Before you get started you must first figure out your fence line. This will help you calculate the materials needed to build your fence. When determining your fence line the best thing to do is talk to your neighbors. If you’re in disagreement you can look for the property survey markers or if all else fails have your property surveyed. It’s best to keep the entire fence on your property. Once you know the fence line mark it with a string line. Using stakes hammered into the ground run the line 2 feet past each end of the fence line. Secure the string tightly to the stakes.
Next you need to treat your posts by following the manufacturers recommendations. I would suggest treatment at least 8 inches above ground level. You can also purchase posts that are per-treated from your lumber store if you wish.
Measure your post holes 8 feet apart. I wouldn’t recommend any further apart as through time your fence may sag or lean. Dig the holes about 28 inches deep. Make sure all posts are of equal distance apart. It’s now time to prepare your concrete for setting the posts. Mix your concrete with 1 part cement, 2 parts sand and 3 parts gravel. Add water and mix to a thick consistency but at the same time wet enough to pour all the way around the posts. Fill each hole 6 inches deep. Now it’s time to place the posts in every hole. Use a level to make sure each post is plumb and barely touching the string. Finish filling each hole to about 2 inches below ground level. Double check each post making sure it’s plumb.
After the posts have set it’s time to add the railings. Make sure to set the bottom rail 8 inches above ground and be careful to have both ends the same height from the ground. Fasten the top rails by measuring from the bottom rail up to the desired position. Finally attach the middle rail central between the bottom and top rails.
Before you nail the boards to the railings you might want to consider staining or painting them first as it is easier than doing this after they’ve been fastened. If you decide to go this route you should also stain or paint the posts and rails prior to attaching the boards. Using a spacer to maintain equal gaps you can begin nailing the boards to the rails, using 2 of the 2 1/2 inch nails hammered on each rail. Use a level to make sure the boards are vertically plumb.
Now that your fence is up you probably want a gate. First you need to determine the size of the gate. I would recommend a gate no less than 3 feet wide. You should build a frame with the 2×4’s overlapping and attach a middle rail for durability and strength. To allow room for the hinges and latch make sure the gate frame is built allowing 1 inch narrower between the gate posts. Next attach the fence boards and finally install the hinges and latch.