- Stakes and string
- Post hole digger
- Post level
- Tape measure
When it comes to fencing, the post and rail fence is one of the easiest you'll find to install. The rustic fencing is the fence of choice for most horse owners for its strength and durability. Depending on how many acres you're fencing in, this project could take weeks. Having a few friends help with the installation makes this job go much faster.
Plan for your fence. Check with your local code office to see if you need a permit to put up the fence and what the requirements are. Check with the utility companies to make sure there are no underground wires or gas lines before you start to dig. Check the survey for your property to make sure the fencing will be inside your property lines.
Measure for the layout of your fence. Rails come in 8' or 11' sections. Measure your area and try to place the fence so you don't need to cut the rails. If you do have to cut rails, make cuts on both ends so it looks even. Measure and plan for your gate or gates. Place stakes where you want your end and corner posts and run string between them. You can measure for your line posts and stake them out now or do one at a time as you're working. If you set the stakes now, use the measurement for the rails you're using and take into consideration the overlap at each post.
Dig the post holes. Using a post hole digger, dig the holes 10 to 12 inches around. Measure the post to seven inches below the last rail. Mark the post at that measurement and measure what is left of the post. Add six inches to the measurement that is left of the pole and dig the hole that deep.
Set the end posts. Place six inches of gravel into the hole. The gravel will keep water from sitting on the bottom of the post and causing it to rot. Center the post in the hole and backfill the dirt around the post. Tamp the ground and add more dirt if necessary. Use a line level and check the plumb and level of the end posts.
Set the line posts. Tie a string at the top of the end posts to give yourself a height check for the line posts. If any of the posts stick up too high, dig the hole a little deeper, and do not cut the post. It is easier to install the line posts one at a time with this type of fencing. This way you can make sure the rails will fit in perfectly and not have to dig a hole twice. Set the post the same way as the end posts and install the rails as you go along.
Install your gate. Gates for horse fence can be made of wood or metal. They can open out or slide off to one side. Most commonly they are pre-made metal gates that hinge to the post and open out. They can be held closed with a rope from the gate post to the end post, or you can install a lever-type lock. Once you decide on the type of gate, follow the manufacturer's directions for installation.