Building Our Vegetable Garden Fence, w/ Pictures

 

When we decided to start a vegetable garden, we realized a proper fence was essential. As you can see, our property is surrounded by a lot of woods, and we have wild life to show for it. Approximately 90% of all the trees we have planted, whether apple trees, dogwood, flowering pear, or maple trees have been destroyed by deer and rabbits, despite much effort of prevention. We figured: if these animals love trees, they will surely love our vegetables. So a fence was never questioned, it was a necessity. In this post I will attempt to describe just how my husband put our fence together; I assisted a little here and there, but he did all the planning and building. He didn’t have any pre-made plans to help him, he just thought about what might make sense and went from there.  All I wanted was some wire to go around and some way of getting in and out of my garden, and this is what he built me! And he’s a technical guy, not a handy-man, according to himself. I beg to differ. Just look at that nice work! More beautiful than I ever hoped for, and highly functional! Thank you, dear!!!

He started out putting in 8-foot posts, 4×4 inches or so. He put one in each corner first, and I believe he tied some string between the posts to place the other ones in straight lines. Two of the posts were placed close together, to serve as gate posts. He placed them a distance apart that would allow me to wheel my wheelbarrow through it after the gate was put in.

He first dug holes with a regular shovel, then used this nifty post digger tool to help him get deeper down without much effort. He put he poles 2 1/2 feet down into the ground. Some people use cement. We didn’t, and it has still held up very well.

You push this tool down into the dirt, and when you pull the handle apart, it closes around the dirt and you just need to lift it up, out of the hole. Then you repeat until the hole is as deep as you want it.

He put in the posts, filled with dirt, packed it down as much as he could by stomping it down and using a shovel to press into it to pack it as much as possible. Then he waited a day or so for the dirt to settle, though more time might have helped it settle more. We didn’t have much time as the season was well under way and I needed to get things planted. So the next day, we put the fencing wire up.

Below is a picture of the fencing wire we put up as the main part of the fence. This wire fencing, as seen in this link, is 4 feet tall, though we added chicken wire as well, with a total fencing height of 5 feet 5 inches. Later on we added electric fencing in addition. (Looking at the link, you’ll see that Home Depot gave an incorrect height measurements, as you can also see in a comment from one of their customers. It is 4 feet tall, not 39 inches.)

He really found a good way to fasten it, with as little effort as possible, I though. He nailed in some short nails with large, flat heads, but didn’t hammer them all the way in. This allowed him to hook the fencing onto the nails, which held it in place until it was wrapped around the whole area, then he hammered them in a bit more to hold the fencing in place. We both pulled on the fencing to the next post, hooked it onto the nail in that post, then stretched it to the next post, and so we went until we got all the way around.

Further down on each post, he nailed in galvanized fence staples, sort of like V-shaped nails that can be hammered in at two ends, the tops of the V, with the “head” on the bottom of the V:

So the advantage is that you can hold wire in place, like in these pictures. He also used more of the large-flat-head nails to fasten, hammering the heads onto the wire to hold it in place. In the following pictures you only see the bottom end of the V-shaped staples.

He used these same materials on the corner posts. The yellow thingy you see on the top of the post in the following picture is for electric fencing, which we ended up having to add later on, due to raccoons getting into our corn. I will briefly describe that below.

 

The fencing material we used was for the most part the type you see in the pictures above, though we also decided to add chicken wire on the bottom two feet or so, to prevent smaller critters from getting into the garden. There would be far to many temptations and munchies in there to keep them out, so chicken wire was also necessary. Since bunnies can, and often will dig underneath fences, we put approximately 17 inches of this netting from the ground up to meet the other fencing, then wrapped the rest of it out onto the lawn, like a curtain that hangs on the floor and draped out to rest on the floor. This way, the bunnies would meet more fencing if they tried to dig, and so far they have not been smart enough to go further out onto the lawn to dig themselves through. I didn’t take pictures of it back then, as I hadn’t started my blog yet and didn’t realize I might someday want to show pictures of it to someone! At this point it is buried under the grass that grew through it and can barely be seen.

We fastened the chicken netting with the wire that came with it when we purchased it. The netting came in a roll, and was held together with some type of steel wire. So we just took it off when we unrolled it, and clipped it into pieces of a few inches long, to fasten the fencing materials together.

The next picture is taken from the inside of the garden; we may have weeds in our garden, but not a lawn! We fastened the wire around the fencing like this: (We just wound it around here and there.)

We fasten it in areas of about 8 inches or so apart, about like this for my hands:

And on the posts, we used these staples, and more galvanized fence staples and nails here and there.

Then my husband made the beautiful, very useful gate. This too, he just put it together based on the size he wanted, and measured and cut the boards accordingly, to fit together. There is a board on the very top and bottom, that helps stabilize and hold it all together. Tall people do have to stoop to get through, but it makes for a solid gate. I am short enough to be able to walk right through it, so it suits me perfectly. The boards we used were a 4×4 post on either side, then 2×4 boards for the rest. The gate ended up being a little bit too narrow to fit properly between the posts, so he put in another 2×4 alongside the 4×4, to make that part a little wider. You can see it on the left side of the gate.

The height of the opening, and the posts on either side of the gate, is 5 ft. 6 in., with the door itself slightly shorter to fit between the top and bottom boards. The opening is slightly wider than one yard.

These angled brackets were purchased at Home Depot, along with other materials as well. They were fastened onto each corner, on both sides of the door.

These hinges are approximately 4 1/4 inches tall, to give you an idea of the size.

Another board was put into the door diagonally, to stabilize it, and prevent accidents that might push in the netting. Long screws were put in to fasten this board.

This is the screw.

This is a very nice gate latch, it works well to keep the gate closed and is easy to open as well.

The only thing about it is that the screw that went through the little “latch-thingy” when you open it, fell out or rusted, or somehow broke off. So my husband put in a different screw instead, so it now works like a charm again. I always think we have to go buy a new one when something breaks, but he always seems to find a way to fix things. I am so blessed to have him!

Fortunately, my hands are small enough to fit through the fencing, which is a good thing since it happens frequently that the wind causes the gate to close on me while I’m inside the garden! I’m not going to want to attempt to climb this fence, so I’m glad I’m able to sneak my hand through the fence to open it again, from the inside. See, it happened again just as I was inside today to take some pictures for you!

Then we put up a different type of wire, or netting, on the gate. This netting is quite stiff and strong. Here’s a comparison of the size of the holes with my hand:


My husband fastened this netting to the inside, using the same method as above:

 

 

After it all had been put together, and the posts began to settle more, we saw that the posts started leaning toward each other. We figured they leaned because of the tightness of the fencing, so my husband ended up putting in more posts, this time forcing them between the poles diagonally, to push and keep them apart and standing straight. This might not have happened had we had the time to wait for a week or so to allow the poles to settle, or if we had put them into concrete. It really is hard to say if more time for settling would have made a difference, but these angled posts fixed the problem.

Like I mentioned, we ended up having to put up electric fencing on top of the fence, to keep out raccoons.  Before this el. fence was put up, they came into my garden and destroyed most of my corn crop, despite attempts such as spraying with strong pepper solutions, to keep them  out. After the electric fence was put up, we never had any more trouble with them.

These yellow brackets are insulators that does the job of holding the wire, as well as serves as insulators to keep the electricity where it’s supposed to be. Having it fastened directly to the wood would have shorted it, plus maybe giving people a little surprise now and again. These insulators were found in the same area of the store as where the wire was located. My husband decided to use aluminum wire rather than steel, as aluminum is light weight and easier to work with, and won’t rust. One wire might do the trick, but two works better as it’s harder for critters to climb over them.

A utility box might not be necessary, but my husband wanted to put one up to protect the electric fencing controller.

This is the finished fence before the electric part was added:

So there we go, all ready to plant and grow wonderful, healthful food right in our own yard!

About Terese

25 Responses to “Building Our Vegetable Garden Fence, w/ Pictures”

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  1. Amy says:

    Thanks for posting this. It will definitely help us when we are ready to put in our new garden!

  2. Allison says:

    What great pictures! Quite critter proof, indeed! :)

    • Terese says:

      Yup, critter proof is what we need out here. ;) Thanks for your comments, that’s always appreciated and fun!

  3. Ha Duyen says:

    I love the pictures! Thank for sharing. Btw, where do you guys live? Do you know in what countries, people usually use garden fence?

    • Terese says:

      Thank you! We live in the midwest area of USA. We definitely need a fence here, due to rabbits and deer mostly, as we are close to wooded areas. People in city areas may only need a short fence to keep rabbits out, although some will not put up a fence at all and will just deal with the loss, if any. I don’t know what the situation is for people in other countries, I suppose it depends on wild life. In some parts of Norway, where I come from, fences are not necessarily needed at all. Some find out by experience, like we did when we had corn. We found that raccoons still got in, so needed electric fencing on top to stop them. Now that we don’t have corn, we don’t need the el. fence at all anymore.

  4. Safron Thomas says:

    Excellent post and pictures thank you so much for sharing…. Much appreciated :-)

  5. pat says:

    Great post and well- documented with the photos. The lock on your gate has a hole on the top of the latch release. It is designed to hold a cord with some type of weight to throw over the top of the gate to let you unlatch it from inside. Might save you some skinned knuckles!

    • Terese says:

      Thanks for the tip, I never even considered that! Will have to take your advice and get a weight on it. Thanks for letting me know!!! :D

  6. FourColorTheorem says:

    I’m wondering how the fence held up over the winter. I know from having lived in both Minnesota and Missouri that there’s a wide range of coldness in the great Midwest. How for north are you? Do you think 2 1/2 feet is adequate? (I’m now in the snow belt on the south shore of Lake Ontario.)

    • Terese says:

      Hi there! Well, our fence has held up really well so far. It has gone through 3 winters, and no problems. I am in zone 5, and south of you, so though we do have snowy, cold winters, but not as bad as some places in the US or Canada. Since we are not professionals, I don’t really know how deep or how tall you should go; I can only tell you what we did. And it has worked well for us. Our fence seems to be here to stay. But there may be other requirements for areas with colder climates. Maybe someone at a garden center will know?

  7. Todd says:

    This is fantastic! Thanks so much. I love the step by step with pictures.

  8. Frank says:

    Very helpful guide. The chicken wire at the bottom to keep out the smaller critters was brilliant.

  9. samwisegamgee says:

    That looks great! I just built a similar thing but for a chicken coop. I just used chain link fence in Toronto for the outside and well it basically looks like your contraption.

    • Terese says:

      Interesting! While out driving, I also saw someone else who had built one so similar to mine that you’d think we knew each other! It is also fun to see how different people come up with different solutions.

  10. Patti says:

    Thanks for sharing. Is there a battery in the electric box for the electric wires or have you run an electric cord from house? Looks like a yellow extension cord out the bottom of electric box.

    • Terese says:

      No battery, there’s electricity that we ran from the house, like you said. It’s not up and running these days anymore, now that we don’t have corn (so the raccoons have left the rest alone.) But yeah, we were able to plug it in and out right by our back door, so that was very handy and made things easy.

  11. Nate says:

    Terese,

    I love your post. The pictures are great too. Thank you for sharing them. My question is this: would you happen to know the length & width of the entire garden fence structure? And did y’all have to use more than a single roll of the wire fencing?

    • Terese says:

      Thank you!!
      I couldn’t find the measurements, so my son helped me take new ones this morning. It is not entirely rectangular, but close. One of the shorter sides is longer than the other, so that makes no sides the same. The two long sides are 29 ft. versus 28 ft. 10 inches, and the two short sides are 19 ft. 5 in. versus 12 ft. So the perimeter is 29 ft. x 12. ft x 28 ft. 10 in. x 19 ft. 5 in. Size wise I feel I have just enough to be able to experiment with new plants and have plenty of room for what I want to grow. There is room for a lot, and I know I could have grown it all in a smaller space as well. But we have plenty of room, so we could afford taking this space. Sometimes it feels like more than I want to deal with, so I may have gone just a little bit smaller if I were to redo it. Then again, plenty of people have much more than I do.
      As far as rolls of fencing, I can’t remember how many rolls we may have used, but hopefully the measurements for perimeter will help in figuring that out depending on the roll you’re looking at and how many linear feet comes on it. I hope that helps! I just double checked the measurements, looks like I got it pretty close.

  12. Larry says:

    Great fence & gate. We too are adding fence to an existing garden, but her in our area of MT, we don’t worry too much about raccoons, the coyotes will get them. Deer is our worst worry, with skunk also a potential problem. Your husband’s design has given me inspiration on how I will proceed. As for cementing the posts, our fence place here says they will rot sooner, even if pressure treated, some lasting as little as 5-7 years, with dug-in posts still great after 10-12 years. We recently recycled some posts taken down at a local wild bird nesting area. These posts were in the ground for probably 20 years, and most still looked great, showing just a small amount of “thinning” where they were below ground. The exposed parts showed more wear, but for our purposes (not using for fencing) they are great and the price was right!

    • Terese says:

      That’s very interesting to know! I suppose we can be happy we did as we did, then! Thank you for sharing this with the rest of us!

  13. Nate says:

    Great post and thank you for the pics as well. I am interested in knowing the length and width of the entire garden. Are you able to provide that information? It would very helpful for us. Ty

    • Terese says:

      Thank you! The size of the garden is as follows: The two long sides are 29 ft. versus 28 ft. 10 inches, and the two short sides are 19 ft. 5 in. versus 12 ft. So the perimeter is 29 ft. x 12. ft x 28 ft. 10 in. x 19 ft. 5 in. This information plus a bit more detail on the size was added to reply to a comment from July 18, so take a peak at that as well. ;)

Trackbacks

  1. [...] Building Our Vegetable Garden Fence (Country Basket) –  Nice photo essay of fence and garden gate construction, featuring 18 inches of chicken wire, then 4 feet of wire mesh, topped by two strands of electric wire. Using a combination of materials is a good way to build a tall fence without too much cost. [...]



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