Building a fence is almost a rite of passage. If you own a decent block of land anywhere in Australia, at some point you'll think about putting up a boundary between yourself and the rest of the world. Of course this isn't to be rude, but it offers you a clear sense of privacy and ownership. Here's a simple three-part guide to hemming in your own piece of paradise.
1) What are your limits?
There are two kinds of limits - your personal DIY skills and the boundaries of your land. Try not to exceed either of these! When it comes to your first fencing job, if you're unsure of whether or not you possess the DIY prowess to pull off the job, try a small section first. Perhaps you could try fencing in a patio, laundry area or a part of your garden landscaping. If something goes wrong here, your whole front elevation won't suffer for it.
When it comes to the limits of your property, make sure you know exactly where you can or cannot put a fence. The last thing you want to do is have council or a neighbour force you to disassemble all of your hard work. Consulting with local council or a professional surveyor might not be a bad idea.
2) Select your design and materials
The design you choose will be determined by your DIY skill level and your ambitions for the presentation of your home. You may have a very good idea of what you would like just from seeing what your neighbours have or from looking through catalogues.
The most important decision to make is whether you want a timber fence, if you want to incorporate elements of wrought iron, brick and cement, or if you are going to opt for another material entirely. For simplicity's sake, this guide will deal with purely timber fences.
Typically for a wooden fence you will need the following:
Posts of 100 - 125 x 75 - 100 mm and rails of 75 x 38 - 50 mm, both of a durable hardwood. For joining and fastening, galvanised bolts are ideal for fixing rails to posts, but long galvanised or stainless steel nails can be used.
Your cladding will depend on what your local timber store has available, and the design you have in mind. Generally speaking you'll want a width of 75 - 100 mm and a thickness of 12 - 19 mm. For fastening, screws tend to hold better when wood expands and contracts with changes in temperature, but nails can be used as well.
Other materials to consider are a fence plinth between the bottom rail and the ground, as well as concrete for the posts and your chosen method of wood treatment.
Check in for part two of this series where we go into detail on the actual fence construction.