What items are required for digging fence post holes?

  • Spade
  • Post Digger
  • String line
  • Spirit Level 
  • Concrete mix

three muddied spades in a garden

How to dig a hole for a fence post:

Digging the hole – You can find at all big house and garden suppliers a tool named a post hole digger. They cost around £30-40 and are the best tool for the job. Designed specifically, these will take the least time and the least effort however a few things will need to be considered before digging.

The first consideration is, will their be any pipelines or cables under the soil which will cause further damage if struck? Make sure you know the ground layer and stay well clear of piping.

The second consideration is what type of ground will you be digging. Hard stoney ground will cause issues when digging as well as soft clay layers. It is best to dig a part hole and pour water in to work and weaken the soil if you reach a tough part of the ground.

Once you are satisfied with the ground, use a flag pole line up to work out where the holes will need to be dug if it is a multiple fence job. That way you can be sure that the holes you dig are the perfect size for the fence panels.

Thrust your digger into the ground and jiggle it around before opening the claws and extracting soil. Keep continuing this process until you are deep. It is often the case you will experience roots and other hard objects, use the bladed edges to work the soil to allow for deeper penetration of the ground.

If you are unsure on how deep you are, a great rule of thumb when posting fence posts is that at least 1/3 of the post should be underground. This will provide adequate support to keep the post upright. Therefore, placing the pole in and out until 1/3rd or 4 feet is dug.

Anchoring the Fence posts – Pouring concrete mix into the hole to keep the post stable is a common practice. Follow the correct concrete instructions, avoid a quick job as it will have minimal effect on the post. We advise using the least amount of water to set of the concretes chemical reaction as this will make it extremely hard and have the best effect on your fence posts. Get someone to hold the post once you have checked using a spirit level that is the correct gradient, then pour in the concrete mix.

Hold the post until the mix is semi set, then use left over soil to cover the layer to reapply the natural look.

Following this method is the most effective choice to undertake for your fence posts. Other methods will work but nothing comes close to the stability this method will ensure.

Head on over to our dedicated fence posts page, by clicking on this link, where we have an abundance of posts of all shapes and sizes which guarantee long lasting support for your fence panels at an extremely competitive price.

a wooden, pressure treated fence post in situ a close up view of a concrete fence post in situ

Remember, should you have any questions or queries about digging fence post holes, feel free to give us a call, on 0333 003 0515, to speak with a friendly advisor; we're always happy to help.