Fences and Wire Netting

CLOSE-BOARDED garden fences offer great resistance to the wind and are apt in time to be made unstable as a result of wind pressure. Because the boarding impedes the prevailing wind, the uprights are subjected to buffeting and are liable to become loosened in the ground. This places a great strain on the cross pieces, which may eventually snap, causing a whole span of the fence to collapse. At the first sign of this trouble the upright should be securely supported. This may be done with stout wire if the prevailing wind is away from one’s own land, or with a timber crutch if the post inclines inwards. The anchoring wire may be lapped around the top of the post and its lower end secured to a stout stake driven into the ground at a sharp angle three or four feet to the front from the base of the post. If the use of a timber stay is indicated, the top of this should be wedged beneath a wooden block screwed to the post’s top, the lower end being jammed against a brick or other substantial object buried a foot deep well out from the line of the fence,.

It is essential, of course, that this stay should extend to the post’s top, or near to it. If its upper end is lodged too low down it will act not as a support but as a lever to help the wind lift the post clean out of the ground. The limb of a tree, fairly straight, two or three inches thick and sawn to the proper length will serve the purpose quite efficiently.

To prevent further trouble with the wind, the boarding may be removed and then replaced spaced out with gaps of two to three inches between boards. Removal of the boarding needs care to prevent splitting. During the replacement the opportunity arises to discard those boards showing greatest wear. Supporting cross pieces which also are defective can be replaced at the same time with less heavy timber, say 2 in. x in. The object of spacing boards in this manner is to allow the wind to pass through the gaps and so reduce strain on the uprights; this procedure, however, may not be appropriate in all cases. If, for example, a thoroughly efficient wind-break is desired it would be useless. But even here it is generally possible to decrease the height of the boards without sacrificing that protection from the wind to any appreciable extent, thus lessening the total area exposed to the force of the wind and thereby lessening the strain imposed on the uprights.

If new posts are needed, a timber merchant should be asked for something superior, in the way of well seasoned timber, free from defects. Lower ends last longer if soaked in creosote (merely painting the surface with this preservative is insufficient), or if generously tarred before the post is lowered into the hole, which should be at least 2ft. Deep. All fragments of broken wood from the old post should be removed, and the hole deepened and enlarged. If several new posts are being dealt with, a cord line is desirable to ensure perfect alignment.

The job is eased considerably by the presence of an assistant, who will hold the post upright whilst the soil is returned and rammed hard all around. Even the hardest ramming will be ineffective if the hole is completely filled in before being rammed. The soil should be returned a little at a time and rammed down in layers. Consolidation throughout the full depth is then secured. If the soil is of a light, loose nature, bedding the bottom iain. Of the posts in concrete is worth considering, to give security and permanance to the bedding of the posts.

A length of boarded fencing, wrecked in a gale, might well be replaced temporarily with hurdles. These can be obtained in a variety of heights, and when in position are not displeasing. They do not give the complete protection against strong winds afforded by close boarding, but adequately serve every other purpose. It goes without saying that the taller the hurdle the stouter should be the supporting stakes, which are connected together by stout wire at top, bottom and midway.

The hurdle stakes should go in first, driven into the ground with a mallet, or heavy hammer. If the stakes cannot be driven in by this method a hole should be dug two feet deep and the earth rammed back vigorously when the stake is in place. Taut lines, attached to the posts at either end of the fence at top and bottom, will aid correct alignment of the intermediate posts. Nothing det’racts from the appearance of a garden or other piece of enclosed ground, so much as badly aligned fencing or sloping hurdles.

Cleft chestnut pales (split stakes with pointed ends), secured to galvanized wire at intervals of about two inches, form an admirable fence where complete privacy is not a prime consideration and strong winds have not to be baffled. Lengths of this fencing are supplied in rolls, and erection is not difficult. Where cost is considered prohibitive, purchase might be restricted to galvanized iron wire and rough but substantial stakes, the latter to be stapled to the wire before erection.

Two rows of wire are needed, one to run nine inches down from the top line of the stakes, the other nine inches up from the bottom. The distance between the stakes (2 or more inches) must be the same at top and bottom or the result will be unsightly, and the stakes (or pales) must all be of the same length.

Stout posts at each end of the fence are very necessary because these will absorb much of the strain imposed when the fence has been erected, although intermediate posts or stakes, driven deeply into the ground, will be used. These will be positioned and aligned by a taut line at ground level. The posts at each end of the fence, as substantial as can be procured, should be sunk 2ft. Deep and each should be provided with a strut secured in line with the run of the fence.

The outer ends of the horizontal wires will be twisted round the posts at each end and there firmly secured. Intermediate posts should be set up about 6ft. Apart, and the horizontal wires stapled to them on the side most exposed to the wind. The paling can now be unrolled as far as the first intermediate post, and attached thereto with a couple of twists of wire, top and bottom. This procedure is repeated until erection is completed.

An alternative method can be resorted to in wiring stakes (split or otherwise) directly to two lines of strong galvanized wire. Posts at each end and the intermediate posts are first erected, two rows of stout wire are then stretched horizontally from end to end and twisted around each intermediate post. The stakes are then driven into the ground and fastened to the wires at 3 in. intervals or according to requirements. This type of garden fencing is often useful for making a run for fowls, and wire netting may be substituted for the stakes or poles if preferred.

A wire netting fence is admirable as a garden division or boundary. Posts 3in. Square and 2ft. Longer than the intended height of the fence are first thoroughly creosoted, and after the liquid has been given time to soak in the posts are erected, with 2ft. Of the length underground. The wire netting, unrolled as required, is attached to the end posts and intermediates with staples. If assistance can be had, the wire should be unrolled 8 or 1 oft. At a time and strained, staples being driven home when it is seen that the top edge of the netting is running level. The assistant is useful for holding each support firm while the staples are being knocked in. Taut lines, stretched between the end posts at top and bottom should be used to secure a straight run and ensure that the intermediates are really upright.

Ramming at the base needs to be thorough, and struts should be provided at the extreme ends . It is quite in order, however, to omit one strut, or both, if other firm anchorage exists, such as a wall to which the extreme posts can be secured.

A combination of boarded fence surmounted by wire netting will secure increased height, where the garden fence is too low to support climbing roses or other plants. For this purpose netting has an advantage over a trellis extension in that it offers much less resistance to the wind, an important consideration in most districts. Uprights, about I-½ in. x 1 in., should be nailed or screwed to the existing supports, the overlap extending for at least 2ft., and they should then be creosoted.

Galvanized iron wire should be run across these additional uprights, both at the top and at an inch above the top edge of the fence. The wire netting is stapled to the new uprights, and. Its top and bottom edges are then wired at intervals to the horizontal lines. These lines keep the netting taut and prevent sagging. Stapling the netting may present some difficulty if no assistant is available to brace the new uprights while the work is in progress, but in this case the netting, well stretched, may be secured to the posts with a turn or two of wire, at top, bottom and midway.

Maintenance of a boarded fence, apart from the details already given, consists chiefly in nailing up loose boards immediately they show signs of coming adrift, and in ramming at the base of supports when this is necessary. Ivy or Virginia creeper growing over the fence should not be allowed to push stems between close boarding, loosened. These plants should never be allowed to assume such dense growth that the fence is overweighted. Furthermore, dense growth will quickly cause wood rot in the timbering of the fence.