks for stopping by!

  3. August 24, 2016

    Jade Brunet

    We are excited to finally be putting a fence up in our yard. It is nice to know that the first thing one should do is call a land surveyor. Another thing to consider is the type of fence wanted and finding a fencing company that can install for a price within your budget.

    • September 29, 2016


      Great tips! Thanks for sharing, Jade!

  4. September 29, 2016


    I think the biggest roadblock for DIY fence builders is dealing with slope changes. Just make sure you keep the finished height of your fence level and step it down as needed. Also, check your fence boards for plumb at the start of each panel. You’d be surprised how quickly they can start to look bad when you’re off 1/2 inch at the beginning.

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