Adding a Fence on a Slope

May 15, 2023
Adding a Fence on a Slope

You might be wondering what the best method is to improve your outdoor spaces. Your garden may not be laid out uniformly. It may be a minor angled slope, uneven, or both. So you look for ways to make use of your space without compromising its overall appearance.

Worry no more; we are here to help you address that problem by installing a fence on uneven ground. Fencing is without a doubt one of the best methods to improve your outdoor spaces. It is a highly efficient security measure that will immediately prevent any would-be intruders in addition to enhancing the tidy, well-kept aesthetic appeal of your property.

So, just how do you put a fence on a slope?

Types of Fence On A Slope

  • Racked Fence: A racked fence will work just fine if your hill's slope is less than 15 degrees. A racked fence contours to your lawn's slope. The rails will slant and sit at an angle, but the posts and pickets will remain plumb.
  • Stair Stepped Fence: A hill with a slope of greater than 15 degrees is best suited for a stepped fence. In segments or steps, the fence will go around the slope. The rails are level, and the posts and pickets are both plumb, but there will be an irregular gap between the ground and the bottom of the fence.

How to Build a Fence on a Sloped Yard

Racked Fence Installation

  1. Measure and Mark Your Fence Line

Use wooden pegs to indicate the ends of your fence line, and then join the ends with the previously used mason line. Your proposed posts' spacing should be measured and marked on the string with tape. The length will typically be between 5 and 8 feet, however, purchasing a prefabricated fence panel may change this. 

Each section of your string above the area where the posts will go should have a plumb bob attached. Use a utility flag or some spray paint to mark the location on the ground directly above the plumb bob.

  1. Fence the Posts

Measure a hole that is at least a third of the height of your post's depth and three times its diameter. Use a post-hole digger to gently remove the dirt by driving it into the ground. Slowly progress until you achieve the proper depth and width. Dig each post hole along the length of your string before moving on. Place the first post in the hole and ensure it is plumb. Your post should be completely vertical, as determined by a specified level. 

To promote groundwater drainage, add 3 inches of soil and gravel to the posthole's base. Fill the gaps with your prepared concrete, stopping just short of the hole's bottom. Allow the concrete to set, and if you need to leave the post in place overnight, brace it with bricks.

  1. Fix Your Panels or Rails

The Mason line should be fastened to the tops of two fence posts. To ensure that each rail matches the hill's slope, you must use this angle. The normal height of rails from the ground and the tops of your posts are both 8 inches. 

Use two 3-inch masonry screws to secure both rails to the posts, matching the slope of the mason line. If you need to butt the second rail up against a post that is sandwiched between two rails, only attach the rail to half of the post's face.

  1. Fix Your Pickets

Mark the location of the first rail at a distance of at least 2 inches from the ground. Water can pass through the 2-inch opening in your fence. Check that the first picket is plumb by holding it flush against the post. You can also use the top of the top rail to determine the distance between the masonry line and the top of your pickets. 

Using pneumatic brad nails and brad nails, fasten the first picket to the rails. The top of each picket should always be the same distance from the masonry line or the top of the rail as you descend the hill. You can retain the same even slope that the rail has formed by doing this.

Building a Stepped Fence On A Slope

  1. Measure and Mark Your Fence Line

Place two tall stakes between the top and bottom of one side of your fence to serve as a reference point while measuring your stepped fence. This time, level it by placing a mason line between the tops of the two stakes. To determine how steep the slope is in that area of the hill, measure the distance from the string's bottom to the ground.

  1. Fence the Posts

Use the same steps we did above to install and mark your posts. Make sure your posts are level and anchored in the ground using concrete footings that drain adequately. Give the concrete time to set before checking to make sure it stays level. 

Divide the overall drop of your fence by the number of sections to get the drop for each section after figuring out the number of posts and fencing sections. Six fence pieces, for instance, will each drop four inches if the drop is 24 inches. 

  1. Measure for the Rails

Reuse the Mason line and tie it to the first post using your drop measurement as a guide. This will be 4 inches below the top in our case. Make sure the line is level and string it to your following post. Place a marker where the line meets this post. 

The new top of the second post is the line you just added. Trim the post's top where you left your mark. Between your second and third posts, repeat the process. String the line to the third post by measuring down 4 inches from the top of the second post. Cut and keep going.

  1. Fix Your Panels, Rails, or Pickets

Mark the area between the two posts where the top rail will go with your mason line one more time. This typically sits between 7 and 8 inches from the top, though your design may dictate a different distance. 

Using 3-inch masonry screws, fasten the level rail between the two posts. Use brad nails to fasten your pickets between the two posts. Keep in mind that the tops and bottoms will perfectly line up as they sit side by side.

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