There is much said about the benefits of a well-built fence. Setting up a straight and sturdy fence can be a challenge when the terrain is patchy, rough and uneven. Save your materials and back-breaking time by understanding the best way to build a solid fence when the ground you need to surround gets rocky. Bumpy topography is a given for large properties at some point, no matter if you are in the plains or farming in the foothills.
Whether the ground goes up or down, the rails of the fence should follow your property line using the contour method. A fence that follows the slope of the land looks much more natural. If it's a slight slope, leveling it out with a spade or half-moon cutter will make your fencing job easier. Create a cross section and backfill it until you get an even patch. Or fill in the slope with soil, and let it cure to hold the posts if you have time. If your incline is distinct, you can use the racked or stepped panel options for fence building.
Rails and Posts
Prefabricated panels with varying lengths of pickets allow you to easily follow the slope of your property. This racked panel system puts the fence flush with the ground, making it harder for animals to get out and critters to get in. Nail the measured rails to the middle of the premeasured fence posts. Review the straightness of the line before you remove the stakes for post-holes. Dig the pits with a mattock and set the fence posts. Attach the top and bottom rails and follow the contour of the land.
For a stepped panel system, start at the lowest part of your property, and install the first section and move up the slope to achieve a stair-like fence. Set up the fence line. Use a measuring wheel to ensure you have the posts where they need to be before you install. Once you have the panels or posts set in the ground, unroll enough wire mesh to reach to the next post and stretch over any rails. If you are using chicken wire, you can use a staple gun to attach it firmly to the posts and rails. Staple at least every 3 inches starting at the top and edges for a firm wire fence. Pull the mesh taut as you reach the next post. For heavier wire, use larger fencing staples and a hammer.
Kimberley McGee is an award-winning journalist with 20+ years of experience writing for a variety of clients, including The New York Times, Las Vegas Review-Journal Home section and other national publications. As a professional writer she has researched, interviewed sources and written about home improvement, interior design and related business trends. She earned a B.A. in Journalism from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Her full bio and clips can be viewed at www.vegaswriter.com.