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If you want to build a fence in your backyard, you have to first dig a fence post hole for each post you plan to install. Usually, fence panels are between 6 and ten feet wide, and you have to dig a fence post hole to accommodate the width of the panel. But there’s a few things you need to do before you just start digging holes in your yard.

Step 1

Measure the width of your fence panels and determine how far apart to dig the fence post holes.

Step 2

Set up a stake at each end of the fence installation area and run a string line between them to mark off your fence. Drive each stake in about a foot with a small, handheld sledge hammer. Use fluorescent twine for the best visibility.

Step 3

Use a tape measure and spray paint to mark off the exact location of each fence post hole. The location of the hole is very important when installing a pre-built fence because the panels must fit between the posts exactly. If you are installing the fence post on a hill, you will use a slanted panel, measure along the bottom of the slanted edge to determine a distance.

Step 4

Dig the fence post hole with a fence post digger or a regular shovel. Dig straight down about two feet (or as your fence instructions recommend) and remove all the earth. Make the hole about a foot wide in diameter. This is for typical 4×4 to 6×6 fence posts. It allows enough room for the post and concrete mortar.

Step 5

Repeat the process and dig a fence post hole for each post in your fence.

Step 6

To install the fence post: fill the hole with gravel, set and level the fence post in the hole. Surround the fence post with concrete and let dry. Stabilize the fence post if necessary with twine and stakes on three sides.

It is easier to dig another hole than it is to stretch a fence panel. So, pre-fit all your fence posts and panels before you start installing the posts.

Note: Use a level to ensure your fence post hole is dug straight down into the earth. Also, make the hole wide enough to fit your fence post!