Tips For Building Your First Front Fence

house with white picket fence

What’s it for?

There are various reasons to build a fence. You may want to keep your kids or dogs protected from the street, you might want to make a safe environment for your loved ones, or you may wish to add a feature to your house in accordance to its own architectural heritage. Whatever your reason is, you must have a basic idea of what it is for before you make your own fence; be it a picket fence, garden fence or high privacy fence. It needs to give enough privacy for your peace of mind. It has to be high enough to keep the children and dogs in and the world out. It should look great, go well with the general architectural style of your house. It needs to have working gates and a letterbox. If you would like to see through the fence to highlight your garden, galvanized steel mesh panels are typically the material of choice. Alternately, if you want a solid barrier for privacy, use materials which are stronger and larger.

What style?

You may now be in a position to think about the style of fence that will suit your home. If you reside in a heritage house, the local council will have certain thoughts about your streetscape and will ask that you build a fence that is aligned with the architectural style of your home. This is a great idea anyway as it is generally the best way to harmonize your fence with your property and so add to its general price. There is no excuse for a poorly designed fence since the template to your fence will probably be right there in your suburb. Take some time to drive around, searching for houses similar in style to yours and study the fences. When you find one you like, be aware of its design features and construction details. Assess the size of the poles, railings, and plinth, the openings between pickets or the type of cladding, the design of the gates, whether stepped or operating together with the slope and any other identifying information. Note the building details. Are the plinths and rails mortised or rebated? How are the post caps made? Can the gates have a metal or wooden frame? Take a pad and pencil or a camera and record detail. The type of your home will depend upon its age. For example, housing trends in Melbourne over the past century could be clearly divided into definite intervals as we move through the decades, with its economic booms and depressions, wars and social movements.

We need our products to have a good lifespan but realize that we need to consider the costs, and so often use a mixture of different timbers. Posts need to be produced from a stable timber to minimize bending and twisting. Pickets likewise have to be stable as their depth makes them conducive to bowing. Capping should be kiln dried to avoid shrinkage. Glulam timbers are really good for this particularly because of its strength.


Select the place of your gates. Pedestrian gates must be about 1 meter wide, while driveways nowadays need to be at least 3 meters wide. Find the finish posts, and then split the distances between the end places and the gate articles into equal segments. Sections should be no broader than 2.7 yards.


The best thing that you can do to help your fence would be to paint it when still fresh. This means sealing the wood with oil-based pink primer prior by applying two topcoats. Water-based primers are not suitable as they don’t seal the wood by the weather. House paint such as Wattle Solarguard is suitable for the topcoats. We recommend laminated wood which is usually more durable and moisture resistant than regular hardwood wood.

The Posts

The articles are the foundation of the fence and need to be set firmly and deeply in the floor. Post holes must be at least 600mm deep and 300mm wide. The depth is crucial to minimize sideways movement. The deeper the hole, the more firmly will the post be put. Soil type is also a variable. Clay soil can shrink when dry and expand when wet. Soil can be analyzed for its stability, which ranges from stable to volatile. For example, Richmond council sees the red clay soil in its region as volatile and needs one-meter deep pole holes. Quite tall posts will even require deep footings. As a rule of thumb, the thickness should be 1/3 of this post height. A 100mm concrete pad should ideally be set beneath the post so the post won’t sink.


You’ve assembled the frame and had a cup of tea. Now we are really beginning to see results. You can clad your weapon frame with virtually anything. If you are after a big barrier, you might choose Ripple blue or iron board, one of the strongest around. Pickets can be carefully placed close to each other for more privacy or a more traditional look. Welded wire or chain mesh will provide the opportunity to highlight these roses. However, if you’re hand nailing, you will need to drill a pilot hole. Contemporary tech screws will drill through metal, meaning no pre-drilling is needed if repairing ripple iron. Capping and cover boards will need to be stable concerning resist shrinkage. Ridge capping or molded handrail capping should be kiln dried. Otherwise, the capping will shrink when drying out, leaving an unsightly gap at the posts. Cover boards can be cut from dimensionally stable 18mm exterior or marine ply.

Now here are some ideas before you start building your own fence: