We’re in the first of August and there’s nothing better than perfect summer nights spent in the backyard. It starts to cool off as it gets later and we’re gladly retreating to outdoor spaces. If your backyard isn’t super private or you’re looking to create an oasis of your own… check out this tutorial for installing a privacy fence. Both you and your neighbors will be happy you did!
To begin, gather all of your supplies- shown below. You can hover over the image for the specific product links…
Step 1 // Plan! Prior to ordering- it’s important to plan everything out! Measure twice and be absolutely sure. It’s also a good idea to chat with your neighbors. Sketch it out, measure, and formulate a plan.
You’ll need to calculate the number of panels, line posts, end posts, corner posts, as well as if you’d like to incorporate a gate.
Step 2 // Order and inventory delivery. All of our materials came from Lowes and they were delivered on a palette directly to our yard. Open all of the packages and carefully count the pieces to make sure the entire delivery is accounted for.
Step 3 // Demo and prep. If you have an existing fence, remove it. Next you’ll want to measure carefully and tie off your orange, nylon string, making sure everything is nice and level. It’s helpful to use little flags and sticks to mark where the post holes should be placed. Here’s an example of how it will eventually look:
Step 4 // Dig the holes. This is no doubt the worst part of the entire process… digging the post holes. You’ll want to dig the holes below the frost line (which varies by your area & location). Most holes in Utah should be around 3 feet deep. Although a post hole digger is the easiest tool for the job, you’ll definitely want to wear gloves. It actually gets easier the deeper you get- so don’t give up!
The lower perforated hole in the fence post should sit a couple inches above the ground. An easy way to test your depth is by putting the fence post into the hole and seeing where it lands.
Step 5 // Mix the concrete. Make sure your concrete is fast setting– this is really important! Here’s a pro tip: toss the entire bag into a wheelbarrow and use a hoe to chop or pierce the bag. It’s so much faster than opening each one (especially if you’re wearing gloves).
Add the appropriate amount of water (following the instructions on the bag), and thoroughly mix the concrete using the hoe.
You want the concrete to be pretty wet, but it shouldn’t have standing water on top of the mix.
Step 6 // Set the post and fill the hole. Now it’s time to set the post. Using a shovel, fill the hole surrounding the vinyl post with the concrete.
It takes approximately 3 bags of concrete per post hole. I know that’s a lot of concrete, but that’s pretty typical for this type of project. Trust me when I say your arms will be toned once you’re finished moving around those 50 lb. bags of cement.
Step 7 // Level the post. To fill the hole entirely, use a stick or scrap piece of fence to push and poke any air pockets out of the concrete. Continue doing this and checking the level until everything is compacted and perfectly square.
This $5 tool is a must for any fence project. Make sure the level bubbles on each side of the post are perfectly centered before the cement is completely set. Tweak the post if necessary! You can forcefully push it around in the cement until it’s perfectly level.
Step 8 // Smooth the cement. Using a trowel, smooth and finish the top of the exposed concrete. Don’t worry if the concrete gets all over the vinyl post, it rinses and scrapes right off!
Step 9 // Repeat these steps. Continue with these same steps until all of your fence posts are set. They should all be spaced according to your plan and exactly level.
Step 10 // Measure for the panels. Next, you’re ready to begin installing the panels. Measure the distance between the two posts for the horizontal rails.
Step 11 // Cut the rails to size. Using a table saw, mark the measurements and cut the rails to size.
Step 12 // Insert the bottom rail. Slide and lock the bottom rail into the lower notches. With a tiny bit of force, it should snap right in.
Step 13 // Assemble the panels. Now you can begin snapping in the vertical panels. This is the most gratifying part of the entire process. They go together so easily and instantly give you privacy, rewarding your hard work!
Step 14 // Cut the last panel. Not all panels need cut, but if you have an odd size, you can easily throw it on the table saw and make a quick adjustment.
Take a measurement, make the cut, and slide on the edge cover. If the side of your panel looks jagged from the table saw- don’t panic! The edge cover hides any imperfections and you’ll never see it.
Sidenote… after cutting the vinyl fencing, you’ll be covered in what I like to call ‘fence dandruff’. Those little plastic specks get everywhere.
Step 15 // Snap in the last panel. This is pretty self explanatory… that last panel should snap in, closing the gap.
Step 16 // Add the top rail. Measure, cut, and install the top rail in the exact same way you did the bottom rail. It should slide over the panels and snap into the upper post notches.
Step 17 // Add the post caps. The last step of the basic fence assembly is adding the post caps. Use the vinyl fence glue to secure those babies on and finish the look!
Step 18 // If you have a gate… If you opted to use a gate in your plan, we have instructions for that as well. The building process is the exact same, except the posts on each side of the gate will be lined with a heavy duty galvanized steel post insert. Immediately after installing the vinyl fence post in the wet concrete, slide your heavy duty post into the center.
It’s sort of tough to get it deep into the concrete, so work quickly. In the end, you’ll have to use a hammer to bang it in the rest of the way.
Once the post is flush with the vinyl exterior and the concrete has completely cured, you can install the provided gate hardware using a power drill.
Step 19 // Level the dirt. The last and final step is leveling the dirt. There should be piles of dirt next to each post hole… rake and level those out, closing in any gaps on the bottom side of your fence. If your fence got dirty throughout the process, any dirt and debris will spray and wipe right off. Feel free to take an extra step and clean it if you’d like.
You know what they say… fences make good neighbors. Ha! If you have the time to put in a little sweat equity, this backyard project will definitely pay off. You might as well enjoy the rest of summer in a secluded backyard, right? Hit us up with any questions in the comments!