Introduction: Modular Garden Fencing
This fencing for your plot is attractive, sturdy, and can be removed quickly, without leaving a trace. The panels can be used over and over again, reconfigured, and/or added onto at any point in time. The main purpose of this fencing is to protect one's garden from humans, dogs, rabbits, chickens, and other large, ground-traveling lifeforms that can harm plants, but it also creates a nice visual border around the garden.
Step 1: Materials
-8' lengths of 1x2" lumber. (2 per panel. Untreated pine is cheap and will work fine if you're going to paint your fencing.)
-1/2" plywood. (6 sq. in. per panel. B/C grade will work fine.)
-3' chicken wire. (5' of length per panel.)
-Exterior latex paint OR stain and polyurethane OR just polyurethane. (A quart will cover around 16 panels.)
-4' lengths of 1/4" rebar. (2 rods per panel.)
-1-1/4" finish nails. (32 per panel. I used 16-gauge.)
-Heavy-duty staples. (32 per panel. I used 3/4".)
-8" zip-ties. (2 per panel.)
Step 2: Tools
-Circular saw or table saw.
-Chop saw with a 6-1/4" blade or larger.
-Palm sander with 120-grit sandpaper.
-Nail gun capable of accepting the finish nails you've selected. (There's lots of nailing to do, so an electric or pneumatic model is ideal.)
-3-4 sawhorses or a similar large work surface.
-Gloves for handling wire.
-Wirecutters. (Tin snips will make short work of the chicken wire.)
-Staple gun capable of accepting the staples you've selected. (There's lots of stapling to do, so an electric or pneumatic model is highly recommended.)
-Drill with 1/2" wood bit.
Step 3: Preparation
Measure the parameter of the area you want to fence off. If you’re fencing in a garden it is recommended that you extend the fencing 3 extra feet beyond your planted beds on all sides, so you can easily walk around the garden and get a wheelbarrow around inside the fencing.
It will be easiest to calculate how many panels you'll need if the shape of your plot has just a few straight lines, like a triangle or rectangle. As each panel you build will run straight for exactly 5', measure each straight section of your shape, in feet, then round that measurement up to the nearest multiple of 5 and divide this number by 5. Adding all those figures together will give you the total number of panels you need to build.
Step 4: Construction
1. Using a chop saw, cut all the 1x2s down to 5-feet in length. Set the 5-foot lengths and the remaining 3-foot pieces aside.
2. Using a circular saw or table saw, cut 2 6x6" squares of the plywood for every panel you plan to build.
3. Using a chop saw, cut all of the 6x6" squares from corner to corner at a 45-degree angle, creating 2 right triangles.
4. On a large work surface, layout a rectangle with 2 sections of 5' 1x2 and 2 sections of 3' 1x2. The 5' sections should overlap the 3' sections on the top and bottom, so the resulting dimensions will actually be 5' x 3'2".
5. With the aid of a drywall square, make sure the butt joints line up properly and put two nails, from the top and bottom, into the sides, in each of the 4 joints.
6. Line the 90-degree corners of the triangles up with the 90-degree corners of the frames. Nail them in to create supports. Put a nail at the 1", 3" and 5" marks on both sides of the triangle.
7. Run a sander over every surface of the frame to remove splinters and severe unevenness in the wood. Wipe the entire frame with a damp rag to remove the sawdust.
8. Paint each of these frames with the finish of your choosing, according to the manufacturer's instructions and let them dry.
9. Staple the chicken wire onto the frame. Use the end that does NOT have the plywood nailed to it. To get even tension roll the 3' bundle out over the entire length of the frame, center the 3' height of wire on the 3'2" height of the frame, and staple the middle of the wire to the middle of the frame. Next pull the wire taught and staple it through the middle on the other opposite side. Then staple the wire to the frame in the middle of a 5' side, then pull it taut and staple it to the middle on the opposite side. Repeat this process, working your way out from middle and alternating sides (placing the staples 6" apart), until you've stapled the entire section of wire to the frame.
10. Trim the wire flush with the edge of the frame.
11. Drill a 1/2" hole, 3" from the outside edge, through the top and bottom of the frame, on every corner.
Step 5: Installation
1. Stand a panel up, lining its 3' edge up vertically with any corner in the area you wish to enclose. Put a tent stake or one of the lengths of rebar through the drilled hole(s) to keep it upright.
2. Line the height of the next panel up to the height of the first panel. Keeping the top edges of the panels level is not necessary, but will create a nicer visual result. Tightly ziptie the heights together with one tie about 3" from the top edges and another 3" from the bottom.
3. One you’ve enclosed your entire area in this manner, check the end result. Adjust any leaning or misaligned panels. Cut the ties off, reposition, and re-ziptie where required.
4. Hammer a length of rebar through the top and bottom holes of every panel. Continue to strike the top of the rebar until it only shows 1/4" out of the hole in the top of the panel.
5. If desired you can create a door or doors by only putting one section of rebar in the ground on a panel. You can then swing the "non-barred" side of these panels in or out for easy regular access.
6. Cut all of the zipties off.
Step 6: Conclusion
Anytime you need to temporarily remove some or all of the fencing, simply pull the panels straight up, off of the rebar. If you want to remove the fencing, long-term, you can pull up the rebar as well.