A fence built to a contemporary aesthetic can be as simple as corrugated metal panels set into a framework of wood posts, top and bottom rails, and trim boards. The new fence provides a shiny backdrop to your garden while blocking the neighbor's view.
First Things First
Before constructing a fence, consult the local building department and your homeowners association to ensure that your fence abides by the current regulations. The city may require a building permit for fences taller than 5 or 6 feet, while your homeowners association may not allow a fence at all. There may also be regulations on setbacks that require a specific amount of space between a fence and the sidewalk, buildings or property line. After verifying that you can build a fence of corrugated metal, call 811 to locate any underground utilities before you dig.
Use Safety Gear
Before building the fence, put on shoes, long pants, a long-sleeved shirt, safety goggles, a dust mask, heavy work gloves and, if cutting metal, ear plugs. The edges of the metal panels may be sharp, especially if you have to shorten three panels to fit a shorter section.
Measure the proposed fence line using a tape measure. Write down the measurements. Pound a stake into the ground at each end of the fence line and run a string from stake to stake. Mark the center point for the four-by-four posts, using stakes, to accommodate 8-foot-long panels. When measuring, allow for the width of the post -- 3.5 inches -- plus the length of the metal panels placed horizontally.
Dig a 10-inch-diameter, 30-inch-deep hole for each post, using a post hole digger or auger. Add 6 inches of gravel to each hole. Tamp firmly and then fill the hole with water. Allow the water to soak into the soil before setting the posts.
Place the post in the hole. Use a spirit level on two sides to ensure that the post is vertical. Brace each post with two pieces of scrap wood set on two sides. Screw each piece to the post at a 45-degree angle and then to stakes pounded into the ground. While a helper holds the post steady, fill around the post with quick-setting concrete, to within 3 to 4 inches of the top. Slowly add 1 gallon of water for every 50-pound bag of concrete to the hole. Double-check the post and make any adjustments quickly, before the concrete sets. Allow the concrete to dry overnight. Remove the supporting wood and stakes before proceeding with the fence construction.
Place a two-by-four board between two posts, measuring up 1 or 2 inches from the ground. If the board must rest on the soil, use pressure-treated wood. Use a spirit level to ensure that the board is level. Predrill and drive three screws at a 45-degree angle through each end of the board to hold it in place. Install all the bottom rails.
Repeat the process with the top rails, installing each rail flush with the top of the post. Drive the screws into the post at a 45-dgree angle from the bottom side of the rail.
The corrugated metal panels will be sandwiched between the vertical trim boards and the four-by-four posts. On the back side of the fence, measure the distance from the bottom of the bottom rail to the top of the post. Cut the one-by-12 boards to that length. Center each board vertically on its post, and screw it to the post using two 2-inch deck screws every 12 inches. Add additional screws to tie the trim board to the top and bottom rails.
Run a 2.5-inch-wide zigzag bead of construction glue along the inside of the trim board, next to the post, from top to bottom. Beginning at the bottom, butt a closure strip against the bottom rail and post, with the flat base against the trim board. Closure strips are 24 inches long, matching the finished width and shape of a corrugated panel. Place the next closure strip above the first, and add a third closure strip. Trim the last closure strip to fit, if necessary. Repeat onto each trim board.
Insert the first metal panel above the bottom rail. The corrugated metal fits neatly onto the closure strip. Using 1.5-inch screws, predrill holes and screw through the raised corrugation, through the closure strip, and into the trim board. Place a screw every 4 to 6 inches. Before adding the top screw, fit the next panel on top of the first, overlapping by one corrugation. Add the final screw to attach the first panel and begin attaching the second panel. Continue with the third panel, fitting it neatly into the remaining space.
Using construction glue, run a bead of glue along the edge of the corrugated panels, next to the post. Press closure strips into place onto the corrugated panels, butting the sides against the post. Add more glue to the back of the closure strips, and press the trim board into place, centered on the post. Screw the trim board onto the post. The trim board covers the closures and ends of corrugated panels, holding them firmly in place.
Measure along the bottom and top rails, from the sides of the vertical trim boards. Cut the one-by-six boards to fit. Install a one-by-six board horizontally across the bottom, screwing it to the bottom rail. Finally, add a horizontal one-by-six board to the top rail, with the edge flush with the top side of the rail, and screw it into place.