Fence installation is an excellent way to add more privacy to your property. However, erecting a fence on the slopy ground can be more complicated than building one on leveled ground.
You must install the fence for a sloped yard correctly. Fencing on a sloped yard can leave gaps wide enough for pets, small animals, and little children to pass through when not done correctly. In this article, you will discover all you need to know about how to install a backyard fence on your sloped yard.
Factors To Consider When Fencing a Sloped Yard
When installing a fence on uneven or sloped ground, there are a few factors you want to consider. By answering the following questions yourself, you will be able to choose the best backyard fence on a sloped yard:
- Do I mind having gaps at the bottom of my fence?
- Do I want the top of my fence stair-stepped, straight, or angled in the natural slope of my yard?
- What is my budget, and what is the most cost-effective option for me?
- Do I want the bottom of my fence stair-stepped, straight, or angled in the natural slope of my yard?
The answers to the above questions will give you a clear idea of the kind of fence you seek. Once you determine the kind of fencing you want, the next step is to install the fence.
How To Fence a Sloped Yard
There are different methods for installing a backyard fence on a sloped yard. Nonetheless, we shall be considering three methods in this article. Stepped fencing is the commonest solution to a sloped yard. While racked fencing is the most effective, straight fencing is the easiest to install. So let’s take an in-depth look at these three methods of fencing a sloped yard.
1. Install a Stepped Fence
Stepped fences are one of the commonest fences homeowners install on sloped yards. In this technique, the fence panels are installed horizontally instead of angling the rails and pickets of the fence to match the varying elevations of a sloped yard. The changing elevation is complemented by extending the posts and hanging the fences appropriately, ensuring that the ground underneath is cleared.
The result of this technique is a fence profile that looks like a set of stairs. Since every section of the fence accommodates the slope, each section is higher or lower than the section adjoining it.
However, this technique is not flawless. Most homeowners do not find stepped fences aesthetically pleasing. Stepped fences also have the problem of leaving gaps because the horizontal fence panels need to clear the highest point of the ground beneath them. These gaps beneath long sections of the fence can allow small children and pets to squeeze under, defeating the very essence of the fence.
You can fix the gap problem by positioning additional posts too close together and cutting each panel shorter than usual. Next, mount each section as low as possible while keeping it horizontal. You can also place raised planters alongside the fence. The planters are great for closing gaps and fixing the aesthetic problem, helping your yard look more attractive with shrubs or flowers.
You can also cover gaps with chicken wire then plant rows of bushes to hide the wire. If you are not inclined to the idea of flowers or shrubbery, you can cut the bottom of each fence section to make it match closely with the ground. However, it is important to note that this idea is only practical if you have a slightly sloped yard.
2. Install a Racked Fence
A racked fence follows the contour of the sloped yard, leaving no gaps under the fence. With racked fences, fence panels have each picket attached to the bottom and top rails with a hinge. The mounts are then placed in the appropriate places on each post. Once the fence section is anchored to these mounts, the pickets automatically adjust to the proper angle.
This is a lot easier than the traditional method of individually measuring and cutting each piece of the fence to match the slope. Doing this also takes out most of the maths, making it an effective DIY method for a great-looking fence on a sloped yard.
Often, racked fencing comes in prefabricated panels, typically made of polyvinyl chloride (PVC) or aluminum. If you would rather have a racked fence made out of another material such as iron or wood, then you’ll need to have it custom-made.
Unlike a stepped fence, a racked fence has posts of the same height. With stepped fencing, posts of different heights are sometimes required, making installation more difficult.
3. Install a Straight Fence
A homeowner may choose to ignore the slope of their yard and install a straight fence, as though the yard is flat. Although this is a simple solution, the downside is that straight fencing in a sloped yard will leave large gaps under the fence.
If your property is only a little bit sloped, this is a practical solution. However, erecting a straight fence on a sloped yard is generally not a great idea. The large gaps left under the fence allow small animals to access your property. Moreover, children and pets are also likely to escape through the small gaps in the fence.
Tips For Fencing a Sloped Yard
If you plan to install a backyard fence on a sloped yard, there are two ways to go about it. You can either ignore the sloped ground or work with the slope. Here are a few helpful tips for fencing a sloped yard:
1. Ignore the sloped ground
Ignore the slope and work with true horizontals and uprights if you want a professional-looking finish. Dig and concrete the posts the same way you would a fence on flat ground, but ensure the top of the fence panel remains level. A sloped fence panel will result in a sloped post, giving the fence a poor look.
With a gradual slope, you can smooth out the change in level at the foot of the fence using the soil. However, in areas where the slope appears steeper, it is best to dig out some of the slopes and insert the end of the panel into the trench created by digging. Creating trenches will prevent large gaps under the panels, creating a smooth curve in the flowerbed or lawn, which will be adjacent to the fence erected.
However, remember that fences are not designed to go underground, and in such a situation, a gravel board made of concrete or treated timber is fitted between the posts at the bottom. These gravel boards must be able to withstand the earth that will be leveled against them. When fitting gravel boards, it is important to ensure your fence posts are long enough to accommodate the height of the fence panel and the gravel board.
2. Work with the slope
If you have fence posts that are upright and level rails, you can decide to play around with the top level of your fence. You can choose to echo the contours of the land by ensuring each board is the same length and distance from the ground.
While this technique will give the top of the fence an undulating or sloped finish, it will still look right to the eye because the uprights will remain straight.
What Kind Of Fences Can I Install On A Sloped Yard?
There are many options to choose from when installing a fence on a sloped yard. The three primary materials used for sloped fencing are wood, vinyl, iron, and aluminum.
1. Wood fencing
The stepping technique is used when installing wood fences on a sloped yard, resulting in a finish that resembles stairs. However, you may not require a stepped fence if your backyard slope is moderate. Instead, you can install the horizontal rails of your fence parallel to the ground. Let it follow the slope of your terrain rather than using a single level for the whole length of the fence.
With wood fencing, you should keep in mind that you may not have the same level of privacy throughout. Also, due to the slope of your backyard, your fence height might vary, especially with the stepped fencing method.
2. Vinyl Fencing
Homeowners interested in a maintenance-free fencing option often go with vinyl fencing. Moreover, vinyl fencing is manufactured in panels, so the only way to install it is in steps.
Unlike wood or iron fences, vinyl fences don’t require routine painting, sealing, or cleaning. Instead, ensure your vinyl fence is installed correctly, and you won’t need to worry about maintenance for many years.
3. Iron & Aluminium Fencing
If you are not worried about privacy or want to avoid the harsh lines of stepped wooden fences, you might consider installing an iron or aluminum fence. However, installing an iron or aluminum fence in a sloped backyard requires precise calculations, so it is not usually the best DIY option.
If you live in a scenic area, an iron fence will keep your backyard secure while still allowing you to see between the rails. This type of fencing is perfect if you don’t want pleasant views disrupted. However, you should note that iron or aluminum fencing does not offer as much privacy as wood or vinyl.
Indeed, fencing a sloped yard is challenging, but it’s not impossible. Whatever fencing choice you settle on, ensure the fence is solid and secure enough to provide security. Even if your property isn’t completely flat, you can still have a great backyard fence with the right preparation and considerations.