Tips for Installing a Fence on a Steep Slope
Many blocks of ground are situated on sloping and sometimes very steep ground. Such blocks still need to have fencing, but expert landscapers will tell you that there are more challenges to overcome on such a block. First you must take care to implement sustainable practices to preserve the ground and any surrounding habitat, especially if the block is located in the mountains where diverse flora and fauna occur.
When the block is steep, it’s important not to dig a deep trench straight down as this can cause erosion during heavy rain if it storms before the fence is finished. It can not only wash away half your topsoil, but affect properties that are located below yours.
The two main methods of erecting a fence on a slope are raked – sometimes called racked – and stepped.
Raked fence: this is when the fence rails remain parallel to the ground, but the picket posts are upright, which means they are not fixed square on to the rails. The advantage of this method is that the fence is low to the ground all the way along, so it will keep pets in. However, it is not always suitable for a very steep slope. For a raked installation the drop should be no more than 6 inches or 12cm per 6 foot or two metres of fencing. When finished, this type of fence would have a smoothly sloping top, rather like the handrail of an escalator.
Stepped fence: this is when the picket posts are perpendicular to the rails just as they would be for a fence on level ground. The panels of fencing are installed level, but are not level to the ground. What this means is that there will be a triangular gap under the lower side of each panel of fencing. While this does not look out of place aesthetically, it can be a hindrance to owning pets as they can easily get under the fence. For a stepped fence, one of the posts per panel would need to be higher to allow for the difference that gap makes on the lower side. Once finished, the top of the stepped fence panels would look like stairs in that each panel would be higher – or lower – than the other.
The problem of the gap could be taken care of by having the contractors install posts that were longer on the lower side of the panel, so that the gap could be filled in. There would be a number of posts for each panel that were gradually longer than those for the top side. The tops of the picket posts would still be level with each other once installed.
It is up to individual tastes and needs as to which style is favoured. Pets and sometimes toddlers, can get under a stepped fence unless the gap is taken care of.