DIY Guide: How to Install a Vinyl Fence in Your Garden

Vinyl fences have gained popularity in the UK as an excellent alternative to traditional wooden fences. While the initial investment may be slightly higher, the longevity and low maintenance of vinyl fences make them a cost-effective choice in the long run.

Determining the Right Vinyl Fence for You

Before embarking on any fencing project, it's crucial to select the right type of vinyl fencing for your requirements. Here are a few points to consider:

  • The area to fence: Are you fencing a flat, level surface or a slope?
  • The surface type: Will the fence stand on soil or concrete? Our fence panels can be installed onto both surfaces, but only certain types can be installed onto concrete using our specially designed post inserts.
  • The purpose of fencing: Are you looking for full privacy or semi-privacy fencing?
  • Style compatibility: What style will complement your home’s existing architecture?

Once you've finalised your vinyl fence design, it's time to plan the fence location and calculate the number of fence panels and posts required for your project.

Remember, installing a vinyl fence isn’t as daunting as it might seem. While it's a two-person job and might take one to two days, it's a fulfilling DIY project that can dramatically improve your home's exterior aesthetics.

Table of Contents

  1. Before You Start
  2. Tools Required
  3. Site Preparation
  4. Post Marking and Layout
  5. Digging Post Holes
  6. Setting Fence Posts
  7. Installing Vinyl Fence Gate
  8. Final Touches: Post’ and Picket’ Caps Installation
  9. Dealing with Slopes
  10. Various Style Fence Panel Assembly Tips
  11. Conclusion

1. Before You Start

Before beginning your fencing project, consult your local codes regarding fence installation. Listed properties and conservation areas often have strict rules. For properties at risk or with heritage status, it may be impossible to make any changes at all.

In most cases, you can install a fence up to 6.5 ft or 2 m in height without trouble. Always confirm the location of underground utilities with your local providers before you dig.

2. Required Tools and Materials

Here's a list of all the tools and materials you'll need to successfully install your vinyl fence:

  • Personal Protective Equipment (Gloves and Goggles)
  • Tape Measure
  • Spirit Level
  • High Visibility Builders’ Line
  • Stanley Knife
  • Line Marking Paint (Optional)
  • Rebar or Wooden Stakes (Optional)
  • Shovel
  • Post Hole Digger
  • Tamping Bar
  • Rubber Mallet
  • Impact Driver or Drill
  • Wheelbarrow
  • Garden Hose
  • Postcrete
  • Water
  • PVC Cement
  • Stainless Steel Fasteners

3. Site Preparation

Ensure that the site for your vinyl fencing installation is clear of any significant obstacles. If the area to be fenced is on a slope, you must determine how the fencing will adapt to the landscape. Your fencing can be angled or stepped up/down to accommodate the gradient, depending on your personal preference. Spend some time planning. As the saying goes: Measure twice, cut once?

4. Post Marking and Layout

Start your layout by marking each corner of your fence perimeter with stakes. Once your fence perimeter is marked, tie a high visibility line between each stake. Remember to stake out all gate openings. With your corners staked and string line in place, you're ready to mark for post holes. The distance between posts should be measured from the center of one post to the center of the next one. Depending on your fence style, posts should be placed every six feet in the centers (for picket-style and terrace-line fences) or eight feet in the center (for privacy fence panels, post and rail, and some pool fences). Mark the positions with line marking paint, spraying a mark 2 1/2" from the string line to accommodate the width of a post.

5. Digging Post Holes

The fastest and easiest way to dig post holes is with a post hole auger. If your project involves many post holes, a power auger is highly recommended. Each post hole should be at least 30 inches or 75 centimetres deep. For 4-inch posts, the hole size should be 10 inches or 25 centimetres in diameter and for 5-inch posts, the hole size should be 12 inches or 30 centimetres in diameter.

6. Setting Fence Posts and Installing Rails

Start by placing the post in the hole to the correct depth. Use the high visibility line as a guide to ensure that the post is touching the line and is flat against it. Ensure the post is positioned plumb. Next, prepare the bottom and top rails with the pickets in place and insert the section into the posts. Fill the post holes with water to one-third of their depth. Making sure the post is straight and level, pour in the Postcrete evenly around the post, and ensure the mix is stiff enough to support the post. Tamp the concrete mix to eliminate air pockets until no water is visible. The mix should cover the water. Then add a little water on top of the mix and tamp the concrete again, making it packed. Check the post level and position. The mix will take about 15-20 mins to set hard enough to remove any support.

7. Installing Vinyl Fence Gate

All our gates are preassembled. Begin by marking where you will attach each hinge. Once you are happy with the location, attach the hinges to the post. Insert two pieces of 1/2” rebar at the full length of the post in opposite corners of the post. Using a funnel, fill gateposts with concrete covering the rebar. Leave to cure for 24 hours before you attach the gate.

8. Final Touches: Post and Picket Caps Installation

With all posts plumb and rails level and have had enough time to set, it’s time for the finishing touches. Wipe off water or any other residue from the posts’ and pickets’ edges, coat the inner edges of each cap with PVC cement, and slide and press the caps onto each post and picket. The cement will create a permanent bond in a few minutes.

9. Dealing with Slopes

Many UK gardens feature slopes and uneven terrain. Our fence panels are designed to accommodate such gradients with ease. You can adopt a 'stepped' or 'raked' installation depending on your preference and the severity of the slope. 'Stepped' installation means the panels remain horizontal, with the posts rising with the slope. 'Raked' installation allows the panels to follow the slope of the land. However, if 'Stepped' method is applied to all fences, 'Raked' is applied to plain Privacy Fence, and the Equine or Post and Rails Fence styles

10. Fence Panel Installation Tips for Different Styles

The process of installing garden fence panels varies slightly with different types of fence panels. Privacy, semi-privacy, and picket fences each have their unique assembly methods. Always follow the manufacturer's instructions for a seamless installation.

For Picket Fences:

  1. Assemble your fence section by inserting the bottom rail into the posts, followed by the top rail.
  2. The top rail should be routed through both sides of the rail, with the larger holes on the bottom side.
  3. Once the bottom and top rails are in place, start inserting the pickets.
  4. If you are working with our scalloped fence style, you will need to sort the pickets by their length.

For Privacy and Semi-Privacy Fences:

  1. The bottom rails fit into pre-routed holes in the posts.
  2. U-channels are then inserted into the bottom rails, followed by the planks.
  3. The top rail is then inserted into the posts, enclosing the planks.

11. Conclusion

Installing a vinyl fence in your garden can significantly enhance its appearance while offering you privacy. Although it may seem like a challenging task, a little planning and the right tools can make this a fulfilling DIY project. With our step-by-step guide, you can successfully install your vinyl fence and enjoy its benefits for years to come. If you have any queries or need further assistance, feel free to contact us.