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Fence Installation: What If My Property Isn’t Level?

Whether you live on a mountainous rural parcel of land or in a hilly suburb, your property might feature less-than-flat topography. This doesn’t mean you have to forgo a fence; on the contrary, you can either shape the fence along the contours of the land or level the property first. Check out your options below.


Straight Versus Slope

A sloping fence looks more natural on a lot, especially if your house is surrounded by similarly hilly homesteads. However, a level lot makes fence installation easier, which appeals to DIY novices. To make this decision, consider your land’s degree of slope. If there’s only a slight incline, leveling the lot makes sense. However, if your yard features a more drastic incline, consider working with the land’s natural topography.

A Level Playing Field

If you decide to level your lot, you’ll need a high-quality spade as well as other hand tools, such as half-moon cutters and gardening forks. For a small uneven area, create a cross-section with your cutter and spade, then backfill the area until it’s level. Alternatively, you can top-dress the area with high-quality soil and wait for the turf to grow through. Most homeowners don’t have the time for this solution.

For larger uneven areas, grade the soil by removing the turf, then scrape off soil until the ground is level. Replace the turf over the newly graded soil. Regardless of the method you choose, tamp down the earth afterward with a shovel or tamping tool. This ensures your lawn won’t settle later and disrupt the structural integrity of your fence.

O’er the Hills

For homeowners who prefer to maintain their land’s natural shape, it’s necessary to adjust the installation method of the fence. Two main fence-building options exist for uneven ground: racked or stepped panels.

A fence with stepped panels features fence panels of varying heights. Install the first section of fence over the lowest ground, then start the next section at a greater height. It results in a stairlike aesthetic that you can disguise with greenery or other ornamentation if you don’t like the look.

Racked or rackable panels, on the other hand, involve prefabricated panels with pickets of varying heights. As you install the fence, let the pickets follow the slope of the land. This option is ideal for pet owners because the base of the fence sits flush with the turf; your furry friends can’t crawl underneath when you’re not looking .

Mending Fences

If you’re frustrated with your current fence (or if you don’t have one at all), consider the different ways to put fencing to good use. Even if you don’t live on a perfectly flat lot, you can still secure your yard and create an attractive border for your property. However, it’s best to make these decisions in advance so you don’t have to tear down your work and start over.

An unlevel property doesn’t mean you have to live life in full view of your neighbors. It just means you’ll need some extra preparation before you start the job.

How level is your property?

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One Comment

  1. I like how you mentioned that a sloping fence looks more natural on a lot, especially if your house is surrounded by similarly hilly homesteads. My uncle owns a farm and he told me the other day that he would like to add boundaries to his property so that he can let the sheep out. I will tell him to contact a fence contractor so that they can provide him with the best solution possible.

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