How to Install Vinyl Fence on a Slope?
Vinyl fence is a popular choice for homes with slopes. It’s more durable and requires less maintenance than wood fencing, making it a cost-effective alternative for many homeowners. However, installing a vinyl fence on a slope can be a challenge. If you’re planning to build a new fence on a slope, it’s important to plan out the project and take into account the slope before you begin.
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Installing a Stair-Stepped Fence
If your yard slopes gently, you might be able to install a stair-step-style fence. This style looks how it sounds, with each panel set a few inches lower than the one before it to account for the slope of the ground. It will leave some gaps at the bottom of the fence, but it’s a great option for gently sloped yards and for families with children or pets who may be at risk of falling off the fence.
Sloping or Raking Your Fence
If you have a more steep slope in your backyard, you’ll need to install a racked (or stepped) fence. This option creates an uneven rail line that resembles stairs, leaving a triangular gap between the top of the fence and the ground. This method is more complicated than a stair-step style, so you’ll need to trim your posts accordingly.
Start by staking the perimeter of your fence, including bays and gates. Tie a taut string between each stake.
Then, use a tape measure to mark the distance from one of the corners to each post’s location. Repeat the process at each corner and every other post.
Once you’ve marked out the entire fence line, dig holes for each post at the appropriate intervals for its length. These should be about four inches above grade. You’ll have to backfill the postholes with concrete after you assemble all of the rails and posts.
Before you can build a fence on a slope, you’ll need to find out what easements are available on your property and whether any local zoning laws prohibit building a fence in your area. These can limit your choices for style and location, so it’s best to check with your deed and neighbors before you begin any work.
Assembling a Stair-Stepped or Raked Fence
If you’re going to install a stair-step style fence, you’ll need to remove any trees and bushes in your yard that are in the way. If you have a large number of shrubs, you might consider hiring a tree service to trim the branches.
To assemble a racked or stepped fence, you’ll need to attach each picket to its rail, and then screw it into place. You’ll also need to add a few inches of gravel to the bottom of each post hole to give it some added stability and a level base for the posts to rest on.
Most fence styles will rack a bit. The amount of rack varies by style and manufacturer, but most will allow at least some degree of rise or drop. If you’re not sure, ask your fence professional or the manufacturer for more information on what type of fence is most suitable for your situation.