The Fencing Centre – How To Guide

Installing a garden fence can be quite daunting; we aim to help make things easier for you with this guide.

For the competent DIY enthusiast, fencing shouldn’t be too challenging, but if you can’t face it yourself, we can always recommend some installers for you who can come along, measure up and supply you with a quote free of charge.

To help with accuracy, we can plan what materials you will need for your new garden fence. This will also help cut down on wastage.

It is essential to use a detector to check the area you plan on digging into for cables and pipes.

6’6” (2.0m) is usually the height that local councils will allow you to install without applying for planning permission, but you should check with your local council on their restrictions.

One of the main issue’s neighbours argue about is the boundary between their properties.

The easiest way to solve this is to check your title deeds. You can get a copy from the Land Registry. On the plan an inward “T” marks point in the direction of the person who is responsible for the boundary, there is a common misconception that you are always responsible for the fence on your left.

It’s best to have a chat with your neighbour and talk through your plans with them, to make sure everyone is in agreement. It also makes life much easier if you can work from both sides of the fence when installing.

If your garden slopes

With gardens that slope, it’s best to use close boarded material to construct a fence, as this allows you to follow the ground–line and makes installing the fence easier. When installing all types of panel fencing on a sloping garden, you need to step the fence so that the panels stay horizontal rather than follow the ground line.

Close boarded materials

This type of fencing is typically used in bays of around between 8’ (2.4m) and 10’ (3.0m) depending on your garden. Individual vertical boards are nailed on arris rails, using a gravel board at the bottom. Either wooden 4”x4” (100x100mm) posts or morticed concrete posts are recommended.

Lapped panels

This is the most economical way to fence your garden. Overlapping horizontal panels are 6’ (1.83m) wide and are generally used in conjunction with 3”x3” (75x75mm) posts.

Close boarded panels

This is the most robust kind of fencing panel you can use. 6’ (1.83m) wide vertical board panels are normally used in conjunction with 4”x4” (100x100mm) wooden posts and a timber gravel board. Alternatively, slotted concrete posts with concrete gravel boards can be used.

Continental panels

A premium framed fencing panel, these are the ultimate in luxury fencing.

They are just under 6’ (1.80m) wide and should be used with 4”x4” (100x100mm) timber posts or ideally concrete slotted posts.

Picket fencing

Sometimes called hit and miss this type of fencing is ideal for front gardens, it’s available in 2 heights – 3’ (0.90m) or 4’ (1.20m).


Trellis can be used on its own as an open screen and also to add height to fencing panels or a fence made with close boarded materials.

Concrete vs. wooden

A big decision is which type of post to use – concrete or wooden, and how you’ll be setting them into the ground.

If you are planning on digging holes and concreting in your posts then you need to allow for a minimum of 2’ (600mm) into the ground.

The below guide should help you.

Overall fence height of 6’6” (1.95m) will require a 9’ (2.70m) post.
Overall fence height of 6’ (1.83m) will require a 8’ (2.40m) post.
Overall fence height of 5’6” (1.65m) will require a 8’ (2.40m) post.
Overall fence height of 5’ (1.50m) will require a 7’ (2.10m) post.
Overall fence height of 4’6” (1.35m) will require a 7’ (2.10m) post.
Overall fence height of 4’ (1.20m) will require a 6’ (1.80m) post.
Overall fence height of 3’6” (1.05m) will require a 6’ (1.80m) post.
Overall fence height of 3’ (0.90m) will require a 5’ (1.50m) post.

Concrete posts are heavy to handle and last longer than wooden posts. Wooden posts are easier to handle.

If you decide to use wooden posts, it is advisable to either purchase them with Post–Saver fitted by us for an additional cost, or purchase and fit yourself. Post–Saver is a fantastic product that is fitted to the post. Generally posts rot at ground level due to moisture damage, but by fitting Post–Saver, it forms a barrier and extends the life greatly.

Whichever posts you use, we highly suggest using Post Mix. It’s a quick, efficient way of setting your posts and saves time by setting much faster than a standard sand and cement mix.

If you choose to use wooden posts, we highly recommend using post caps, as they prevent water soaking into the end grain of the post, whilst also completing the look of your fence.

We will always recommend that you consider using a gravel board, not only does it give you a little additional height, but they serve a great purpose by protecting the bottom of your fence panels or close boarded materials against rot and moisture damage.

Width of bays

Bays can be built at either 6’ (1.8m), 8’ (2.4m), 10’ (3.0m) or at 12’ (3.6m) Intervals.

It’s up to you to decide the size of your bays, but a top tip is that if your garden is susceptible to windy conditions, use a smaller bay, as this makes the fence stronger.

Arris rails

For feather edge that is 5’6” (1.65m) or taller, then 3 arris rails are required. For 5’ (1.50m) or below, only 2 arris rails are required.

Featheredge boards

It’s best to allow for 3.8 feather boards per 1’ (0.30m). So on a bay of 10’ (3.0m) you would use 38 featheredge boards.

When setting the post in the ground, be sure that you have dug at least 2’ (0.6m) into the ground, as any less than this and the post will not be thoroughly secure.

Place the post in the hole and check the alignment is correct. Prop the post up to free your hands.

Put half of a bag of post mix into the hole and pour approximately 1.5 litres of water on top. Stop pouring when the water stops being absorbed.

Next step is to pour the rest of the post mix bag into the hole and cover with another 1.5 litres of water. Again stop pouring when the water stops being absorbed.

After 10 minutes, you can remove the support battens.

Making a start with wooden posts.

To start setting your fencing out when using wooden 4”x4” (100x100mm) posts, you need to have 2 posts already set in the ground at your chosen bay width. This makes building the section easier as you will not have to cut any of the arris rails or gravel boards down. It is, however, more than likely that you will need to cut down your last section, as most gardens are not evenly distanced.

  • Attach the arris rails to the wooden posts using arris rail brackets and clout nails.
  • You will then need to attach the gravel board to the posts using either gravel board cleats or gravel board clips and use a centre stump to support the middle of the bay.
  • Lastly nail the feather edge onto the arris rails one board at a time, allowing an overlap of around 1/2” (15mm) and ensuring that the feather edge boards are touching the gravel board below.

Making a start using morticed concrete posts.

When using morticed concrete posts, the process is slightly different. You need to set your first post into the ground, then place all the arris rails into both posts, before setting the next post and so on.

  • After the second post has set, you then need to fix the gravel board in place using either gravel board cleats or gravel board clips, and use a centre stump to support the middle of the bay.
  • Lastly, nail the feather edge onto the arris rails one board at a time, allowing an overlap of around 1/2” (15mm) and ensuring that the feather edge boards are touching the gravel board below.

Panel fencing

To start any kind of panel fencing, you need to have two posts already set in the ground at the correct width for the panels you are planning on using.

  • After the two posts are set, you then attach the gravel boards using either gravel board clips or cleats.
  • After this you should attach the panel clips to the panel. For a 5’ panel or taller, there should be 3 panel clips on each side (one at the top, one in the middle and one at the bottom). For anything below 4’6”, there should be 2 panel clips on each side, spaced evenly along the sides.

When buying a fence, you may want to consider putting trellis above it, as this can increase the height and add a layer of privacy to your garden without blocking light. We stock trellis in 6’ and 10’ lengths but we have the ability to make trellis at any length up to 12’ long. Don’t forget, you will need longer posts if you want to allow for trellis.

If you have an existing fence that you would like to add trellis to, we can advise you on how to do this.

To get longevity out of your fence make sure you treat it with a preservative like Protek, as often as possible, ideally every year, and work on the basis that the more often you treat it, the longer it will last.