Building a Fence on a Hill
Time Required: Over 1 day
Installing a fence on a hill seems like a daunting project, but with the proper planning, you can tackle it just as easily as a fence on level land. You have two building choices: You can follow the natural contour of the land or you can build a stepped fence. This guide will walk you through the process of building both types of fences.
- Drive 2 × 2-foot stakes at the top and the bottom of the slope.
- Run a level mason’s line between the stakes, measuring and evenly marking locations for posts along the line with tape.
- Drop a plumb bob from the tape marks on the line to transfer the marks to the ground.
- Mark the spot with powdered chalk.
- Dig holes at the marked spots and install the posts.
- Once posts are in place, measure up from the ground to lay out the bottom rails.
- Measure up from the bottom rails to lay out the top rails.
- Cut the rails so the ends fall at the middle of the posts and fasten them with #8 2 ½-inch deck screws
- Drive a stake at the top and bottom of the slope where you’d like the fence to end.
- String a mason’s line from the base of the top stake to the bottom stake and then level with a line level.
- Measure the distance between the line and the ground at the bottom stake to find out how much the fence drops along the run.
- Measure along the line and mark the location of the posts on the line with masking tape.
- Count the sections of fence you will need and then divide the overall drop of the fence by the number of sections to find the drop per section.
- Dig holes and install the posts where you marked earlier so each one is slightly taller than the finished height of the fence.
- Measure to find where the top of the upper post will be and draw a line to mark where you will cut it.
- Measure down by the drop per section, which you figured out in Step 1 and tie a line at that point.
- Tie the other end to the next post and level the line. The point at which it crosses the second post will be the top of that post.
- Mark the top, move the line down by the drop per section, then stretch it to the third post and level it. Mark as before.
- Continue down the hill, marking the top, measuring down and stretching a level line until you reach the bottom of the hill.
- Cut off the tops of the posts at the layout lines.