Robert is an author, artist, graphic designer, and photographer. He writes about Survivalism and Futurism.
Why Install a Fence?
Every year I try to grow some sort of vegetable garden. I've had a wide variety of successes and failures. This year was a bit different than past seasons. This year we have a puppy. She is a wonderful animal, but she has something against any kind of living plant in our backyard. She even went as far as trying to dig up the apple trees and pear trees that were only there for two years. Luckily she didn't dig too deep; I was able to thwart her by placing stones at the base of each tree.
We finally decided that we needed some sort of gate to keep her out of part of the yard to grow something this year. We went to Lowe's and priced some of the fencings. We looked into the plastic stuff, but I knew it would not last more than a year or two. We looked into several of the wooden versions, but I really didn't want something that would be difficult to put together, and I didn't know what to have to attach it to the fence or the deck.
We chose the Empire Base Fencing from Lowe's. If we bought it new, it would have cost us about $280. We went home and looked on Craigslist and found it used for $5 per section. That dropped the price down to $91. It was a great discount, and the fencing was in great shape. I thought I would take a moment and show you how to install it if you decide to get this fence for your own yard.
Step 1: Run a Straight Line Down the Yard
So I could keep the fence straight as I installed it, I ran a bit of twine from the deck to the fence. This helped me to make sure the fence was going to be straight as I put it together. There are several other ways to do this. You could run a chalk line or spray paint your line. You could eyeball it, but I didn't want to risk it.
Step 2: Line up Your Stakes
If you just pound your stake into the ground without looking, then things will most likely not line up when you go to slide your post through the fence and into the stake. Then you will have to pull it out and hammer it in again. This is a lot more work than I am willing to put into my fence, so I constantly ensured that the fence was lining up with the stake after every few blows of the hammer.
Step 3: Tap the Stakes with a Hammer
The idea is to get the stake started. You don't want to hit the stake too hard, or you will start to deform the stake. Then the post will not fit into the stake. Double-check your alignment. You don't want to get the stake driven into the ground just to find you will have to pull it out again.
Step 4: Pound in the Stakes With a 2x4
This is when you are going to need a bit of strength. You can get out all that frustration and get a little bit of a workout simultaneously. Make sure you use a 2x4 or another piece of wood to hit with the hammer. This will allow you to pound in the stake without doing any damage to it.
Step 5: Place the Gate Over the Hole
I try to make sure the cross pieces are below the dirt surface so no one will kick it and hurt their foot. If the hole of the gate swings evenly over the hole of the stake, you are in good shape. If you are off by a little bit, you can use your hammer to knock the stake over a millimeter or two. If you are off by more than that, you will have to pull it out and start over. I find a pair of pliers works well to get it back out.
Step 6: Slide It Into Your Post
Did you get the stake driven in straight? This is where you find out if you did a good job. Slide your post through the holes on both pieces of fence. Then slide the post into the stake. You may have to make a few adjustments and pound with your hammer lightly, but don't scar your new gate.
Step 7: Hammer the Post Into Place
If you use the same 2x4 to knock the post into the stake, you will have an easier time getting the post to sit a bit lower. If you can make them all even, then they will look better.
The End Result!
I like this Fence because I can pull it all out and put it somewhere else if needed. I can paint it every year to keep it from getting rusty. It is made out of metal, so it should last for a while. I look forward to planting my garden behind it.
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.
Questions & Answers
Question: Will empire fencing work around a whole yard?
Answer: Yes, but it is only 2 feet tall and may not keep your dogs or children confined.
Tell Me About Your Garden Challenges, I know you have had them!
Linda on May 25, 2018:
We really liked the fence, but the latch was poorly designed. My husband made a latch out of square stock steel. I have pictures, if you are interested in looking at the design.
Ed on September 12, 2016:
I am going to install this fence. I have questions: How the gate panels and the fence panels do not fall to the ground? The post is a smooth rod 3/4" in diameter. Do I have to provide a washer and weld it to the post 3" above the ground to carry for both gate and fence? Please provide close up photos for that solution.
anonymous on September 17, 2013:
How does one cut these to length? I mean fitting these sections into a 10ft run presents challenges. I'm looking for a good way to custom fit these. Thanks!
anonymous on September 02, 2013:
Does anyone have any advice on keeping the gate latch secure? I cannot keep mine latched and the new model does not appear any more secure. Has anyone replaced the latch with something more sturdy?
anonymous on April 20, 2013:
We just bought this fence and it took us 3 hrs to put in four sections, it's not as easy as we thought it would be. We live next to a creek and the ground has a lot of different size rocks, not knowing we were going to run into this problem until we started putting in the stakes, ended up shoveling out the holes. We try to put two more sections in and now were running in to where the fence is not level with the ground.....even though our lawn is pretty level. Any advice? thinking of taking it back
RecipePublishing on August 26, 2011:
caffimages on May 07, 2011:
Good idea. Pets can be a nuicance around your plants. Cats are harder to keep out though! :-)
Robert T Gasperson (author) from South Carolina on May 05, 2011:
@sidther lm: Yep. Same Here. If you look at the first Photo in the intro. You can see the wooden fence that goes all the way around the yard. It was fun trying to get them to approve the fence and the deck all at once. Nice thing about this little metal garden fence is that it is easily moved.
poutine on May 05, 2011:
sidther lm on May 05, 2011:
Homeowners association! The fences must all be 7 ft wooden privacy fences- they are heavier than they look, especially doing it alone and trying to get it straight! I love your fence! It is very attractive!
lemonsqueezy lm on May 05, 2011:
We have a vegetable garden for the first time this year. For various reasons, I want to put a fence around it. This is the type of fence I was imagining. Thanks for the demo.