How to install a fence post into soil

How to Fit a Fence Post

So, you've picked out your new fence. It's time to get those fence posts in and get that garden boundary looking great again.

Here we take you through the essentials to fitting a fence post into soil.

a cut out of the end of a wooden fence post

What items are required for digging fence post holes?

  • Spade
  • Post Digger - optional
  • String Line - a hose can work too
  • Tape Measure
  • Spirit Level 
  • Hard Core or Gravel
  • Fence Post Concrete Mix - such as Postcrete
  • Wood Battens

How long should my fence post be?

Before you begin, you need to make sure your fence posts are long enough for the job. As a general rule of thumb, a fence post should be 2ft taller than the fence panel. This allows for the extra 2ft to be securely inserted into the ground. Others may state this as being at least a quarter of the post being under ground.

How to dig a hole for a fence post:

The right tool

You can use a small spade to dig your fence post hole. Alternatively, you can buy a tool called a post hole digger. They cost around £30-40 from most hardware stores and are the best tool for the job. Designed specifically for the task, these will take the least time and the least effort.

Think before you dig

Before you break soil, take a moment to consider this very important question: Will there be any pipelines or cables under the soil which will be damaged if struck? Make sure you know the ground layer and stay well clear of piping.

Use a spade to dig a small hole in the area you want your post to go. What type of ground will you be digging? Hard stoney ground will cause issues. A tip is to dig a part hole and pour water in to work and weaken the soil before you start the real work..

Measure and Mark

Once you are satisfied with the ground, measure your space and use a flag pole line up to work out where all the holes will need to be dug (if it is a multiple fence post job). That way you can be sure that the holes you dig are the perfect distance apart for the fence panels.

Start Digging

Thrust your post digger into the ground and jiggle it around before opening the claws and extracting soil. Keep continuing this process until you are deep enought. 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.

So you are sure how deep you have reached, a top tip is to measure and mark the desired depth on the post first so you can use it as a measure and identify how deep you need to go. In general, the hole should be 300mm square.

Ready... Set... Post!

When the hole is the desired depth, add an inch of hardcore or gravel to the bottom of the hole. This will aid drainage and deter rot.

Insert the post into the hole. Have a helper hold the post central in the hole while you add the dry cement mix. Fill the entire hole leaving about an inch from the top.

Pour the amount of water indicated in the instructions for your cement over the dry mix. Screw a couple of battens to the post to support it while the cement is drying. Use a spirit level to check the post is straight, adjusting the battens until you are satisfied with the dradient.

When the cement is set, you can remove the battens and fill in the inch gap with soil. You have successfully installed a fence post!

a beautiful garden fence run

Fence Posts For Sale

Head on over to view our fence posts for sale. We have a full range of posts of all shapes and sizes which guarantee long lasting support for your fence panels at competitive prices.

If you have any questions or queries about digging fence post holes, give us a call on 0333 003 0515 to speak with a friendly advisor. We're always happy to help.

Updated 05.09.2019 by The Buy Fencing Direct Blog Team