Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Fence Part Three: Placing Posts

After determining where the fence would be installed, it was time to set the first corner post.

We have dirt about 8 inches from grade. Below 8 inches is sticky red clay common in this area. We were very thankful for having purchased an auger to help dig through this type of soil. The Mister tends to over engineer things at times. Perhaps this is due to his wiring and how he was brought up. (He majored in what could be loosely deemed an engineering field, one that involves numbers and computations, and his father is an engineer.) Using the auger, he dug the holes approximately thirty inches deep, poured rocks about two inches deep in the hole, and placed two fifty pound sacks of concrete in the hole along with a ten foot 4x4 post.
First corner post is set
After placing the first corner post, we measured and dug the next corner post and because we have several large trees in the corner of our property, we decided to angle the back corner panels which meant that we needed to add another corner post. The area beneath the trees was difficult to dig on account of the well established roots and clay. The Mister had to dig a wider base and chop the roots with an axe as deep as he could reach.
Compacting the concrete around the fence post
When the corner posts were set, we moved the string line from the stakes to a determined height (seven feet above grade) on the posts. This would allow us to keep the remaining posts straight and in line with the corner posts. And remember we marked the ground with white paint? When installing the posts, as long as we were to the interior of the painted line, we would be well within our property boundaries.

At the end of weekend one of installing fence posts, The Mister and I had installed three corner posts and two interior posts.

Corner post and two interior posts are set. The string line has been moved from the stakes to a determined height at the top of the corner post. The post to the left of the picture is a placeholder so that no one would step into the hole.

We continued to install posts throughout the week. In the evenings, The Mister would auger one to two holes. We learned that due to the clay, the easiest method was to dig about eight inches down with the auger, then pour a gallon of water in the hole and wait about an hour for the water to soak into the clay. The water loosened the clay enough for the auger to continue digging. Some holes required using this method several times before reaching the desired depth. I would pour water into the holes during my lunch break and about an hour before The Mister returned home from work so that the soil would be ready to auger when he returned.
Fence posts are installed including the 2 - 6x6 posts for the gate. The soil types are clearly visible in this photo. The light brown soil in the foreground is the topsoil. The large pile of reddish tan soil is the peanut dirt which we purchased to backfill. The smaller dark red mounds are the red clay.
In the mornings, The Mister and I would set the posts for the holes dug the night before. Dragging a bucket of rocks and several sacks of concrete along with gallon milk jugs filled with water, we would pour in the rocks, place the post in the desired location, level the post with a post leveler, and then begin adding the concrete and water in lifts, all the while tapping the concrete and water mix with the end of a broom handle to compact and mix the concrete. After three weeks, we had set thirty posts including two 6x6 posts for the gate. We began installing the rails and would then set the remaining ten posts during the Thanksgiving holidays.
The posts at the back of the property have been installed. Still need to install posts at the left and front of the property. 

Up next:

     Installing the Rails


     What Type of Fence should we select?
     Tree and Shrub Removal
     Determining Fence Placement

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