Unfortunately, you canâ€™t just stick a fence up where you please. Planning permission is needed in a number of situations, such as if the fence is more than 2m high or just 1m high if itâ€™s next to a public highway or footpath. Check with your local council if in doubt.
The other thing to bear in mind is whoâ€™s responsible for the boundary youâ€™re fencing, because it wonâ€™t necessarily be you. If youâ€™re pulling an old fence down, you need to check that you own it first, or get permission from the neighbour who does. Cooperation from your neighbours is essential, so speak to them well in advance. Indeed, you may find that theyâ€™re prepared to help you do the fencing or to pay for some of it.
Like all wooden products, you should get fencing from responsibly managed forests (look out for the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) logo) that has been treated with preservative to prolong its life. If itâ€™s not pre-treated, youâ€™ll have to do it yourself. You should also treat any ends that result from cutting the fencing or posts to size. With a post, you do this by placing it in a bucket of wood preservative for an hour or so, if itâ€™ll be below ground level or, if not, for at least five minutes. Follow the manufacturerâ€™s instructions when applying the preservative, especially the safety advice.
An alternative to using fence panels is close-board fencing, where you build up the fence one (vertical) plank of wood at a time. You can place the fence posts any distance apart because itâ€™s a more bespoke type of fence, but around 2.4m is ideal in a sheltered spot, reducing to 1.8m in an exposed spot or if the fence will be higher than 1.4m.
Itâ€™s important to get the fence posts really secure. The best way to do this on open ground is to put them in a hole surrounded by concrete and hardcore, though you may only wish to do this with certain, key posts. Use a post-hole borer or hole spade to dig the hole, both of which can be hired if you donâ€™t want to buy them.