A Fence Dilemma: Building on a Hill

Posted by Brett McCutcheon on Jul 24, 2021 8:00:00 AM
Brett McCutcheon

Building-Fence-on-HillIn a perfect world, every construction project would take place on a level surface with no drainage issues or slopes to consider. Unfortunately, very few jobs are this straightforward. So, what do you do when a client hires you to build a fence on a hill or incline? Although the task may sound difficult at first, building a step fence is a great way to solve such an elevation challenge.


Before work on the step-fence begins, you should be aware of the local building codes in the area and obtain any permits necessary to begin construction. It is also essential to contact all local utility offices to be sure that you do not hit any utility lines crossing the property as you prepare the ground and set the fence posts.

After the proper permits are obtained, your client can begin designing their fence by choosing the materials, color, and design that best complements their outdoor space. Fences are a great and affordable way for clients to customize their home and yard.

Finally, when purchasing materials for a step-fence, you will want to consider how the changes in elevation will affect the build. When purchasing panels, we recommend buying them at a slightly longer length than is needed so you can cut them to differing heights as you install the fence.

Building a step-fence

Before building begins, we recommend preparing the ground by removing all large rocks or boulders, bushes, and tree branches that may prevent you from building a fence in a straight line. Clearing your work area first will make building the fence significantly easier.

Next, drive a 2x2 stake into the ground at the top and bottom of the slope, and run a mason’s line between the stakes. Work carefully to make sure your mason’s line is level, and measure evenly to mark the locations where each fence post will be installed. Generally, your fence posts will be spaced six- or eight-feet apart from one another.

When installing the fence posts, we recommend beginning at the top of the slope. Install the first post at the correct height for the fence panel. The second post you install should be taller than the correct height for the next fence panel, but don’t worry—you can always trim the top of the fence post. As you continue down the slope, each fence post will be slightly lower than the one that came before it as they step down the slope.

After your fence posts are installed, you may begin to hang the fence panels as you normally would. A step-down fence will leave triangular gaps between the bottom of the fence panels and the ground. These gaps can be filled in by cutting fence panels to varying heights to match the dips or uneven spots under the fence. Another option is to use plants or shrubs to hide the gaps.

Build the best fence with BECK

No matter what type of fence you are building or where you’re installing it, BECK is here to help! By using BECK’s high-quality fasteners when constructing your fence, they will ensure it’s built properly and lasts for years, giving your fence the support and strength it needs. Check out our SCRAIL® Fasteners. If you use them while building your fence on a hill, they will make your job a snap since they are easily removeable and adjustable. SCRAIL® can help your crew be more efficient during the build process—saving you time and money (and giving you more opportunities to grow your business). Click below to find more tips on building a perfect fence!

Download the Whitepaper: 5 Important Tips for Building the Perfect Fence

Topics: Fence, Fence Staples, Fencing, Fence Stapler


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