A privacy fence, usually made of wood panels, is a good way to add privacy to your yard and keep pets and children safe. You can also get vinyl fence panels, which are generally more expensive, but the method to put the fence up is the same. Some privacy fences are very attractive, but even the plainest and least expensive are wooden so they do not look bad the way chain link usually does.
Measure the place you want to install the fence. Have someone else hold the end so you can get an accurate measure and keep the tape measure low, close to the ground, so there is no sagging which would cause inaccurate measure. Measure the length of each side that needs a fence.
Using your measurements, calculate how many fence panels and posts you will need. Most panels are 8 feet long. The more posts you have, the sturdier your fence will be; generally you must at least have a post where ever two fence panels meet and on each side of your gate. But sometimes it is best to put one post in the middle of each panel too, for better support. In some cases you will need a post at any starting or ending point, but sometimes you can attach the fence panel to a wall instead. You will probably end up having to buy one extra panel, and cut it to something less than 8 ft in order to make it fit.
Before going to buy your materials, it's a good idea to check the sale papers! Home Depot and Lowes put the fence panels on sale fairly often. Don't hesitate to ask to speak to one of the experts there at either store, to be sure your list is correct and you have worked everything out on paper correctly. They will also check your calculations to make sure you buy the right number of posts, panels, and hardware -- just take your paper with your exact measurements. You will need a truck or van (no back seats) to bring your fencing home. Or you can rent a truck from UHaul or Home Depot. You should also look into renting a powered post hole digger: it will save you a lot of work and time, and sore muscles. The people at the store can also help you to select the proper hardware, including nails, screws, hinges, latch.
Once you have all your materials and you're ready to start, lay out your plans, and go over it all again to make sure you have all you need and a good plan. Start at one end, usually abutting a wall of the house or garage. Use your post hole digger, and dig the holes for your fence posts. You will be putting all the fence posts in place first. Mix your concrete according to the directions.
As you dig each hole, drop the post into it, about 1.5-2 feet deep (the posts are generally 2 ft taller than the fence panels to allow for this), and fill in with the concrete. Make sure all is filled in and packed well, so there is no wobbling in the posts. Once you have installed all your posts, and filled the holes with concrete, you get to take a break. Follow the directions on the bag, but generally expect to wait til the next day for the concrete to be dry enough.
Next day, check your concrete and posts to be sure the concrete has dried and the posts are very secure in their holes. If all is well, you can start putting up your fence panels. Make sure you put all the panels facing the same direction -- there is a front side and a back side, which is easy to tell when you see the panel, but you don't want to end up with some panels showing their backsides! Put the panel up with each end against a post and nail into place.
Add your gate last. Install the hinges onto the gate, then attach to the fence post. Do the same with the latch. It's important that the sides that attach to the gate are aligned and straight. Also, be sure again that the gate is facing the right direction - not showing its backside to the street!
Enjoy your yard! Let the dogs out, bring the kids out, and have a cook out to celebrate.