how to build a livestock fence

Earlier in the summertime, Mister & Master M built a new fence around our vegetable garden in the backyard. It’s inspired by traditional livestock fences but with a bit of an edge and character. Here are all the details on how they did it and how you can do it too. It’s amazing how easily they built it and rather quickly too. Plus it’s super sturdy and actually much better built than the fence they replaced, which was professionally installed I might add.

Mister Masterpiece actually figured our how to do this all on his own, starting with the gate fences on the sides of the house and then the front fence on our property and now the garden fence. He refines the process each time he does it so we thought we would share here to inspire or help you build your own fence. Here’s another post on the fences in the front yard from last year {the Hogwire Fence Project}.

First, lets remember what the old fence looked like. It was a sweet picket fence, which gave the garden a cottage vibe. I loved it and was extremely apprehensive to replace it, but it was worn and breaking down more and more each day. Finally when we had it removed we found out it had termites so it was a good thing we did it when we did.

The new fence has more of a residential farmhouse feel to it, which is the perfect upgrade for our home right now. I love how it looks and it has updated the “look” of the garden and our backyard in general. And the best part? We did it ourselves. I call this a livestock fence although we actually don’t use it to corral any furry friends, rather we use it to keep critters out of our vegetable beds.

We used pressure treated wood for our fence since we were told this will help from having it deteriorate like our previous fence. The first step is establishing where your main posts will be located. Each fence section here is spaced about 4 to 6 feet apart. We have variations on the lengths because of the footprint of the garden so we had to follow the organic shape. If you’re building a straight fence I would just decide on a length that makes sense for your project. A length that’s divisible by 6-8 feet into the total length of your project. Here are the boys making sure the posts are perfectly level.

We used 4×4-inch wood for the main fence posts. Each hole for the main posts are about 1-1/2 feet deep, which grounds each post securely. The fence posts are about 40 to 36-inches tall {above the ground}, making each post about 4-1/2 to 4-3/4-feet tall before you stick the approximate 18 inches into the ground. We have variation because our ground slants where the vegetable garden is located but if you’re on a flat surface I would just pick on how tall you want your fence depending on the purpose and look. The fence posts are secured into the ground using Quikrete, a cement concrete mix found at most home improvement and hardware stores.

Make sure your posts are perfectly straight using a level as shown in the previous photo, while your posts sets into the Quikrete. Once the cement mix is totally set and dry, you are ready to add your horizontal beams on the fence. We used 2×4-inch wood rails here. Cut each fence rail to fit snugly in between each fence post. The top rail is attached to the main posts about 4 inches down from the top, while the bottom trails are attached about 6-inches from the bottom. Since there are planting on the bottom of the fencing, the added space is visually more appealing.

After the 2×4 railing beams are nailed into into the 4×4 posts, the boys added the arbor and gate to our garden fence. If you are interested we can give you all the details for the arbor and fence, following the same building principles used on the fencing panels. Let us know in the comments and we can provide you with additional details. I will leave all the final details for the arbor and gate for a subsequent post here, since this post is chock full of details.

We found the finials on amazon here. The finials are purely decorative and not structural necessary, but they add a nice finishing touch. You can also use caps like we used in the front and side fences {the Hogwire fence project}. I did not capture Miss M helping dad paint the fence, but it truly was a family affair. Once the fence was fully painted and the hardware and old signs were attached, it was time to add the wire, which is the “personality” of the fence.

The wire come as sheet panels in different sizes, gauges and colors. We used silver wire panels in a 4×6-feet size in a 6-gauge thickness. Once you cut the wire panels down to size to fit within your fencing dimensions, attach them using industrial staples or fasteners. If you zoom in to our pictures you will be able to see how our wire is fastened to the wood.

We love the updated look the new fence gives the garden. And it feels even better that it was home grown. We hope this helps and | or inspires you to build a fence of your own!

“Whatever good things we build end up building us.”

Jim Rohn

3 Comments

  1. This is a gorgeous project. I have some garden areas that could use a fence like this. Thank you for linking up and have a great week.

  2. The new fence looks so good! Now all I need is live stock!! BTW, if I could get my hands on those old pickets, I will build all sorts of little projects! We made picket ‘crates’ among many other home decor items that our local customers love. I have a tutorial on my blog in case you need a project for the leftover pickets – without the termites of course! Pinning!

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