How to Install a Fence on Unlevel Ground

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There are many reasons to erect a fence, from framing a fantastic view to keeping domestic critters in and wild creatures out. When the ground is unleveled, the task of building a fence can feel overwhelming. But erecting a fence on uneven ground isn't a difficult task to undertake, even though it takes a few extra steps. With the right tools and material, a straight fence can be put up in a flash.

How to Install a Fence on Unlevel Ground
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Prep Work for Preparedness

Check the local building codes before you dig your first hole. A permit may be needed in order to build a fence on the part of your property that you are thinking about. If you have a homeowner's association, they often ask for approval before you place a permanent fence on any area of your property. Plot out the plan for your fence, from gates to corner posts. If you have full pickets, make sure you have enough room to run them and be able to turn where needed. Plot out your property line in advance so that you don't overstep your project into someone else's yard.

How to Level the Field

When the terrain is pitched, rough or rocky, a straight and sturdy fence can feel like a far-off dream. Although it is a bit of a challenge, the contour method can save you time and money. If you have a slight slope that needs leveling, spend an afternoon leveling out the land for a smoother fence installation. Make sure that the rails of the fence follow along the property line for a natural look. If you have a relatively small divot in your potential fence line, fill it in and let it settle.

A stepped panel works well for serious inclines and creates a natural-looking fence that moves along the plain of the land. Start at the lowest part of the fence line and move up the slope for a stair-step fence. A measuring wheel can help you to discern where the posts should be placed before you begin. The measured rails should be nailed to the middle of the premeasured fence posts before attaching the planks and top and bottom rails.

Maintenance Measures and Kits

There are many kits available online that will send all the material for your project in one shipment. This is beneficial in that you know you have everything you need, from the screws and hinges to the corner piece. Once you've installed the kit, it's a good idea to check it on occasion to ensure that it is snug and not letting the fence sag. The more the gate sags, the more wear and tear will damage the hardware, particularly the cable, as well as the holes that hold the hardware.


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

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