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When you are prepared to put up a fence surrounding the bulk of your front or back yard, or both, careful planning is necessary. Unlike when you are digging one isolated hole for the sake of erecting a birdhouse or similar project, you cannot typically lay out a fence by sight alone. One of the most important preparatory steps you will take before beginning to work on the holes themselves is determining the precise parameter of your intended fenced-in area and consulting your lease agreement. Because sticking to a straight line can be surprisingly difficult, especially when working with a rather large project such as a fence, you may want to employ a string, tape measure, or similar device to help.

If this will be your first time putting up a fence, you may benefit from looking over diagrams and pictures, along with reading tactics that have worked especially well for others. You might find yourself surprised at some of the tools and approaches recommended over others. Some first-time fence builders assume that a shovel will work fine for their needs. When you utilize a shovel, however, you typically dig a hole bigger than what you need. Using post hole diggers is typically recommended for this job.

Contending with Soil

The ease of digging holes for fence posts will be determined to a large extent by the constitution of your yard. For instance, you will find that tough ground containing a large amount of clay is very problematic to dig through. You will also probably discover that some soil is too loose to be properly grabbed by a post hole digger. Because of the way its grip is designed, sandy soil can slip right out. If you have to work with this type of ground, one recommendation is that, after starting the process of digging, you pour some water into the holes you've begun and then return to them the following day. The soil, at the point, should be much easier to life cleanly out. Another type of soil that can prove quarrelsome is that filled with rocks. Having accounted for the soil, you will need to consider the layout of the land, including the placement of important underground utility cables.

Digging the Holes

Your actual process of digging is fairly straightforward once you have carefully attended to layout of the posts and accounted for difficulties with soil. When you are ready to begin a certain hole, you should hold the post hole digger's handles near one another, then plunge the digger in the surface. For the sake of making this process easier on your hands, you should wear gloves with a firm-grip texture coating the palms. You may find it necessary to shift the post hole digger in a back-and-forth, circular pattern to have it dig in properly at first. Then you will need to open the handles, causing the "jaw" of the digger to clamp firmly on the soil plug to be lifted out. With the digger held accordingly, lift it up and out. On the side of the hole, press your handles closer together to release the plug.

Digging holes for fence posts, while sometimes a physically draining activity, can prove very rewarding in the end. Knowing that the boundary of your yard is secured by a fence that your yourself, or perhaps you along with loved ones, erected can give you an increased sense of pride about your homestead. You will want to watch out for your own physical safety and comfort while performing the tasks associated with putting up a fence.

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